Exploring new heights was elemental to this test session. That's Mt. Crested Butte in the center of the background.

Exploring new heights was elemental to this test session. That's Mt. Crested Butte in the center of the background.​

Lowdown: American Classic Argent Disc Tubeless Wheels

The goal for this test: See if we could break these wheels - or at least wreck a little havoc on the tires. The testing ground: All manner of bad dirt roads (4x4, jeep, rocky, double and singletrack, you name it) that crisscross the hills and mountains that surround our Colorado test HQ in Crested Butte. End result? Read on to find out.

Depth: 30mmSpoke count: 24 front and rear
Outer rim width: 22mmSpoke lacing: 2-cross
Inner rim width: 19.4mmClaimed weight: 1531g
Front hub: American Classic Disc 130Actual front wheel weight: 750g
Rear hub: American Classic Disc 225Actual rear wheel weight: 840g
Hub engagement: Six pawl cam actuated systemTotal actual weight: 1590g
Front axle: QR or 9mm, 12mm or 15mm thru-axleExtras: Tubeless tape and tubeless valves included
Rear axle: QR, 10x135mm or 12x142mm thru-axleTested tires: Clement X'Plor MSO 700c x 36
Driver: Shimano 10/11, Campy 10/11, SRAM XDWheelset price: $1149
Brake interface: Center Lock, 6-bolt kit includedRating:
4 Stars
4 out of 5 stars
Spokes: American Classic bladed black
Stat Box


Pluses

Minuses
  • Tubes not needed
  • Road tubeless tires required for tubeless set-up
  • Tubeless tape pre-installed
  • Some initial overnight air leakage
  • Tubeless valves included
  • Adapter needed for 6-bolt rotors
  • Wide inner rim width
  • Simple (bordering on boring) aesthetics
  • Can run lower pressure
  • Over $1000 for alloy rims
  • Lower rolling resistance
  • No burping during testing
  • No flats during testing
  • Easy tubeless set-up
  • Relatively light wheelset
  • Stiff and durable wheelset
  • Aero-enhancing profile
  • Steel faced cassette body prolongs hub life
  • Changing cassettes easier
  • Quick engaging hubs
  • Purring free hub
  • 17mm axle maintains hub bearing alignment

Review: American Classic Argent Disc Tubeless Wheels

Like any tubeless wheelset test, the initial challenge starts in the workshop where you find out how big a pain in the ass it is to set them up sans tubes. The answer for American Classic's flagship Argent Disc Tubeless road wheels was very little pain.

The American Classic Argent Disc wheels can do triple duty as a road, CX or gravel road conduit.

The American Classic Argent Disc wheels can do triple duty as a road, CX or gravel road conduit.​

In took a little tugging to get our test set of Clement X'Plor MSO 700x36 tubeless ready tires onto the rims, but once mounted the beads quickly snapped into place with just a floor pump. From there the included tubeless valves with removable valve cores made it easy to squirt in the requisite amount of Stan's NoTubes sealant. The rims even come pre-taped.

Initially we had some overnight air leakage in the front (but not the rear). However, after a month or so of testing, we pulled both tires and topped off sealant. Leakage has subsequently ceased.

These wide rims plumped up the Clement X'Plor MSO 36mm tires to 37.5mm. MSO is the airport code for Missoula, Montana, which appropriately is home to the Adventure Cycling Association.

These wide rims plumped up the Clement X'Plor MSO 36mm tires to 37.5mm. MSO is the airport code for Missoula, Montana, which appropriately is home to the Adventure Cycling Association.​

The tires, though listed at 36mm, plumped up to 37.5mm wide when inflated to 50psi. That's a testament to the Argent's generous 19.4mm inner rim width. The net effect was a generally cushy, smooth rolling ride with plenty of confidence-enhancing traction in loose terrain, which is where the MSO's (Missoula, Montana's airport code) are most at home. Indeed, the tire's label says they are designed for adventure, with soft rubber for extra grip, plus a puncture protection belt under the tread. We definitely did some adventuring - and suffered no flats.

On the Road Less Traveled

There's a reason the Crested Butte area is known for its mountain biking rather than road riding. While there are some 750 miles of sweet serpentine singletrack in greater Gunnison County, you can count the number of quality paved road rides on one hand. That doesn't mean drop bar bikes have no place here. You just need a set-up that doesn't mind getting a little dirty.

