Interesting points Woz. I absolutely agree with your points about having hubs you can dismantle and repair simply.
On the spokes I'm not sure I agree. What breaks spokes (and so wheels) is fatigue cracking of spokes - typically at the bend, also occasionally at the thread. Tensile stress alone is usually not the problem - and a steel spoke has huge strength anyway.
What would concern me is the fatigue life of the alloy spokes compared to steel. Aluminium is a poorer material for fatigue cracking, so would not be my first choice - however this might be solved by direct pull spokes.
Spokes that can be changed and tensioned simply are the best solution - and of course to take a couple spare with you!
Appreciate your feedback; For the record, all Crossmax spokes are straight direct pull; radial front and Isopulse (barf marketing crap name....) on the rear. A special spoke key is required (the Parktool one is the best) and two spoke lengths are required for the complete wheelset.
I think on balance, for a Crossmax wheel set, you would need to put faith on the spokes and rims just working and being indestructable, and on a tradtional set of wheels put faith on the hub and freehub just working and being indestructable.
It's a tough call, but both have potential to be trouble free if they are properly serviced and maintained to tip-top condition. I'm going to add, that the failures I've experienced on older poorly maintained Parallex hubs are common, especially the front hub
. Freehubs just wear and get sloppy and then mis-engage, but the XT M730 hubs are - in my experience - one of the absolute best ever made and puts anything produced after to utter shame.
Carry on chaps!