EUROBIKE´12 – Wheels Report: by c_g

OK in our attempt to stay theme oriented we next bring to you what we found worth noting in terms of 29″er wheels.

AMERICAN CLASSIC – the company that is sticking to alloy rims for any MTB application (Race, XC, AM & DH), continues to do so for 2013. Bill Shook, founder, president and engineering mastermind of AMERICAN CLASSIC, firmly believes that the benefits are too small to justify the inevitable up charge of carbon hoops.

New products in the 2013 range are the Lefty compatible hubs, which will be available on the MTB (formerly MTB XC) and in the MTB RACE wheel sets (26“ and 29“ only) and separately. Its claimed weight is 132 g with 32 h drilling only.

The range of products also extended towards separately available rims, called the 101, honoring the desires of those that take pride in building their own wheels. They will have a 25 mm width (external, 21 mmm internal) and weigh a very modest 381 g in 29″er format (26“ at 329g and 650b at 357 g also available). It will have all the excellent tubeless ready features of the other pre-built rims by AC, sleeved construction and a very high level of trueness. These beautys comes in plain black anodized – with only very small labeling … true understatement.

Talking about understatement – AMERICAN CLASSIC has completely departed from the former (and current) black/red and white and sometimes „loud“ graphics to a very classy looking black/grey theme with some minor gold highlights. All wheels now look alike with the only difference being the version name on the water transferred labels. Despite having liked the former design, I have to admit, the new ones look cool and should please even the most aesthetically demanding rider for almost any MTB.

The soon to be available XX1 compatible freewheel also helps making your AMERICAN CLASSIC wheels just a bit more future proof and may just ease the minds of those looking into the group set, but wanting to stick with their existing AC wheels. (No details on pricing or availability.)

All pre-built hubs will be pewter anodized (see right), all aftermarket hubs plain black (see image on top).

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ACROS is a small German manufacturer, that has an excellent reputation for their precision built headsets and hubs (recently also for the hydraulically activated A-GE shifting system – as mounted on the OPEN frame). Now we see them coming with 29″er rims (called A-RIM) and complete hand built 29″er wheels as well. With an inner width of 21 mm and 398 g (in 29“) for the 29″er A-RIM, it fits well into the aggressive XC to full on AM segment.

The complete wheels are based on the same rims and either 0.74 hub designs and built in a very traditional 32h/3xlacing pattern. Alternatively you can request 0.54 hubs and CX-Ray spokes upon ordering. EURO pricing for the standard set is € 629,95.

We already have a set of these wheels at hand and will report back to how it does perform. Our set is a plain black set based on the .74 hubs (super durable by reputation), black SAPIM Race Comp spokes and the 29er A-Rim. In the lightest configuration the set is stated at 1640 g – our set with quick release front and rear comes at 1710 g (802 g front and 908 g rear).

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REYNOLDS – whose MT29 wheel set we had put through serious torture testing recently (here) has upgraded to straight pull hubs. These now are convertible to 20 mm through axle front (additionally to 9 mm quick release and 15 mm through axle) and all other rear axle standards (as before) as well – all end caps included. Still in a 24 spoke count and DT- SWISS Revolution spokes. Still with the universal 21 mm width and same pricing as before.

The hubs are candy apple red anodized and the rims now have matching red/white water transferred decals. I liked the blue and white decals of ´11/´12, but again, the new ones are a better match to more bikes.


New from REYNOLDS is that they now are also offering a alloy rimmed set of wheels. Same hubs as on the carbon version (only in black), DT-Comp straight pull spokes (28 in 3x crossed lacing) and with rims licensed by NOTUBES. The complete wheelset is said to weigh 1625 g with presumably quite a price drop over the carbon wheels.


All are covered by 5 year RAP (REYNOLDS Assurance Program) – should you choose to purchase it along the wheels.

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FULCRUM – who have been on the market with their Red Metal 29 XL wheels (and the BRed Power line) for some time, have added another lighter wheelset, that should calm the critics in this sector. We had gotten very little info at the booth, so we have to do with what we got out of the press kit and direct inspection has given away.

The new wheels seem to share the identical rims (19 mm inner width), but with a bit more machining to achieve a lower rotational mass (much like done with the MAVIC SLT and ST). The hubs are rather high tech looking with the straight pull configuration (rear and front hub brake side) and radial on the right side. Like always with FULCRUM Red Metal wheels – the lacing is the „2 to 1“ system with double the spoke count on the drive or brake side, than on the other. The XRP hubs seem to have shaved weight primarily by a carbon central tube shell. The front hub comes standard in 9mm quick release but is convertible to 15 mm through axle as well. … no info on the internals. Interestingly the lighter XRP wheels have butted steel spokes, where the XL had alloy spokes. The XRP´s weight is claimed at 1635 g, the XL has been at 1770 g. the rims are tubeless (with a closed rim bed and no nipple holes, the nipples actually are guided to the spoke holes via magnets) and perfectly UST compliant.

OK, that´s it for 29″er wheel news. More from Eurobike´12 tomorrow.

RIDE ON,
c_g