Similar Products Used: chris king, atom lab, halo,
Bike Setup: hkek, balfa
a Cross Country Rider
from Ajax Ontario Canada
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2006
Strengths: Looks and light weight . Short spoke length makes for a tight wheel ..
Weaknesses: Bearings are ... well they suck ... wear out way to fast . Find some good cartridge bearings .. I'm sure they would last a lot longer.
I would save my hard earned money and go with King or XTR ... Both last forever ..XTR can be had cheaper and isn't that much heavier. Both can be made really light and will last ! P.S. Never had bearing issues with either !
Similar Products Used: Chris King , TNT , XTR , Bontrager
Bike Setup: Titus Switchblade Fox Vanilla 125 RLC XTR Race Face Mix with Juciy Seven's 8"front 6"rear American Classic's with Red Velocity rims
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 7, 2006
Strengths: Light Weight. Customer Service was nice to me although I did identify myself as a bike shop tech. I run 36 hole hubs with mavic XM719 D/B spokes & Alloy Nipples. Maybe b/c I have maximum displacement of stress I have not experienced the failures of other posters here. (know on wood)
Weaknesses: These are not the type of wheels you mount and go. I think this is where the problem lies, as you have to mount the rear wheel in the drop outs to adjust the bearings. This means having to have an exact closing point on your quick releases. After mush trail and error I can pretty much do it by feel. The front Hub I mounted and it seems to do OK. If AC can come up with an easier system for their bearings and parts that are more robust I think alot of these complaints will go away. To be fair I did have to order parts from them before I could get wheels built because some were comprimised outof the box (end caps)
I like my wheels, but had to adopt a whole new learning curve to get these dialed in right. Also 2 9 mm wrenches (I might be wrong on these sizes)required to adjust rear hub. The one size wrenches even my bike shop had to order b/c it was not standard sizing for bikes. AC has some ways to go before they are loved by all.
Similar Products Used: Shimano Disc, SRAM Disc, 240 Disc
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz SuperLight, Fox, Reba, All XT, Avid BB7 Discs, Titec & Thomson Bits, Specialized Saddle - workhorse set up. Frame is a 2000 and outside of standard axle & shock bushing replacement it won't die.
from Pojoaque NM
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2006
Weaknesses: Reliability, Quality, Customer service. Did I mention reliability? Don't be deceived by the smoothness of the bearings when you hold the hub in your hands. When clamped into a fork/frame, their poor design/fabrication results in end loads that cause drag and premature bearing failure.
American classic hubs are totally unreliable. I had a rear hub seize (after a month of use, bought brand new) while descending causing a crash and long walkout. American Classic informed me that they had been mis-machined and the problems corrected. The new hub failed the same way. The new hub also came with the bearing journal oversized so the wheel had play. American Classics elegant solution was to tell me to put loctite in the bearing journal to fill the gap and hold the bearing in place – now that’s a professional organization! Just what you want when you buy a “high-quality” product.
I thought I would hang on to the front hub, thinking it was simple enough that even American Classic couldn’t mess it up. Wrong! They seem to spin freely but when locked in a fork as a hub alone have terrible drag. Turns out the hub body (on both the front hubs I have from them) were poorly machined (one bearing journal not deep enough, the other one just poor quality machining and oversized aswell) so that the bearings were end loaded meaning that they run with lots of drag and fail prematurely.
Customer service likes to claim that is it the consumer's fault. Have you noticed that virtually each year they come out with a new model that supposedly corrects the reliability issues of the preceding ones? But they never get it right and their customer service is abusive and condescending. They recently told me that getting a season or two out of mountain biking equipment is all you can hope for.
Read the reviews here and you will catch the recurring theme of poor quality control, questionable designs, and inadequate customer service. They work OK for some people. Obviously, if you make enough parts some will be OK for a while but you really can’t count on them and I suggest you not waste your time or money.
