Recently I announced “Project Wheel Build” here and gave the reasons behind the series. If you missed that introduction, you can check up on that here. In this post I am going to cover my choice in hubs: giving you the tech details and my reasons for wanting to use them.

What is in the box: American Classic Front Disc Hub

American Classic Disc 225 Rear Hub & Disc 130 Front Hub: We’ve seen a lot of wheels in our time as mountain bikers and as testers here at Twenty Nine Inches, but these American Classic hubs still make us take notice. American Classic has not rested on its laurels either. The company’s founder, Bill Shook, continues to refine and tweak all of the American Classic products, including these hubs. Plus, you just do not hear a lot about these being used for wheel builds. Too bad too. These are some amazing hubs.

Front Hub: The front hub is the Disc 130 in a quick release style. As the name would suggest, the listed weight of the hub is 130gm. (Verified on my scale, no quick release) The Disc 130 features a 17mm axle and stainless steel sealed bearings. (An upgrade to ceramic bearings is available) While I went for the quick release model, a 15QR upgrade axle is available separately which can convert this hub to that standard if I so choose down the road. The hub comes with a rotor reinforcement ring, (the red anodized part in the image above), which American Classic says you should use with rotors that do not have a center reinforcing ring integral to their design. Dubbed the “Disc Reinforcing Ring“, these are also available separately and work with other 6 bolt standard disc hubs as well.

The hubs also come with American Classic branded stainless steel skewers which can be upgraded to titanium shafted skewers at an up charge. The Disc 130 hub retails for around $150.00 and the 15QR conversion kit goes for about $35.00.

Rear Hub: Now on to the rear hub. Again, as the name would suggest, this hub verified out to weighing 225 grams on my scale. Pretty light! But weight isn’t the only story here. This is a pretty unusual hub. The first thing you may notice is the narrower flange spacing. In a world where most companies conventional wisdom is to push the flange spacing out to the edges as far as possible, Bill Shook took a different approach. Claiming that this narrower flange stance is a better balance between lateral stiffness, spoke triangulation, and the best possible balance of spoke tension from drive side to non-drive side spokes, the Disc 225 flies in the face of most hub designs.

Note the narrow flanges, cassette reinforcement bars.

The hub has a 17mm axle, just like the front does, and also like the front axle, this hub has sealed, stainless steel bearings, and comes with a steel quick release. Both the bearings and quick release are up-gradable to ceramic and titanium respectively, just like the front hub. Also, you can get a 142 X 12 thruogh axle conversion kit for this hub. (Approximately $35.00, the hub itself retails for about $280.00)

One of my favorite aspects about the American Classic Disc 225 hub is the steel cassette reinforcement bars which help prevent cassettes with individual cogs and spacers from “digging in” to the aluminum free hub body. I have an older version of this hub in my stable, and it does help a lot to have these bars inset into the cassette free hub. It doesn’t eliminate the digging in 100%, but you avoid really chewing up the free hub body, and that is nice sometimes when you don’t want to, or can not afford a cassette with an integrated carrier.

The other unique aspect of the Disc 225 rear hub is the cam actuated six pawl design. Lots of folks ask us “what are the points of engagement?” Well, that’s a loaded question, really. First of all, it might surprise a lot of folks to know that not all the pawls in their hubs are engaging simultaneously, which would make points of engagement rather meaningless, or at best, a hopeful guess. American Classic hubs engage all six pawls simultaneously in their design, resulting in a secure driving of the hub. Not only that, but all six pawls have two teeth each, which doubles the contact surface with the drive gear.

Now, “crank rotation before engagement” is greater than with some hubs, but for me, this has never been a concern. If you must have little to no pedal/crank rotation before the wheel moves, this hub might not be for you.

Why I Choose To Go With These Hubs: I could have gone with about any hub, really. All the “common choices” which most folks would suggest are easily had, but I have had experience with American Classic hubs, and c_g has been beating the tar out of a couple pair of these hubs laced to pre-built American Classic wheels with great success. They are not your “usual fare” for wheel builds, and that is also appealing to me. Finally, for the purposes of this series, these hubs fit well. Lightweight, durable, convertible to through axles, and good looking. American Classic Disc hubs should play well with our rim choice, which I will introduce next in the series. Stay tuned.

Note: American Classic sent these hubs along for use in our “Project Wheel Build Series” at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review, and I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.