The pre-order is a great tool. Mike probably came up with the idea all these long years ago (about 11, for the record), which was really smart. If we'd been really smart, we would have founded Kickstarter instead of a boutique bike brand, but you can only kick yourself so many times in life.
Most brands/whatever are unapologetically taking 6 to 8 weeks (there are cases of 20+ weeks) to ship wheel orders, and often more. There's no sugar to help the medicine go down, just "this is how it is, take it or leave it." When your hands are tied, there's not too much you can do so we're not shooting arrows at them, but between Quickship™ and the pre-order, we've tried quite hard to give you advantageous options.
Hubs that aren't in Quickship™ builds now take as long to get as pre-order rims take. Onyx is up to 8 weeks, White Industries are at 10 weeks for colors that aren't black or silver, and 5 weeks for black and silver. Industry Nine says 7 to 11 weeks, but it's 11. King has gone from crazy (90 days) to... really crazy (120 days). So it makes sense that if you want a carbon build that's not in the Quickship™ program, go with the pre-order. If you want a carbon build with I9 hubs (for example), even if you order a pre-order the first day of a new cycle, the hubs will be the bottleneck of that build.
Alloy builds, well, there's not as much we can do there. Their availability has been inconsistent, and we're trying hard to buy up what we can of what we think you'll want when they become available. This isn't always possible. Pre-order carbons have a set pattern (it takes so long to get an order turned around), there's a finite universe of products covered by it, that universe of products comes from one vendor, that vendor requires full payment at time of order, and there are significant cost savings on shipping (which has a range of about $80/rim if we're shipping a small box of rims to $20/rim if we're able to buy efficiently) to pass along.
Off to build wheels so my vaccinated behind can get to the Wednesday night gravel ride this evening. I haven't been on a true and proper group ride since February of 2019. Hopefully I remember how. I will someday soon pen an ode to how miraculous the Woodstock area is for riding, especially now that mud season is on the wane and incredible mountain biking is a warm up ride away from the garage. It's fantastic.