By the way, WTB hubs have been made by American Classic and are subject to the same kinds of problems. Check those reviews as well. If it looks like an American Classic and smells like one it probably is one and should be avoided like the plague.
Get a King, they last forever with little maintenance. DT Swiss hubs are excellent as well.
a Cross Country Rider
from buffalo, ny, usa
Date Reviewed: July 3, 2006
Strengths: the hub body and flanges are very good
Weaknesses: in the 1 yr and 2 months that i have owned my american classic rear hub, the hub has loosened and developed side to side play.. about 1 month after buying the 05 hub for my new 05 bike the hub had enough side to side play that it needed to be adjusted.. 2 to 3 months later the hub started making a grinding/ or crunching noise... the following spring ( 06) i had the hub examined again and found out that the bearings in the hub were shot after only 4 months of riding... in may 06 the store replaced the bearings, cassette body, and the clutch plate( compliments of American Classic)after the repair at first the hub had a tendency to not disengage the clutch plate when coasting, which caused the chain to drop into the frame, it eventually partially broke in.. ... 6 weeks (30 hrs of ride time) later the hub started creaking again and the hub developed side to side play again... the bearings and other internal hub parts are very cheap and poorly made..my local bike store manager told me that after all the problems taht american classic was not willing to replace the hub even though i have had nothing but problems all along... I ended up replacing the hub with a DT hub...
adjusted to tighten the hub and eliminate the
Ive had nothing but problems with the internal parts of the hub and American Classic does not want to stand behind their product.. it's junk. do not waste your time or money on the American Classic Disc Hubs....only those who own or work in a machine shop and can make their own hub parts should buy this... it's just junk!!!!
Similar Products Used: White bros( non disc) and DT
Bike Setup: 2005 Jamis dragon custom buid, Xc race bike
a Cross Country Rider
from Mountain Home Ar 72653
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2006
Strengths: These hubs were used on a wheelset that I had built they are light and mine rolled well
Weaknesses: These are the crappiest hubs on the market I have never broken hubs These have failed 3 times the dogs break The first time they said they had a problem with hardening parts the secound time they said that I had gotten some bad parts each time they failed I had a big walk out the last time was the last time I walked out 11 miles. Do not buy These. They are junk
Do not buy these hubs they are junk junk junk junk junk junk junk.
Similar Products Used: Shimano Xt and XTR Bontrager
Bike Setup: Giant Reign all Xtr race face stem thompson seat post ( The best part ever made for a bike)
a Cross Country Rider
from Cape Town,WC,South Africa
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2006
Strengths: Very light, decent enough construction
Weaknesses: do they have any seals? wouldn't appear to be the case should you really break a rear axle without going off anything bigger than knee height?
Bearings have been replaced twice within a year...the good news being that you can use standard bearings and go and get yourself cheaper yet better quality (refering to seals) bearings from SKF or other bearing manufacturers. I broke the rear axle...not sure how as I don't jump off anything, they replaced it free but upon looking at the design i could see why, their is one point where the amount of metal holding the system together is well, lets say less than you might feel comfortable with!
They're superlight but this light for this money and something's gotta give...i guess you get what you pay for!
a Weekend Warrior
from Hong Kong
Date Reviewed: February 24, 2006
Strengths: It's black
Weaknesses: rear hub spins freely in both directions
I've posted a more detailed review under the "wheelset" listing; basically, the 2 paper-thin pawls broke after less than 20 rides. I never stand up and "hammer," though it did happen during a race, putting me out of the year's toughest competition when I was in the best shape of my life. Don't rely on these hubs as anything other than paperweights.
a Cross Country Rider
from Christchurch, New Zealand
Date Reviewed: November 16, 2005
Strengths: Light, stiff with good engagement.
Weaknesses: Poor reliability: Drive side end cap has broken off the axle twice in the last 18 months. Poor customer service: No response to emails about axle reliability.
