American Classic 420 Deep Section wheelsets - clincher

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420 Deep Section

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

User Reviews (50)

Showing 1-10 of 50  
Ian   Road Racer [Aug 27, 2012]
Strength:

Superlight for the money. Pleasant looks. Excellent price to weight ratio. Roll quick handle well they atent the worlds most expensive wheel.

Weakness:

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

Similar Products Used: Mavic Aksium
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
Greg   [Jul 08, 2012]
Strength:

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.

Weakness:

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy   Road Racer [Oct 07, 2011]
Strength:

Light weight, roll fast, look cool.

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Lots of race wheels.
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Available At:
kargok9   Recreational Rider [Aug 05, 2010]
Strength:

Great all-round wheelset.
Good aero 34mm profile
Do many things very well-great all-rounder
LBS serviceable
Innovative and supportive staff
Good value

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Eurus
Mavic
Rolf Vigor
Phil
Zipp
X-Treme
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
goodwij   Recreational Rider [Jun 20, 2010]
Strength:

Rolling resistance, good looks, bombproof (have done two weeklong tours, no problems).

Weakness:

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.

Similar Products Used: Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL
Spinergy Xaero
Rolf
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
mantice   Recreational Rider [Apr 07, 2010]
Strength:

They're gorgeous(sp?), all is smooth from the hubs, even if there is'nt a large aero advantage, there is mentally. I also really like the 120 psi.

Weakness:

They do seem to have some flex, though I do weigh 170lbs(a lengthy 6,2), during installing i did notice a little play of the cassette until tightening, and setting brakes are a pain.

Having done months of research i found that thought AC has had quality issues in the past, they have them fixed now. I say this because first it was the spokes, then the hubs, and finally the free body. All that's left are the rims...... and lets be honest.
But it has only been a month so we will see.

Similar Products Used: ksyrium elites
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JDM   Commuter [Oct 22, 2009]
Strength:

Very strong/robust, excellent spin up.

Weakness:

Bearings do require bit more sensitive adjustment than comparable wheels, but I service everything on my bike about every 2 weeks anyway. So no big deal on that.

The braking surface is a bit narrow, as others have said. I have Campy Centaur skeleton brakes w/Campy pads & keep 'em well adjusted. Braking is excellent... much better than my DA on racing bike.

I commute & ride for fitness. Occasional Sunday morning 50-100 mi rides w/local clubs, do +/- 60 miles every morning. I do mostly flats around here on morning rides, mild hills. I do fast/constant cadence, enjoy a little speed.

My criteria for this set was:
a) bullet proof strength: I hit crevices/rocks/pot holes... every manner of common road humps. I wanted wheels I don't have to true often.
b) really, really good spinners. For me, nothing (other then a) maximizes pleasure for my morning rides more than a very effortless, smooth spinning hubs. It's a difference between 40 & 60 miles for same time/effort in early mornings.

I love these wheels. I agree they're a little flexy on hard climbs, but they've met my criteria in spades. I've had 6 quality wheelsets now (no ceramic): none spin better then these 420s.

I've hit everything one encounters through city streets and these wheels are still perfectly true after +/- 1800 miles.

I love 'em, and I think they're under appreciated.

Similar Products Used: Rolf Vector/Rolf Vector Comp
Bontrager Race Lite junk
Mavic Ksyrium SL
DA
AM Hurricane
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
muscleendurance   Road Racer [Sep 26, 2009]
Strength:

weight to aero ratio, price, cheap propper aero rim (just)

Weakness:

- very narrow rim brake surface makes linig up the pads a bit more time consuming than normal.
- minimal grease in hubs wears bearings FAST!

If you want a set of Aero rims for the bling factor to look nice on your bike, but dont want to drop $2000+ for a set of Zipps or similar top end gear, then these Am Classics fit the bill. Relatively lightweight (1500g) about 35mm Aero profile for sprint speed, they are a very good all round wheel set.

Weakness' are hub bearings though, they wear fast and need serious greasing when new (v light grease from factory)

Good solid wheels.

Similar Products Used: Kyserium ES, Elite.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
19woody76   Road Racer [Jul 09, 2009]
Strength:

Great looking, stiff, light, roll super-fast

Weakness:

NONE...but American Classic won't let anyone build there own!

Best wheels I have ever ridden on...ever

Similar Products Used: Neuvation, AC sprint 350, movic cosmos
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Drnwagn   Recreational Rider [Jun 09, 2009]
Strength:

Light, fast spinning, smooth, standard bladed spokes. Great for the rec rider or training rides.

Weakness:

Flexy and have to keep an eye on rear bearings. White is hard to keep clean! Any puddles or lube on the chain seems to show up on these wheels. Weigh 170#, can make rims flex and touch brake pads in a sprint or hard out of seat climb!

I know I said rec rider but I have been riding/racing for the past 13 years, just not racing the past 3. 09 420's in White. Look great and really make the bike pop. Overall, they are quite light for what they are, spin fast and ride smooth. Been on them for about 2 months now. Feel maybe 1-2mm of movement in rear hub already. Thought this was addressed by AC post 08 but not sure at this point.

Similar Products Used: Mavic Kserium Prem. SL's. Slightly lighter but stiffer.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 50