Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/ aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
I first saw the new American Classic Tubeless wheelset at Interbike 2009, and was immediately drawn in by the vivid red hubs, and the fact that they were tubeless. After bashing through the snow, rocks, mud and anything else Mother Nature tossed at me this winter, they have proven themselves to be an excellent cross country and trail wheelset. They are light, well made, stiff for their category, and offer great acceleration and low rolling resistance.
At the Interbike trade show, I had a wonderful technical and in depth walk through of the product, by the man himself, President, founder, engineer and techno geek, Bill Shook. I learned a lot of the minute details that go into the hubs, nipples and rims. It proved to be a thought provoking enlightenment, and a great learning experience. Bill led me through some interesting engineering features of their products that relate to the wheels.
American Classic MTB Tubeless
The AC MTB Tubeless wheelset, also known as known as the ‘MTB Disc Tubeless’, are available in both a 26 inch and 29 inch size on a 26mm wide 32 hole aluminum tubeless rim, and come in either Alphatype White or Crest Black. The wheels come outfitted with black 14/15 gauge steel spokes with silver aluminum nipples in a 3 cross pattern. The hubs come with a few options, foremost is a front 15mm thru axle. The tubeless rims come pre-taped with 25mm yellow tape, and valves. All the hubs use the ubiquitous 6 bolt IS interface. I tested the 26 inch version, with the optional 15mm Thru Axle Disc front on my usual Ibis Mojo Steed.
Front 720 grams w/ valves (6.9 g)
Rear 829.4 grams w/ valves (6.9 g)
Total 1549.4 grams w/valves
The 32 hole rims are wider, deeper and lighter, and the geometry (tall wedge shape) has increased the stiffness and strength. The rims are 26mm wide, and are 23.5mm tall and 7mm at their base (slightly rounded). I really liked the white color of the rims, as they tended to blend with most forks, and showed dirt a lot less than the typical black rims.
They have one white spoke (the rest is black) which points to the valve hole, so no more wondering where the valve is at when you need to check your tire pressure or fill your tires. I can’t count how many times I have to do the old twirl the tire until I see the valve stem. I can’t count very well anyway, just ask my Wife how much I spend on the bike related things!