AMERICAN CLASSIC tubeless 29er wheels – Final Review: by “c_g”
Hi folks, it is about time to get to you my final word about the AMERICAN CLASSIC 29″er tubeless wheels. I have been riding these all summer and fall and so my review is based on countless hours of riding.
One of the initial questions about these 1600gm wheels was whether they were race day only. I think the selection of bikes they had been on (the GAS29 Stambek Classic, the Titanica in geared and the OS BIKES Blackbuck II and the Mi-Tech TYKE in SS mode, all but the Stambek in rigid) show that I had not been timid in using them. There had been several tires run with them, most tubeless. It has seen lots of XC trail riding miles, I had crashed on them multiple times and so the answer to that question can clearly be: I have really used the AMERICAN CLASSIC wheels in the best way possible by subjecting them to anything I do on bikes.
I have to be fair though by saying that despite not being the lightest rider I tend to be rather good on wheels through a very active way of riding.
While looking somewhat conventional by the choice of components the AMERICAN CLASSIC wheels really are tricked out in (almost) every little detail. There are the proprietary 26 mm width rims, the longer than usual alloy nipples or the specific features of the hubs. Bill Shook, the president and mastermind behind AMERICAN CLASSIC has really tweaked out sooo many details – for a full run down of the wheel set´s technical and design features, go to the Intro article (here).
Everything I had said in my First Impression post still stands firm and before repeating myself I´ll direct you there to recap my findings. Two things I want to point out still:
The steel reinforced alloy cassette body did show some gauging after the test period but it was nowhere near where it would have been on most other alloy bodies. I was a bit surprised to see that gauging had appeared rather soon (expecting it to get more over time) but the steel inserts did a great job of keeping it minimal. So, while not avoiding it all the way, the feature has really proven its worth and removing the cassettes never had been the least troublesome.
The wheels reliability and smooth running: When evaluating this test it is important to note that apart from the initial change from 15 mm to 9 mm QR I had not done any service or adjusting to the wheels, yet they are still spinning freely, with no play or drag in the bearings. Especially in these really gruelingly wet and muddy conditions we often had been facing this year, the super smooth running bearings prove some good performance there.
Neither had I done any re-tensioning or truing to the wheels, yet they are as straight and true as they were on the first day – the best indication for a good wheel built and choice of components.
…. anything negative to report?
Hmmm … yes, the QRs are squeaking (here is one of the few details of these wheels where I´d think Bill Shook can do better) and getting hard to tighten down – OK a drop of oil or grease would eliminate this, I know . … and in the course of the test one nail has pinched the sealing tape making me apply a second layer over it (not really the wheels fault), but that is about all I can say on the negative side of my riding experience on the AC wheels.
VERDICT: These wheels rock!! Over the time I have come to appreciate the AMERICAN CLASSIC 29″er TUBELESS wheels as true no-worries lightweight workhorses for most of this summer’s test rigs.
The 26 mm wide rims are a perfect match if you don´t want to limit yourself to skinnier tires but still want low weight and rotational mass. The super light yet versatile hubs are reliable and smooth running big time and make the complete weight of the wheels hit the scale at only 1600 gm.
Almost every component on these wheels has been refined, resulting in a really nice wheel set. It also does away with the most common criticism about pre-built wheels requiring special tools or replacement parts.
The rear wheels may not be the laterally stiffest out there (go Carbon if you want light AND stiff) but I found no real complaints in these wheels.
If you are looking into upgrading wheels for XC or light trail riding, the AC 29″ers are worth a closer look. I liked riding them BIG TIME.