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American Classic Wheel Dilemna(21 posts)

American Classic Wheel DilemnaAndross_Mazor
Dec 19, 2002 3:44 PM
Ok, I am a collegiate racer, looking for a set of racing-only wheels. I can get the american classic 350's and 420's for about the same price (cheap), but i can only afford one. I will be doing about an equal number of road races, crits, and TTs this season and in a rather hilly area. The 350s will weigh ~1340g's and the 420s ~1450. What to do?!?
Recent AC 350 commentsKerry
Dec 19, 2002 5:21 PM
There was a thread on this recently. One person reported that he had an "in the driveway" tire blow off due to a poor mounting job. It bent both side walls on an AC 350. The short answer is that these are super light rims and not that strong. If you are a lightweight and easy on equipment, then the 350s will probably work for you. Otherwise, you know the answer. BTW, once you go to the 420s, you can duplicate the wheel for probably less money with a Velocity Aerohead or OP.
Recent AC 350 commentsfredthebiker
Dec 19, 2002 6:48 PM
How is he able to duplicate the 420 wheels with an Aerohead or Open Pro? They are 3 totally different rims.
I am just curious on this one.
Dec 20, 2002 4:41 PM
My point was that you could build an AC420 comparable wheel with an Aerohead or OP. The rims are all within 15 gm of each other, and there are a number of hubs on the market that are equal to the AC, or you could buy ACs. There is no real magic in the AC420 wheel. And if you read the comments in a post below, some don't think the AC hubs are all that great. Don't forget that Campy and Shimano hub sets are advertised with the skewers included in the weight number while the ACs are not. Add 120 gm to the AC hub, and see how it compares to Record or DA.
Dec 20, 2002 7:24 PM
First of all, the 420 is a 34mm deep rim, versus the 22mm deep open pro or aerohead. Also, the 2 latter rims require alot more spokes which will make the wheel heavier. I have seen 420 wheel weights at 1400 grams for the pair. I would like to see that out of an open pro or aerohead wheelset.
I am also curious where you get 120 grams? A pair of TI qr's from American Classic weigh out at 80 grams, where is the extra 40 grams coming from? Also, i have seen the exact same weight listed for a pair of Campy hubs with and without qrs, how is that possible? Who is wrong?
How can you say that the 420 isn't magical in some way. They are the ONLY ones to produce a 420 gram 34mm deep rim. Who else does that? No one.
I think the CAMPY and SHIMANO skewers weigh around 120g (nm)B2
Dec 21, 2002 7:25 AM
Dec 21, 2002 11:12 AM
Non industry Kerry the know-it-all doesn't know too much. Drop by and check out the review of the AC 350's. I've seen both of these rims close up, and the rims/components you speak of don't even come close.

Wear a bib for further postings perhaps?
DuplicationWoof the dog
Dec 21, 2002 1:03 PM
According to damon rinard's weights list, both front and rear ultralight American Classic hubs are significantly lighter than DA. All were weighed without skewers. I believe that at least Shimano (who cares a/ campy anyway) weights do not include skewers.

so what do you say Kerry, am I right or not?
Recent AC 350 commentsLeak
Dec 19, 2002 10:16 PM
I always think it's dangerous to "generalize" about the quality or character of a product based on one incident, which in fact, you don't even know is true. There are all kinds of reasons that may have led to that result, including manufacturing inconsistencies...something that is common to all products.

Do you own a set of 350s? If not, how do you justify the statement that they "are not that strong"?
Recent AC 350 commentsmpm32
Dec 20, 2002 7:21 AM
I am the one with the blow off incident. In my post I stated that these wheels are great for racing wheels. I also tried to demonstrate that as a lightweight product extra care needed to be taken as should be with all light weight products. I do know that the rim wall is thinner than other rims not as light and as such, I do not believe that my rim bowing out was a result of manufacturing inconsistencies but, an inherent quality of the design - light weight. Also, the blow off occured in my dining room - wish I was wearing my hr monitor when it blew. Man was it loud. My ears were ringing for an hour.

I have no doubts that they are a good lightwight wheelset. One that is stiff, light and fast.
Not a generalizationKerry
Dec 20, 2002 4:59 PM
First, there were other comments in that thread about problems with the AC350 wheels. Second, despite claims by AC fans, there is a reason that no other manufacturer builds a rim this light. AC does not have access to technology not available to the other rim companies. They have chosen to build a very light rim that really pushes the envelope on durability, and the other guys have not. The AC350 is an "event wheel" for light riders, and that needs to be understood. I don't need to own a set of these wheels to reach that conclusion.
Not a generalizationLeak
Dec 20, 2002 6:30 PM
Is it possible that technology progresses and that there always has to be a first or "pioneer"? Wasn't it the case that when Heliums came out, everyone thought they were really light (at 1800 grams!) but were too fragile? And now, there are so many wheelsets that are lighter and demonstrably stronger than Heliums.

