The brief was simple, could this once ridden pair MTB hubs be reused in a pair of Gravel/Grandfondo wheels for a road bike?
At XLR8 we relish these challenges. These hubs had been ridden once on a test ride, and then the wheels parked. They were a 10s hub, but we had the freehub and the hub body machined to ensure that an 11s cassette would clear (note this is not possible on all hubs*), and adapted the front 15mm thru axle front hub to 9mm quick release (using White Industries adaptors).
The Hplusson THE HYDRA is an excellent choice for lightweight disc brake gravel duties. At 460g, they are not a hardcore off road rim, but using the right spoke count they can be used for gravel road riding and those rough roads you've been wondering about.
Luckily, the Novatc hubs were 32 hole, so that means the wheelset could be light, stiff and reliable. Three things we like.
On the front wheel, Sapim Race spokes were used on the disc side, and Sapim D-Light on the other. On the rear, Sapim Race on both sides. Sapim Red alloy nipples add a bit of bling, and drop the weight a touch.
* Not all 10s hubs can be machined to accept 11s cassettes. Of course the physical ability to fit the cassette is the primary concern. However, proximity to the spokes on the driveside is another concern that must be kept in mind.