American Classic voluntarily closes Taiwan factory, stops manufacturing wheels

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Amclassic, Inc., voluntarily closed its Taiwan factory and has stopped manufacturing of the American Classic brand. Negotiations are underway for sale of the Trademarks, Intellectual
Property and Technical know-how of the brand’s hub, rim and wheel technology.

“We thank our AC customers and staff for their support over the years and sincerely regret the impact of these actions,” says Bill Shook, company founder, who adds “This is a new beginning for the AC brand and our technology. The challenges of the bicycle marketplace led to this decision. We are fortunate to have our health and will go on in a new direction without the stress of the factory. This is the start of a new journey in the best sport in the world.”

Over the years, American Classic has introduced a number of novel designs, sometimes straying from bandwagons everyone else jumped on (like with their Boost hub flange spacing), but their wheels have long been well received and their rims sometimes pushing the boundaries of light weight.

Bill Shook is continuing his design work and will be available for consultancy work on a project basis. Wheels and parts are available in the US at BTI http://www.bti-usa.com/ and internationally https://amclassic.com/distributors

21 COMMENTS

  1. Hate to see any business close but with less dealers/retail you are going to have less to choose from. This is going to happen to all retail. You should see some other brands close down this year.

  2. wheels have been well-received…. except for the part where customers actually buy them.

    Very strange wording about “voluntarily closing”. Is that Shook saying ‘we’re totally not bankrupt, just don’t want to do this any more’?

  3. Don’t be surprised if they pop right back up as either “AC brand under new ownership” or “AC ownership under new brand.”

  4. Love the Wide Lightnings I put on my Jet Nine made it a much better bike but had to replace the rear hub, AC engagement was not very good at least for me.

  5. I wanted to love their wheels but to his credit, or business’ discredit, he refused to work with the company I was with because we were selling the bikes direct (as well as through shops). What flabbergasted me at the time was the exceptionally poor way either he or his company chose to deal with us, after we had placed (and they accepted) an order for sets of sample wheels after meeting them in TW…

    Either way, sad to see another of the old skool brands pack up and call it a day.

    • A stubborn business… What a shame. To stay niche is to hold back scalability, but to be scalable is to be profitable. That’s why I wonder about campagnolo’s future (not that I ride that cost inefficient who-ha).

    • Guaranteed that wasn’t Bill who pushed you out. It would’ve been Ellen. She was the business manager. I had a similar issue with the shop I was at. Spoke to Bill and he was down and then she said no. All cause she thought I hung up on her on purpose. I ended up dropping the phone and broke it and got disconnected.

  6. About 10-12 years ago the shop I was at sold a few hundred road bikes with American Classic wheels. The 420 road model was a big seller for us and the product i remember most fondly from them as it just seemed like the right product at the right time. If one looks at the history of the brand and what the individual words of “American” and “Classic” stood for, I wonder if the changing political environment has had any affect on the brand, and by that I mean is the brand wording itself an asset or liability on the international market.

    • Agree. Neugent does a good job too. Have a set of neuvations that were (still are) very good.

      I think I bought the last set of Aero 3’s made 1-2 months ago. Hopefully I can still get parts in 5+ years.

  7. Nobody wants anything that says America or American anymore thanks to Trump
    That said, I would have loved their wheels if they weren’t so noodly under my 190lb body.

  8. I had one of their old school seatposts, with the rectangular-shaped inner cross section. Supposedly unbendable. I cased a landing an put a slight bend in it. I called them and Bill sent a replacement mighty quick, but, more impressively, wanted the old post back to figure out what went wrong…..

    15 years later, love my Wide Lightnings…..

    Sad to see them go.

What do you think?