2012 American Classic lightweight magnesium road tubeless wheelsets and 29er Race mountain bike wheels

American Classic has reworked their extrusions for both road and mountain bike rims to produce some incredibly lightweight tubeless wheelsets, and they have a new 10mm thru axle for standard frames that want the improved stiffness a thru-axle offers.

The new rim material is a high strength 6000-series alloy that’s much stronger than the previous alloy. It’s used on this new rim, the All Mountain Tubeless and Road Tubeless wheels. Founder and engineer Bill Shook chose the new alloy so he could do a thinner extrusion to save weight without losing strength.

For the mountain bikes, there are new 26″ and 29er Race Wheels that went from 360g to 310g per rim (26″). Combined with lighter spokes, the 26″ wheels dropped 156g over the prior wheelset to come in at 1321g for the pair. The 29er set comes in at just 1419g. Rider weight limit of 210lbs, available by end of year.


Front will have 9QR and 15mm thru-axle and rear will be available with regular 135×10 QR, 135×10 thru axle and 142×12. They come one way, but you simply order the parts and do an axle swap to modify it in the future.

Rim width is 28 wide on the outside, which is 2mm wider than their XC version and still lighter. The comparison above says it all. Inside width is 24mm. $950 per pair, which includes skewers and the tubeless ready rim seal.

2012 American Classic 10mm rear thru axle

Compare their new 10mm thru axle, above, to your standard QR skewer and you can imagine the difference it could make in rear end stiffness. This piece, like the similar one from DT Swiss, becomes the hub’s axle, and the hub simply rotates on it…just like a front thru-axle.

2012 American Classic lightweight road tubeless alloy and magnesium rim road bike wheelsets

Road Tubeless – Available with either the new alloy or magnesium rims, they come in at 1179g and 1108g respectively. They use the newer front hubs that have “zero tolerance bearings” and “single point threaded” end cap bolts. This gets the threads on the exact center of the axle, letting them have tighter tolerances and eliminate the play from the previous design. Both materials shown above, mag on the left.

Rim width is 22 outside, 19 inside. This let’s you run a narrower tire to save weight but get a wider tire patch. Shook says he’s put a 19c tire on and had it measure at 23c. Rim weight is 310g alloy and 300g magnesium.

$1,399 (alloy) and $1,599 (mag), available soon.

Why pay $200 more for a 20g rim weight savings? AC’s Ellen Kast says the material is rock solid, holds a line better and feels like it stays faster for longer. She said it’s just one of those things you have to ride to really understand but that everyone who does wants them.


  1. Magnesium, really nice that’s an original idea. Unless, there is an other wheel maker coming up with the same material & I am not aware of. Is it available only for road use?

  2. Any word on whether the road tubeless wheels will be ‘cross-certified? with 24 spokes front and rear, I’m thinking they’ll be at least as ready as my first-gen HED Ardennes (18/20 f/r)…

    Sick light (for clinchers), nice and wide, AND tubeless ready?? Hopefully the price comes down some…

  3. Magnesium is a real pain in the ass to work with which is why most people don’t do it. Also with the introduction of carbon fiber it basicly came unnecessary as you could make a lighter stronger wheel out of carbon without having to go to the exteme of thinning out the material to crazy thin levels. Reynolds did the same thing with their steel tubing right before it went the way of the dinosaur.

  4. alloycowboy said “you could make a lighter stronger wheel out of carbon”

    Show me a lighter carbon clincher rim ..

    I didn’t think so.

  5. Steel went the way of the dinosaur? Wow. That would be a surprise to all the manufacturers who had steel bikes at Eurobike this year and the increase in the number of steel bikes there over last year. Interesting claim.

  6. Did dinosaurs evolve into birds…..?

    Great wheels and under £800 in UK. 500g lighter than Ksyrium, tubeless so less punctures, corner better …. wha’t the catch?!

  7. Nick, there is no catch. It’s that good…

    I have been riding Campy Shamal Ultra 2-way Fits in the tubeless setup for 2 years. For anyone wanting the road feel of tubies, puncture protection that is unmatched in any other type, and the ease of clinchers in terms of maintenance, tubless is it. I will never go back. As for Magnesium, it is difficult to work out the manufacturing process, but it is a heavenly material to ride and lighter than any low profile carbon wheel made. If only AC wheels could lace up to the superb Campy CULT hub…I digress…

    Final comment – these are far cheaper than ENVE 1.25s, lighter, more durable, and it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to make carbon wheels in tubeless form at least for now. The benefits are all there, and these things will be amazing on the climb.

    I will absolutely have a pair of the mag tubeless in my garage.

    Final comment – for anyone wanting to try tubeless, forget Maxxis. They don’t know jack about road tubeless. Save $50/tire and go directly to the Hutchinson Atom. I’m on my 7th set in 2 years and have had 0 problems.

What do you think?