AMERICAN CLASSIC Tubeless Race 29″er Wheels – (Late) Mid-Term: by c_g
Since giving you my intro with all specs and weights (here) and later on my first impressions (here), they have seen lots of use. IN the beginning I have ridden these wheels with the WTB Moto TCS 1.9 (here), later on during our long lasting winter with the SCHWALBE ICE SPIKER and others … last with the SCHWALBE Thunder BURT (here) – and all the time they have been fabulous performers
– Given they are by far the lightest alloy production wheels available (as far as I know at least) they have withstood all riding with no peculiarity or signs of weakness at all!! Plain FUN, I don’t ever get tired of riding these wheels. because that speed and acceleration is almost too good to believe. They virtually turned my 140 mm trail bike CUBE Stereo into a bike I wouldn’t mind racing a marathon on, and they may just do the same for your bike. Given the super low weight of just over 1400 g for the set, stiffness has been one concern, but like I already mentioned in the initial post – that is no issue. Maybe they are not as stiff as a trail set of wheels, but given the XC application, they are exceptionally stiff and direct. No matter how hard I hit a corner or land off camber – the AC Race wheels do just fine in keeping me going where I want to. Another feature, that proved to be exceptional is their 24 mm inner width
– That indeed does add considerable volume to a more narrow XC tire and has plenty of support for wider tires, too. I see more and more rim manufacturers realizing the benefits of wider rims, but it should be mentioned that AMERCAN CLASSIC’s Bill Shook has been one of the early ones to grasp the benefits and execute them not only for trail and All-Mountain use, but also for XC specific wheels. Not much of a surprise, the freewheels and bearings are running perfectly smoothly so far – despite the months of really nasty conditions.
– I would call the AMERICAN CLASSIC Race 29″er wheels „perfect“, If I had not had one specific incident. That happened after a short interim time of about 3 weeks when the wheels simply sat in my basement and were only used for sample tire mounting. When I set out for the first ride after – they immediately started creaking and all over. No un-trueness, soft ride feel or other peculiarities, only a unnerving clinging sound with every rotation. I asked Bill Shook about it and he recommended checking the spoke tension, which still was within the recommendations but on the lower end of the spectrum. So I raised the spoke tension closer to the maximum (take care to use a tensionometer for this procedure or have an experienced wheel builder do it for you) and it got better, but still would make sounds when riding more aggressively. For lack of a better explanation I was close to call out for a fatigue issue, when Konstantin of REVOLUTION SPORTS (the national AMERICAN CLASSIC distributor for Germany) recommended applying some Teflon based lubricant to the nipple/rim interfaces
. Seemingly the rim is constructed with such small wall thicknesses even at the nipple contacts, that there are tiny reinforcement plates inserted, to distribute the loads more evenly – a technically perfectly sound solution, only that in rare occasions this interface can become dry and cause creaking sounds. 10 min later after lubing and moving the nipples slightly and all noises were gone and the wheels were running as new.
In true twentynineinches manner, such things have us extend the test period and so I took the opportunity of swapping the freewheel to the XD driver body (yes an SRAM XX1 review is coming up as well), mounting the wheels on the test bike we just received, coupled them with the new SCHWALBE Thunder Burt (to see how the extra volume and extended contact patch would fare with this tire) and on we go with the test. In the first few rides after the re-tensioning (which likely wasn’t even necessary) and lubing, the „light-as-can-be“ and „wider-than-life“ AMERICAN Classic Race 29″er wheels have not shown any weakness or peculiarities. If they continue to ride like that for the last part of the test they are bound to be one of the hottest XC-/marathon wheels currently existing.