There are few things that can impact the feel and performance of your bike more than wheels. Drop rotating weight and you’ll feel faster climbing and reaction times will seem to drop. Make them stiffer and control climbs a few notches. Add all that together, and well, you’re looking at a potentially game changing upgrade.
Enter the new 29er AM wheel-set from American Classic. For lack of better terminology to sound intelligent, they’re SWEET!
I mounted a Maxxis Ikon 2.2 on the rear and a Maxxis UST Tubeless Cross Mark 2.1 in the front. Set up was rather simple if you’ve got the right tools: a good air compressor, sealant and patience. Admittedly I did have a more difficult time mounting the Ikon but it was my intention to see how a tire not specifically designed for being ridden tubeless would mount and seal. Once mounted and the sealant distributed evenly after a few rides I had no problem with loss of air pressure – only about 5psi in 24 hours.
With the UST Tubeless Cross Mark I have never had a tire mount so seamlessly and quickly… it took maybe three minutes from injection of the sealant to complete inflation. A great feature is that AC installs a 25mm rim strip, which, even though is easy to install yourself, really helps you go from unboxing to riding quickly and easily. I was trying two different sealants when mounting these and used Stan’s for the front and Caffe Latex for the rear… both creating a great seal and continue to hold strong.
One feature not found on other wheels is the reinforcing ring American Classic added to all of its disc wheels in 2012. While I could not sense a difference in performance, stiffening the rotor can’t be a bad idea.
What the 28mm wide (outside measurement) and 25mm deep rim meant to me was that the wheel should be more stable and offer a smoother ride. At 205lbs, on a good day, I am not overly worried about an extra few hundred grams that this wheel is over its XC racing cousin. I need a wheel that can take a beating.
I was proven correct when riding the wheels for the very first time. The balance, control and cornering capabilities of the wheels was great and I felt that the wheels really hooked up with the trail much better than other wheels I have ridden recently. I have had issues with burping tires off their rim, but after several rides with these wheels I have never felt more certain that the tires were there to stay. The rim strip design is a sure fire way to ensure that the bead of the tire seats properly on the rim without any chance of becoming caught on an elevated edge of another type of rim strip I’ve used. Without going into a long diatribe about tubeless vs. tubed tires; I am able to ride lower pressures, get better traction and ride with less “chatter”. These wheels give me a better sense of confidence that the tire is going to hold the bead and I can rely on it during aggressive descents and tight cornering. I have hit many rocks and roots harder than I’d like and have yet to knock these wheels out of true.
American Classic All-Mountain 29 Tubeless Wheels front & rear actual weights
These are not a pure racing wheel and for that I would refer you to the American Classic Race 29″. Those weigh in at 1419g per set vs 1680g (claimed weight)/1780g (actual weight) of the All-Mountain wheels being reviewed here. Even at that weight, they’re competitive with wheels with narrower rims. At $850 MSRP, these are an affordable, durable, relatively light weight option that let you push the limits. I’ll be training and racing XTERRA on these wheels into 2012 with confidence.!
- DISCIPLINE: MTB Cross Country / All Mountain
- RIMS: New All Mountain Tubeless Aluminum Disc Rims 29”
- SPOKES: AC 14 / 15 Gauge Spokes Black, AC Aluminum Nipples Silver, 32h 3-Cross Front and Rear
- HUBS / SPACING OPTIONS:
- Front: Disc 130 100mm / 15mm Thru Axle Disc 100mm / 20mm Thru Axle Disc 110mm
- Rear: Disc 225 135mm / AM Disc Thru Axle 135mm / DH Disc Thru Axle 150mm / X-12 Thru Axle Disc
- BRAKE INTERFACE: 6 Bolt International Standard
- LOOK / COLOR: New AC White Buzzsaw with Red Hubs
- QUICK RELEASE: Cromoly QR’s (Disc 130, Disc 225 only)
- MSRP: $850 USD