American Classic MTB 29 SS Wheels: Final Review- by Grannygear
It was February of this year that we debuted the American Classic MTB 29 SS wheels on the long term Specialized Carve Pro single speed. Go there for weights, specs, etc. We posted the Mid Term here and had reported that the wheels seemed to be a stiff, great rolling set of hoops. We also came to terms with the 800lb gorilla of a question that relates to the mechanical reality of the American Classic free hub design, that being a less than immediate take up of slack in the drivetrain when going from coast to drive. Hubs like the fast engaging Chris King or I9 rule that world, but I had some very good results despite that disparity and came a conclusion that for most of the time and for most of the riders fast engagement is more an internet chat forum topic than an issue based in reality on the trail. You can read about that in more detail by clicking the Mid Term link.
So now here we are nearing the end of the year and the MTB 29 SS wheels have been ridden a lot. They have been on the Carve SS the whole time but that has been my only SS ride this year. They have been on all kinds of trails and have not been spared the harsh realities of rugged So Cal terrain. I have been through several sets of tires, mostly for testing purposes and they have been stellar in a tubeless configuration. From Conti Protection version tires to Specialized Fast Traks and now some 2.3 Ground Controls, they have been a floor pump install with all those tires mentioned. I have been running them in the mid to upper 20s PSI wise, typically 26-28 PSI and, as you would expect at that pressure, have not had any burping issues. Bead retention seems very good and the rim sealing tape and valve stems have been fine.
They have held trueness throughout. I have not touched a spoke and the bearings and free hub are dead smooth. I should look into a free hub service I suppose, but nothing out of the ordinary. I have not had them in bad weather though, so know that. This was a dry year and even late Spring was a water miser. I cannot speak to how they have done in swampy conditions.
The drive performance, as in what happens when I pedal them hard, is very good. I sense very little spoke wind-up and the way the cam action of the free hub engages all pawls at once is remarkably solid feeling. I have felt some twist in the front wheel every so often under hard, hard loads, but the rear wheel with that non-dished build is stout. At near 200lbs loaded for bear, I am hardly a fly weight.
They have been all I can ask in the way of rolling performance and ease of use. They still look beautiful, the graphics have not peeled or faded, etc and they still get the remarks from other riders as to the visual impression they give. Really, I have been very, very pleased and they will be my go-to SS wheels until something comes along to be tested in their place. These are keepers.
NOTE: American Classic sent these wheels to Twenty Nine Inches for test/review at no charge. We are not being bribed, nor paid for these posts, and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.