American Classic Smokin’ Gun wheels unveiled

Tubeless-ready aluminum rims aimed at riders using 2.5” or wider tires

27.5 29er Sea Otter Classic Wheels

2017 Sea Otter Classic

American Classic Smokin’ Gun

American Classic’s Smokin’ Gun is an aluminum “mini plus” 27.5 or 29er wheelset made for riders using 2.5” or wider tires.

In 1982 Bill Shook founded American Classic, developing wheels, seatposts, water bottle cages and many other cycling components in the subsequent three and a half decades. At Sea Otter 2017, Shook showed off American Classic’s new Smokin’ Gun 27.5 and 29er mountain bike wheels.

Aimed at riders using 2.5” or wider tires, Shook calls the rim a “mini plus” design thanks to its 40mm internal width. Unlike the carbon rims used by American Classic, the Florida company’s tubeless-ready aluminum rims utilize a small hook bead to help better retain tires and ease set up.

American Classic Smokin’ Gun

Internal width is 40mm, great for supporting larger tire treads.

The Smokin’ Gun rims are laced to American Classic hubs, with 142×12 and 148×12 boost rear options and 100×15 and 110×15 boost front options. Shimano and XD drivers are available.

American Classic Smokin’ Gun

Notice the space between the rotor flange and the spoke flange. Moving the non-driveside flange inboard evens spoke tension side to side.

The boost rear hub is unique with a narrower set of flanges that offer a more symmetrical bracing angle side to side. This keeps spoke tension closer to even between driveside and non-driveside spokes. As the wheel rotates, and spokes are dynamically loaded and unloaded, making the wheel stiffer under the rider. According to Shook this leads to better performance on the trail and increased durability.

The Smokin’ Guns are available now and sell for $899 for the pair. Weights are a claimed 830 grams for the front and 956 grams for the rear.

American Classic Smokin’ Gun

Available now, the Smokin’ Gun wheelset sells for $899.

For current American Classic mountain bike wheel owners, Shook is also offering a boost conversion kit that takes 100×15 and 142×12 hubs to the wider standard. With a new axle, a disc rotor spacer, and longer rotors bolts, it’s a nod to the company’s loyal customers. If you have a set, check the serial numbers. D, E, F, and G series wheels can be upgraded for $35 per wheel.

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This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2017 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. For more from Sea Otter CLICK HERE.

About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview. To follow along on Legan’s cycling adventures, find him on Instagram at @nlegan and be sure to check out his new book Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking.

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  • Sonny says:

    “Moving the non-driveside flange inboard evens spoke tension side to side.” – they may as well try selling snake oil. All the pitfalls of boost (weight, incompatibility with old frame/frame) while forfeiting the benefits (stronger wheels). Sure it may be easier to true/manufacture (same tension both sides) but laterally it just wont be as strong as it could have been. Basically both sides only as strong as the normal setup on its weaker (drive) side. I’m assuming that the same logic is applied to the front wheel (where non-brake side would be made weaker than needed).

    • Aotearoa706 says:

      You’ve validated this idea in your own reply trying to negate it!!!
      “Basically both sides only as strong as the normal setup on its weaker (drive) side.”
      Yes, that’s true.So if both sides have as close to even tension as possible then that creates the strongest wheel.
      If you don’t understand this concept then you’re the one trying to sell Snake Oil!

  • dddd says:

    Sonny and Aotearoa, either of you could be right but it depends on all of the parts used in the wheel structure. AC’s design favors even tension so will prevent loosening, and this may have to do with the particular rim and with how flexible this rim is, also with the durability of the spoke nipple “sockets” in the rim and with the choice of J-bend spokes.
    Time will tell if this is a good wheelset overall. Many other builders have used narrower flange spacing on their wheels so this is nothing new, but admittedly Shimano, Mavic and Chris King choose wider flange spacing for their own good reasons.

  • Xavier Scheepers says:

    Great wheel set, one of the most surprising plusses is the way your bike climbs with these – so much more grip!
    As for the explanation on Boost, having the flange closer in leaves you with a much more balanced wheel! Under tension on a rolling wheel, the forces constantly changes and the more the angle of the drive side and no drive side spokes differ, the more uneven tension and forces are being created. You need to make the spokes, nipples and nipple sockets so much stronger to counter it.
    It works on this wheel and time will confirm!

  • Ron Gillilan says:

    Been riding the smokin’ gun 27.5 wheels for I guess about 8 or 10 months now and spoke tension and true are still good. I ride a lot. Good wheels with no issues. Only negative is slow engaging hub, but I am used to it now. Mine weighed around 1700g for the pair, but my rear is a 135×10. Maybe saved a little weight there.

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