-American Classic mountain bike wheels have taken cross country riding and racing to a higher level of performance. Bill Shook believes MTB riding is faster and more enjoyable with lightweight and durable equipment. To solve the problems associated with bloated MTB wheelsets, Bill Shook came up with a revolutionary deep section rim design that is 22mm wide x 24mm high.
Available in 26” or 29” and Singlespeed
These wheels made a big, noticeable difference in weight (with light tubes took 1.5 pounds off the bike). Accelerates faster and climbs with less effort. Have trued the rear wheel once after a particularly inelegant ride. No problems but then I actually maintain my stuff. I'd recommend them to any XC trail rider who wants a more nimble ride.
Similar Products Used: Shimano/Mavic, Mavic, Bontager
Bike Setup: Rocky Mountain ETSX-50 with upgrades
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 22, 2006
Weaknesses: Reliabiity, 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.
These wheels are so light and fast. I installed the stan's no tubes system and run standard tire usually around 30 to 32 psi. I have raced and ridden these wheels for 1 year on all types of terrain wihtout any issues what so ever. I put at least 1000 road miles on this set as well. I haven't had to do one bit of maintenace to date. The hubs are post recall and are perfect. No more issues.
I raced on crossmax sl's before and they may be a tad bit stronger but for speed, weight, and still quite a bit of strength these wheels can not be beat. Bottom line this wheel does exactly what you need it to do. Spin up qucikly, stay firm in the corners, stay true, and look good while doing it. This is a good company and they stand behind what they make. If you want a light fast wheel that will last more than one race or hard ride, this is your wheelset.
Similar Products Used: A lot fo Mavic wheels including Crossmax Sl
Bike Setup: Cannondale F600, Full Xtr, FSA cockpit, Geax Ruuber, No Tubes system
from Caledonia mi
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2006
Strengths: very light weight( mine are 1489g for the set w/o sapim spokes), thus it climbs and accelerates well quite stiff for such a light wheel, so it corners respectably almost instant freewheel connetion with 6 pawls understated cool look, those in the know will know what they are (not another crosmax sl, yawn)
Weaknesses: none so far, keeping watch for the problems others have had, but mine are great
a great light weight wheelset that i couldnt be more happy with, easy service on the hubs, nice deep section rim with a high flange hub makes for a stiff wheel (i weight 170, so im not some flyweight). accelerates like a bat out of hell. hold true quite well. going to use with Stans rimstrips so i dont have to worry about pinching them. I recomend them for racers and weekend warriors looking for a quick way to drastically improve the speed and handling of your bike. they even make a 29" version!
a Cross Country Rider
from Glen Ridge, NJ
Date Reviewed: July 2, 2006
Strengths: Weight, fast engagement, unique design, easy to service
Weaknesses: Rubber seal between free wheel body and hub is actually too snug and produces lots of friction (Had to shave a bit off). Wheels could also be a bit stiffer (too much lateral flex)
--Would also be great if the rims could be used tubeless without a stans kit or using a yellow tape system like the ZTRs--
A great wheel set, but requires the rider to keep up with periodic greasing and servicing. Servicing is very easy and AC seems to have a steady supply of parts. Additionally, the bearings can be found in almost every bearing catalog.
The rear hub uses a clutch plate to engage 6 paws in a great design that seems to yield immediate torque while transitioning from coasting to pedaling. You can't beat the weight either. Sets up well with a stans tubeless kit, but the rim is very narrow and the rim strip is hard to install.
I live in New Mexico but spend a few months in the New York City area, so these have seen Arizona and New Mexico desert as well as sloppy wet, rooty and rocky.
Bike Setup: Kona primo scandium, Commencal vip, ellsworth truth
from Pasadena, CA
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2006
Strengths: Light, stiff, easy to service, well designed free-hub, works great with Stan's
Weaknesses: rim is light, dings easily
i now own 2 pairs of these wheels - the standard DT spoke version on my training bike and the Sapim CX-Ray upgrade on my race bike (1400g!/ pair). they are the best bang-for-your-buck XC wheel out there. maybe not the burliest things, but im only 5'11" 145lbs and i havent broken them (yet). the rim is deep and super rigid, and the hubs are a snap to pull apart and service.
for light riders looking for a lightweight wheel option, these are a great choice. for fat trail-riders with hairy legs... dont complain if you break em!
a Cross Country Rider
from Cape Town
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2006
Strengths: The wheels are very strong for their weight, great for climb, must say i was a little cautious on the downhills but they were great and didn't give any problems.
Weaknesses: The only weakness i found was the rear bearings which wore out rather quickly during an 8 day stage race i did last week. By day seven the bearings were shot which suprised me as the wheels were new, only 10 days old.
These wheels are super fast, light and cost way less than say Mavics, they are also very stiff which helps in the climbs. It's amazing how light the front end of the bike is. Go get them if you can, just make sure you LBS checks out the hubs before you take them. You won't get a light, strong wheel at this price. Get them if you can....
