a) 8-/9-speed C201/Sun 32/36 Touring/Hybrid Wheelsets $119.95 pair!
2001 Shimano 8-/9-speed C-201 cassette hub sets, laced into sturdy Sun CR-18 touring rims, with DT stainless steel spokes.
These wheels are made specially for us, with 36 spokes rear, 32 front.
These wheelsets are excellent for upgrading older road/touring or hybrid bikes. Rear hub spacing is 135 mm. The C-201 is an inexpensive but quite serviceable hub, quick-release front/rear. Shipping within the U.S. $18.00 east/$20.00 west.
The wheelset includes front and rear quick-release skewers. http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/wheels.html
b) Hand built by Velocity’s knowledgable, experienced wheelbuilders with an extra stout Velocity, 26.5mm wide, 6000 series, twin hollow aluminum rim laced to a quality, alloy hub with 36, 14 gauge, Wheelsmith stainless steel spokes in a 3x pattern. 8/9 speed Shimano cassette compatible. 132.5mm rear axle spacing to fit both 130 and 135mm spaced frames. Front spacing is standard 100mm. Skewers are included. Drilled for schrader valves.
I have a Trek 6500 MTB. It came with a wheelset built on c201 hubs. The rear hub began to grind after about 1 year of moderate use, mostly as a commuting bike in fair weather. The shop worked on it, but it was never smooth again. The front hub was OK.
I then looked up the hub and it's from a comfort/recreation group sold by shimano.
Now maybe with better maintenance the hub would have held up, but after my experience I wouldn't rely on these hubs to hold up for touring.
I've had good luck with wheels built on Deore and LX hubs for commuting and loaded touring.
Ian Hibell the worlds greatist tourist said you must use parts that you can get parts for. Shimano has its problems but you can get parts for it anywhere. Only the big cities in first world countries will have parts for any thing else. What works for me is to put most of your money into the rear wheel, I've never had any kind of failure with a front wheel, then do most of your braking with the front wheel. With a load on the back it is almost inpossible to lift the real wheel off the ground during breaking. When the front rim wears out throw the wheel away and buy another cheap one.