AMERICAN CLASSIC Race 29″er Wheels Final Review: by c_g
Alright, another month has passed since we reported on the AMERICAN CLASSIC Race wheels, a month which they had spent on a racy lightweight carbon hard tail (RADON BLACK SIN 10.0), which also is our test rig for the SRAM XX1 group ( more on that soon). All in all it has been more than 6 months of riding these wheels and despite the one incident of the unusual noises, they had been fabulously trouble free. The noises had been nothing else than spoke hole reinforcement plates run dry and creaking, which had been cured, (once identified), within minutes – see the full story here.
So if you take the wheel’s stiffness and durability as a measure they had not been drawing any attention (meaning they worked perfectly , but when I am to talk about their ride character and most of all their acceleration, they are something else. Those extremely light rims, combined with a bomb proof design and traditional build, made them spring forward with even the smallest twitch of my legs. Coming from another standard weight set of wheels, this lack of rotational mass will immediately make you feel like a super hero: When combined with lightweight tires it will make any bike handle more nimbly and more “racy”. Any halfway efficient 29″er bike will be transformed into a veritable race bike with the AC Race wheels.
In terms of attention and maintenance, the wheels have seen dearly little. I did re-tension the spokes once, but only because I initially thought this would cure the noises, not because it was needed. Throughout the full test period they never developed any wobble and stayed perfectly true throughout. The bearings and freehub have seen absolutely no maintenance and are still running like day one.
I have mentioned it before, and will so again – the extraordinary width is something I have come to appreciate big time. I see several manufacturers making their rims wider – even for XC applications – but 24 mm inner width is still extreme by today’s XC standards. Interestingly not one tire we rode on them did mind the extra width. Some like the WTB Moto 1,9“ (here) or the SCHWALBE Thunder Burt 2,1“ (here) did benefit in almost every aspect. The additional volume did add comfort and made for less snake bites. The larger contact patch did give more grip, cornering control and made their limits even more predictable.
Tubeless performance had also been fine. I have covered this aspect already here. Very tight tires, like the WTB TCS or GEAX TNT may be a handful to mount, but all others work just fine. Bead locking had been very good, thanks to the special design of the AMERICAN CLASSIC rims.
VERDICT: They are the lightest alloy 29″er wheels currently existing (at least to my knowledge). They feature the widest XC-rims existing. They hold up very well under months of hard riding, do have very good tubeless performance, look good and don’t cost a fortune …. hmm, do I need to say more? To me the AMERICAN CLASSIC Race 29″er tubeless wheels are almost a class of their own … and for sure a racer’s dream come true.