Bike Setup: Specialized Sworks with full XT Groupset, Thompson seatpost, Fizik Gobi saddle, bike weighs in at 12.1kg
from North Yorkshire, Britain
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2006
Strengths: Light front wheel
Weaknesses: Trashed the rear hub twice in only a few rides
The rear hub is too fragile to be used period. The internals get trashed when you are farthest from home ( twice!). I am only 170 lb and a moderately aggressive all mountain/ xc rider. However these wheels have never spun in full anger mode, the rear hub dying both times on gentle runs. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO BUY THEM!
Similar Products Used: Crossmax sl ( they do not break!)
Bike Setup: Santa cruz blur lt, sram xo
a Weekend Warrior
from Hong Kong
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2006
Strengths: Lightweight, look nice
Weaknesses: Rear hub freewheels in both directions after less than 20 rides
Please, save yourself the heartache. I'll never forget the ominous words of my downhiller friend - "Dude, don't waste your money on lightweight $hit like that; it's going to break" - and break they did. 5 rides after I bought them, the cassette body was loose and according to 3 bike shops, could never be fixed because the flanges had been worn down [have a look at them - they've been machined to where there's about a fingernail's width of aluminum that's supposed to keep your cassette in place] Later, I had to blow $50 to replace ALL the spokes on the rear because they CANNOT be trued. But in the end, it was the pawls INSIDE the rear hub body that ripped during a cross country race on a FLAT section, on about my 18th ride on the things. I've heard from an experienced mechanic that the internals of this rear hub is particularly shoddy, with only two paperclip-like spring devices to lock the hub when you pedal forward. Open up any other hub and you'll see the difference. I'm going to use my heavy wheels from now until I can save enough for some Hugi 240s hubs and Olympic ZTRs. Oh, and by the way, I e-mailed and called Am Classic MONTHS ago with scathing complaints, and I've NEVER heard back from them. Maybe I should have been nice about telling them how bad their product sucks. I sincerely hope their company folds and no one else has to suffer the inconvenience that I have.
Bike Setup: Salsa Bandito Scandium Hardtail, Sram drivetrain, Fox forx
from Golden, CO
Date Reviewed: February 6, 2006
Strengths: Light weight, but still durable
Weaknesses: None so far for XC use
I wanted a new wheelset for my XC race bike that was very light, yet still stiff and durable. After running a pair of AC disk wheels for 6 months now, I think they fit the bill perfectly. They are lighter, stiffer, and more responsive than the Spinergy Xyclones I was previously using. They obviously aren't meant for freeride abuse, but for the aggresive XC riding/racing I've used them for, they've been very durable. I haven't needed to re-true them and I haven't had any issues w/ the hub or freeehub. However, you should know that if you do need to true them, AC recomends clamping the spoke w/ a special tool (similar to a 4-th hand cable puller) before turning the nipple. This is because the spoke prep they use contains a thread locker and will cause excessive wind-up on the spoke if it's allowed to twist.
The bottom line is that these are excellent XC wheels at a fair price. They're both lighter and less expensive than Mavic CrossMax.
a Cross Country Rider
from Albuquerque, NM
Date Reviewed: February 6, 2006
Strengths: Light, strong, simple design. To me these are a great looking wheel.
Weaknesses: Price- not inexpensive at full retail. Probably not for an all mountain rider or someone notoriously hard on wheels (like my spastic brother).
I was going to wait on posting this review untill I had at least 500 miles on the wheels, but after 2 weeks I am so impressed I couldn't wait. Light is easy, and durable is easy, but light and durable requires good design, materials, and construction. Obviously these are light, and the 3 cross spoke pattern has a proven reputation for reliability and ease of servicing. Still, they are sooo light I wasn't sure they would make it as a training wheel, and I bought them expecting to use them for racing. However, after 200 miles testing on rocky XC singletrack, I am amazed at how solid they are. I can't feel any more flex than on my heavy beater wheels. They haven't needed even the slightest truing, no strange sounds, etc. I weigh 210 lbs and ride pretty agressively, with a high tire pressure (60 psi). I guess time will tell, but so far, they seem to be a good purchase.
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2005
Strengths: rotational weight, customer service, hubs, and looks!
Weaknesses: skrewer was small diameter than the hub??? i had to use my Bontrager sckewer
Great wheels! they are super light and work like a charm. they were used in last part of my racing season and they saw 13 races. never needed trued yet! i have really pushed them and used them hard. for them being a ultra light wheel i was scared but not anymore.. happy trails everyone!
Bike Setup: 05 Trek 8500, XT Groupset, Bontrager Carbon parts, SID Team w/ Poploc
a Weekend Warrior
from Bay area, CA
Date Reviewed: November 22, 2005
Strengths: Freakishly lightweight Surprisingly stiff and strong Nice sound from the rear hub
Great wheels that are SUPER light. These things are almost 200 grams lighter than the Mavic Crossmax SL's. I did a few 2 foot drops on these things and they seem really solid. Very little flex surprisingly.
They make my bike accelerate like a hardtail when combined with lightweight IRC tires. I was amazed at the overall difference from shedding almost 2 lbs in wheels and tires. Suddenly my brakes seem to work better too from the lighter weight.