I can't rely on these hubs so I am saving my money to buy a more reliable setup like DT Swiss 240s, Chris Kings or maybe some Mavic's. I would like to have something I can depend on when racing or riding in the backcountry.
Similar Products Used: Shimano XT and DT Swiss oynx
Bike Setup: Specialized Epic
from Reno, NV
Date Reviewed: October 14, 2005
Strengths: -light -roll smooth -American Classic customer service (excellent)
Weaknesses: -like all light products it may be a little fragile if you're hard on 'em -they're supposed to have a little play when they're mounted at first it was a little wierd feeling, but I got used to the washey feeling
At first I hated these hubs. I even broke the rear axel (I don't know how). I called Amer Classic and they had a new axel to me the very next day, no questions asked --awesome!
These hubs are supposed to have a little play when mounted correctly. I am used to the feeling now and actually like it.
I do not take these hubs on freeriding expeditions, but many of my races are just as hard with no time for forgiveness on my gear. Besides the axel breaking in one race (I've had about 40 races on these hubs -NORBA series, Xterra series and local Thurs night races at N-Star) they've worked well.
I've read all of the reviews below and believe that American may have had some issues in the past, but I'm willing to give 'em the benefit of the doubt and go for a top rating. Especially since their customer service overnighted me a new axel with no questions asked.
Similar Products Used: CrossMax (I had a bad experience with these hubs, they were grabbey and hard to adjust) Bontrager Ritchey
Bike Setup: Stans No Tube Wheelset
a Cross Country Rider
from Sydney, NSW, Australia
Date Reviewed: January 26, 2005
Strengths: Lightweight, looks, straight and true
Weaknesses: endcaps on the drive side keep breaking
These hubs came as part of the AC 350 MTB wheelset, which saved me about 700g over the previous wheelset that came on the bike (Deore disc hubs with Mavic X223 rims).
When I bought them my LBS said to bring them back for a service in a week and he's upgrade the axle in the rear hub. So it looks like some of the bearing problems complained of were acted upon with some engineering changes.
Anyway, ever since, the axle replacement, I have had the axle end cap break 3 times now. I weight 185lbs and while I am not a lightweight I'm not in the Clydesdale category either, in addition to this I've never been particularly tough on wheels or equipment. I ride pretty much pure XC as well. A riding partner has a pair of AC350s too and never had the problem but then he probably only weighs 145lbs.
The end cap broke for the 3rd time yesterday at the beginning of only my 2nd ride on it, as soon as I hit some corrugated hard pack. Fortunately, not far from home so back for a replacement wheel. The LBS said that this was a new reinforced end cap, it looked a bit different but the part that juts out and sits in the drop out still looked wafer thin and I was sceptical when I saw it.
I'll take it back today but I am thinking of getting my LBS to replace it with some kind other hub. This will be a major pain, because it is under warranty, so my guess is that AC won't want another brand hub in their wheelset, which will mean delays while they argue back and forth.
Only 1 chilli for overall rating this problem is a real showstopper. The wheel ends up rubbing hard against the chain stay.
Bike Setup: Specialized Stumpjumper 2003 Disc version
a Weekend Warrior
from batangas city, ph.
Date Reviewed: December 19, 2004
Strengths: i'm a weight weeny that's why i like AmClsc Disc Hubs...its much cheaper than the other i wish i had..
Weaknesses: the cassette body wherein the cogs are placed on is soft...probably that's the setback of having a light disc hubs...mine actually had a damaged part, fortunately i now use a 9spd cogs its' smaller spacing in between avoided the damaged part of the cassette body.
it's light...dunno if it'll stand my kind of riding...although i'm into xc racing, i also love trail riding onto different terrain...including roots, jumps and other stuffs you'll enjoy riding with your bike..