I'm sure that if people were knocking Heliums at that time, they were knocking Ksyriums when they first came out because they were generalizing that if Heliums sucked then Ksyriums must suck even more because they were even lighter. And I know there were (and still are?) lots of complaints about Ksyriums when they first came out.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't point out warts when they arise, but until there is a complaint consistent among the majority (or at least a large percentage) of the wheelsets, it seems to me that it is "generalizing" to say that "they" are not that strong. I think the positive comments about the 350s far outweigh the least from what I've seen.

By the way, I don't own a set of 350s either.

For Kerry, the non-industry know-it-allCobbicus
Dec 21, 2002 11:09 AM
Do some homework before posting. You don't work in the industry, and don't know what you're talking about. The 350 wheel will be an event wheel for some riders, but for some, it is perfect as an everyday wheel. If you're not aware, AC custom build all of their wheels, tailoring them to each rider, which is something very few manufacturers do.

Bill Shook has always been an innovator in this industry. Know who built the world's first fat tube aluminum frame? It wasn't Gary Klein. Shook built it back in '74 I believe, a couple of years before Gary. A court case involving Klein and Cannondale is proof of this.
Wish I could judge a product without using it......IAmtnbikr
Dec 21, 2002 2:44 PM
I am 170 pounds and have been on the AC 350's built by Mike Garcia for some time now. Results....NO troubles. And our roads around here are sure not that nice. I do try and avoid the big potholes, but you never will avoid all the rough stuff. I have not had to touch the wheels. They are 1323 grams for the pair, not inclulding the QR's. I dare you to find a wheelset that light that will hold up this well, and costs what these did....$384 shipped to my door. That even included a spare spoke of each type used. I just do not understand how people can review something they never have used. Granted, there are some exceptions to the rule, but not in this case. Here are two things for Kerry to look at. One is the review, the other is what I think of someone who is an armchair reviewer. (and) have a wonderful day......LOL
Wish I could judge a product without using it......bjarne
Jan 16, 2003 5:18 AM
I know you all love A/C, but I tried the 420 wheelset, and it had to go back, to the shop 4 times in month, because the rearhub went loose, and generally didn´t go smooth.

After the 4 "repairs" I had to trade them in for Ksyriums, so I´m not that impressed by Bill.

By the way.
I mailed to after their review of the 350, but allthough they printed some comments from guys who liked A/C, they didn´t print mine.
Now thats nasty.

Recent AC 350 commentsCobbicus
Dec 21, 2002 11:16 AM
I agree with Leak. I even know of guys in the industry who have posted all sorts of propaganda about their competitors. Nasty.
He's probably getting ProDeal on them.fracisco
Dec 20, 2002 8:44 AM
I don't know what ProDeal price would be, but the price that he is being offered for them is probably less than an OP/Ultegra wheel.
AmClassic opinionsmotta
Dec 20, 2002 8:56 AM
The fascination with AC suprises me. My experience was with a hub only and all I can say is never again. A very poor design, bearings exposed to the elements, drag in the cassette hub body, so much so that I may as well have had a brake rubbing. The cartridge bearings are non-standard, meaning that you can only get replacements from AC, and they wanted $10 each, with four? sets per hub, yikes! $40 bucks for a rebuild, for a $200 hub? I put that thing on E-Bay so fast, got $50 and was glad for it.
What school do you race for, in what conference? My vote 420'sSwat Dawg
Dec 20, 2002 9:28 AM
I am collegiate racer for Swarthmore College in SW PA. We race in the ECCC. We are pretty new, starting up a year ago. So we are in the process of trying to get sponsorship the likes of what you have. We are doing alright, but getting in touch with all these companies takes up a lot of time. How does your school go about the sponsorship process? I've just been calling, emailing, and writing. I'm hoping some things pan out. I think things will eventually workout, I just hope in time for the season. Anyway, hope your training for the upcoming season going well. And my vote would be for the 420's. If you are going to be doing 3 types of races, the 420's will be more durable, and aren't they more aero, so they would work better for the TT. Also, the 100 grams won't be a big deal but the aero advantage will do you well. The extra weight will actually help with in keeping the momentum up in the RR and the TT. The crits are the only time they will not be better than the 350's, but if you want to solo off the front, or when you take a pull, you will be more aerodynamic doing it, and have to put out less effort. So those are my thoughts. Take Care. Have a great season.

Swat Dawg
What school do you race for, in what conference? My vote 420'sWoof the dog
Dec 20, 2002 10:40 AM
get 420s b/c of better rim durability. You will crash and hit many potholes, i'd be worried to use too light of a rim. Aerodynamic advantage is probably insignificant. If you want to see a difference, get zipps.

Woof the dog.
What school do you race for, in what conference? My vote 420'sAndross_Mazor
Dec 20, 2002 1:58 PM
UC Berkeley, we're in the WCCC. Im a freshman there so i havent done the road season yet. I really dont know much about how they got the sponsorship stuff together, but if you want to talk to our sponsorship guy, give me an email and I'll give you his (Id rather not just put it out there.) AC isnt a sponsor of our school, I would be getting those through a club I ride with back home. Oh, and have a great season too, hopefully you'll be coming to nationals (at berkeley).