American Classic 420's are ideal for racing, training, flat or hilly courses, triathlons and they are light enough for climbing.
420's are the best do-it-all wheel set on the market. They are built with CR420 700c black rims, American Classic micro front and ultralight cassette hubs. RepartoCorse.com offers upgrades on American Classic Ti Skewers and Sapim CXray Spokes or bladed spokes
Strengths: Superlight for the money. Pleasant looks. Excellent price to weight ratio. Roll quick handle well they atent the worlds most expensive wheel.
Weaknesses: A little floppy but you cant have it all.
Im a 1.96 metre 199lbs ex track an field 400m national champ, I know bike race occasionally and still produce big power in my legs, Ive had no issue with these. Now ride these on an Sworks tarmac. They do wobble up a bit under pressure but so do alot of wheels Ive ridden. There 3 years old now an still A1. Will buy more
Bike Setup: Sworks Tarmac 2011. Sram red gxp 175 53-39
Date Reviewed: July 8, 2012
Strengths: Mine are bombproof. 15,000 miles on them with over 1,000,000ft vertical up and down and I don't think i have ever trued them.
Weaknesses: Braking from high speed/high mass rider. Could use more/better brake surface.
I really don't see how anyone can say these are flimsy (1st revewer) I'm 195lbs and live in the rocky mountains. I've put these wheels through tons of vertical feet of climbing, and what goes up, must come down, and at very high speed. Club races, road races, group rides bike path, they have been great all around.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: October 7, 2011
Strengths: Light weight, roll fast, look cool.
Weaknesses: Flexy, and not sufficiently robust for real racing or training. Stiffness and durability have been sacrificed in the name of weight. Company is wishy-washy about standing behind its products.
These wheels just don't cut it.
They are light, and they roll fast, but they just don't hold up. AC makes very light wheels. But they are pushing the envelope too far, and the wheels don't meet the minimum requirement for good wheels. Maybe if you are a very small (light) rider you won't have issues. But for normal racers, the wheels are (a) too flexy,and (b) the hubs don't last. Even if properly adjusted, the hubs are just too light weight. I have replaced both front and rear axles and bearings, and rebuilt the rear wheel with better spokes. (AC's proprietary spokes are a pain in the neck too, because nobody stocks them.) Last week the front flange failed at the nipple hole. AC would not replace...granted, they are out of their one-year warranty, but the wheels were not abused or over-tensioned and I'm not "big."
Bottom line, I won't buy AC wheels again. They are pretty, and they roll fast, but the company is too aggressive on the weight-cutting and the wheels are too flimsy.
Strengths: Great all-round wheelset.
Good aero 34mm profile
Do many things very well-great all-rounder
Innovative and supportive staff
Weaknesses: Narrow hub flange
May be flexy for crit riders
Really gauche badging on 420's
REALLY, REALLY gauche badging on Disc
(badging may be removed for a very nice look)
After reading all the reviews of AC wheels, especially the 420's, I felt compelled to add my experience to help balance the conversation. First of all, my wife and I have been riding AC wheels for more than a decade. There are currently 8 AC's on bikes in my garage. Two pair of 420's, one bladed ceramic, one round, one set of 350's and one set of carbon 58 ceramic's that just were ridden in the US Masters Nationals. That does not include 4 handmade boutique wheels that were constructed on AC hubs. Our experience with them is based on a broad range of activity. Even though Recreational Rider is checked in the box above, it should be noted that my wife and I have used these wheels in Road Races, numerous triathlons and the carbon 58's at the National TT Championships. Our experience with these wheels has been excellent. The only issues that we have had with the wheels was with the boutique wheels that were constructed with Gen 1 hubs. The bearing life was poor and the axle diameter allowed premature wear of the bore. Mr. Shook remedied the situation with a subsequent redesign resulting in a beefier structure. The constant and continuous improvement has resulted in a very impressive all round wheel. At 34mm and <1600 grams, the 420's do a lot of things very well. They spin up nicely, cruise smoothly and climb well. I would not select them for crits because of the narrow flange, but as I no longer heal that quickly, haven't considered doing so. The 350's have a boxier profile and are much more suited for a climbing/training wheel. With the carbon 58's, you are riding the exact same wheel as you will find on the Zipp 404's, but without dimples. My perspective on dimples, based on 40 years of practical application of aerodynamics is that dimples do an excellent job of retaining boundary flow of over a moving object in clean air. That said, my personal view about dimpled wheels is that there is very little "wetted" surface on a rotating wheelset that moves in a clean air mass. The possibility of a laminar flow establishing over enough of the surface to substantially effect the power output and overall speed is, in my opinion, minimal. Certainly not enough to pay a premium for dim vs non-dim wheels. YMMY. As far as maint of these wheels, I'm sure that I have trued some of them at some time, but to be honest, it has been so infrequent, that I don't remember doing so. It is also noteworthy that spokes on these wheels are serviceable at a local LBS with conventional spokes. Servicing the internals of the rear hub involves two 19mm cone wrenches and leads to the discovery of the ingenious 4 bearing, 6 pawl mechanism that is remarkably efficient. Some on this forum have remarked that they have noticed shards of aluminum from the braking surfaces embedded in the brake pads. I, too have noticed that, but mostly with OEM pads that collect material from the brake tracks. I have resorted to using Kool Stop Salmon (wet) brake pads and had excellent results. The end result is that I (we) believe that these wheels represent an excellent "bang for the buck", allround wheelset from an American company and with immediate support from a real, knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff.
Strengths: Rolling resistance, good looks, bombproof (have done two weeklong tours, no problems).
Weaknesses: Little bit of flex. Crosswind can be an issue. Make sure to have long stem tubes, won't work with anything less than 60 mm.
Best wheelset that I have ever owned. Rolling resistance is what I look for in wheels and these are head and shoulders above anything else that I have ever ridden. I agree on the flex issue, they do tend to give a little when pushed hard. But downhills, these rock! I have put around 2500 miles on them and so far no problems. Currently using them with Michelin Pro 3 tires.