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 10, 2004
Strengths: Superlight, cheap, knowledgeable wheel builders are willing to use this hub
Weaknesses: Poor customer support, hard to sort out 100's of versions of the hub but none really modernize the hub for easy serviceability
There is supposed to be a problem with these hubs with a pin being put in backwards. I can't find any reference to any pins in their online manual and they won't answer emails about it.The design of the hub seems somewhat original in my limited experience,but except for the pawl mechanism the hub seems like it was designed in the third world. To take the hub apart you have to place the axle in a vise? Pretty stupid if you ask me, why didn't they cut the axle hole with a 5mm hex so that you can loosen it up that way. The axle nut is held on with a 19mm jam nut, a 19mm cone wrench is near impossible to find (i had to grind a wrench down) and why didn't they just put a nyloc nut or one held in there with an o'ring. The pawl mechanism is pretty neat but uses a lot of moving parts and the spring wire is pinged into the freehub body so if the spring breaks the body has to be replaced. Why couldn't they just have the wire held in with a set screw? The drop out end caps are press fit aluminium to aluminium. Why couldn't they use a press fit O'ring to aluminium so that they don't wear out and get too loose?Ok the design of the hubs are a bit arse backwards and very third worldish but you can't find a lighter hub at this price and you can find the WTB versions for $200/set very easily. If I had the money it would be King Iso all the way but I build my wheelset for less than the price of a rear King hub.
Weaknesses: Bearings only available from American Classic. Bearings not well sealed.
45 minutes into first ride the rear hub quit engaging. When I took it apart (easy with the instructions on the web site), the spring on the cassette body that pushes the cam plate clockwise to engage the pawls was broken. It had been cut too long and so it protruded through the cam plate and caught on the hub body. I could hear it (very loud ratcheting sound) but I did not know this was a problem until it broke. American Classic sent a new cassette body as soon as I phoned them.
Initially I was concerned that the hub depends so much on a little 1 mm diameter wire. However, closer examination of the ingenious patented mechanism showed me that it is actually much more robust than Shimano & Mavic Crossride freehubs. These depend on a loop of really thin spring wire to push their two pawls into engagement. In the AC hubs, the wire spring only has to move the pawls into engagement, not hold them there. Once they are engaged they stay engaged without any help from this spring. The pawls are much more positively engaged in the AC hub than in the Shimano type. The AC has six pawls that engage deep channels in the cassette body, compared to two pawls against shallow contact ledges in Shimano, which can disengage just by moving inward a small amount or slipping off the ledges. The AC pawls absolutely can not disengage until you stop pedaling forward. The cassette actually has to move backwards a few degrees relative to the hub to disengage the pawls. You can feel this happening if you turn it by hand.
The freewheel mechanism in the hub is really easy to service - a good thing since there is only a single thin rubber seal against the cassette body and dirt will likely get in past it. The bearings are better protected, with a rubber cap in addition to the cartridge bearing seals. Two of the three bearings in the rear hub did get rusty after travelling on the back of the car in the rain. American Classic sent me replacements.
I would be happier if the cartridge bearings were made by the major bearing companies instead of only an obscure company in China, but bearings rarely fail suddenly, so I should be able to order them from AC before I really need them. Note that free play in the bearings should be set with the wheel in the frame and the skewer tightened, to ensure bearings are not side loaded at all. The bearings are not a press fit so they have to be loctited into the hub, and then you have to let it harden overnight.
Bike Setup: 1999 Santa Cruz Heckler, Marzocchi Marathon, Fox Vanilla
from Interior,BC, Can
Date Reviewed: July 17, 2004
Strengths: Light. Great engagement mechanism. Stiff. Great customer service.
Weaknesses: Bearing protection, must constantly clean and grease cartridge bearings. Expensive to replace bearings.
Great hubs for racing, likely the best on the market. Great engagement design, light and reliable. For an everyday rider, you have to be too careful around water to justify. A set of freehub bearings lasts about three weeks when riding in the rain and mud. Its really easy to service the bearings, but why bother when you can pay less for a Hayes or Hope hub and not have to bother. Unless you are a racer or a weight weenie, and hubs are the least important weight to remove, get something else and spend the time riding.