The slightly rounded 30mm deep rims have subtle aero shaping.

The slightly rounded 30mm deep rims have subtle aero shaping.​

That's just what we had for this test: Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie 'cross frame, SRAM Force 1x drivetrain with hydraulic disc brakes, and the American Classic Argent's wrapped in Clement tubeless-ready rubber. It was an ideal package for exploring the area's well- and rarely-traveled dirt roads.

Continue to page 2 for more on the American Classic Argent Disc Tubeless wheels


The best adventures are the ones on roads less traveled.

The best adventures are the ones on roads less traveled.​

The biggest of those excursions was an 83-mile mixed surface mega adventure that included pavement, smooth dirt road, and one of the most heinous stretches of steep, rocky hell you could ever encounter on a bike. I can't say I cleaned everything. Actually I was off the bike and walking a fair bit. But so too was my riding companion, who did the entire ride on his cross-country mountain bike. Point being if there was ever a place to mess up a wheel, this was it.

Numerous sections of the long, slow climb from Marble of the summit of Schofield Pass were nothing more than a string of baby head-sized rocks. I bashed into to more sharp edges than I could count, impacting the rims at least a half dozen times while running about 50psi. Yet, not once did I flat, nor have to break out the wheel truing stand at ride's end.

Inner rim width is a bulbous 19.4mm.

Inner rim width is a bulbous 19.4mm. The wheels come pre-taped.​

This road to perdition was also ideal testing ground for hub engagement, the slow rolling nature quickly turning any delay into a dab. But the American Classic Disc's 225 rear hub with its six pawl cam actuated system snapped forward quickly, helping maintain what little momentum I could muster. Of course the relatively light 1590g wheelset weight helped, too.

And so it went for the next several months, each test ride starting with a quick spin on tarmac before deviating onto dirt. Up Kebler Pass. Up Cement Creek Road. Up to the summit of Reno Divide. Each unpaved ascent always followed by a rowdy ride down. I did my best to find the cleanest line. But inevitably impact occurred, with rim meeting rock. By the end, I managed to knock the rear wheel just slightly out of true, but the external nipples made for an easy true up. Other than that, these wheels proved decidedly stiff and bomb proof, without a hint of brake rub even during hard out-of-saddle accelerations.

In case you were wondering where the tubeless valve was.

In case you were wondering where the tubeless valve was.​

Thoughts on Road/CX Tubeless

If you ride mountain bikes, you've long ago become a devotee of life without tubes. Tubeless wheel/tire set-ups simply make life better. Period. But things are not so cut and dry for road and cyclocross applications. They can be a hassle to set-up, may burp when run at low pressure (the kind required in 'cross racing for instance), and may have limited benefit for full time road riding. Honestly, how often do you flat on paved roads?

I don't have a good rebuttal for that last point. My daily driver road bike has a tubed set-up and I don't see that changing anytime soon. But these wheels are not a hassle to set up tubeless, and thanks to what American Classic calls its bead barb rim profile, I've yet to burp them, despite diligently trying. That barb runs along the edge of the bead shelf, so once the tire has popped into position, the bead barb centers and tightly grips the tire, creating a sealed environment that will hold sealant and air in.

Be warned.

Be warned.​

That said, current tubeless set-ups are still not quite as good as tubulars for racing cyclocross. They just don't have the same supple feel at low pressure. But for all but elite racers, the diminished hassle factor (does anyone enjoy gluing tires?) is likely worth this slight drop in performance. Not to mention it's far easier to swap tires, if say you want to go from a fast rolling file tread to a traction-enhancing mud tire, but don't want to stay up all night making the change.

As for road use, American Classic front man Bill Shook is convinced they're better, specifically pointing to the friction and drag resulting from having a tube moving inside a tire, which in turn results in energy loss. Get rid of the tube and you get lower rolling resistance, or so the theory goes. But Shook also admits that there just aren't a ton of high quality tubeless road tires on the market yet. As that changes, though, he sees road tubeless becoming more and more popular. We'll see.

The bead barb makes tubeless set-up easy - and resulted in no burping.

The bead barb makes tubeless set-up easy - and resulted in no burping.​

I cant say I've ever felt a monumental difference between tubed and tubeless road set-ups. But in the off chance that you do run over a thorn, tack, or worse, the idea of sealant and not a new tube fixing the situation is very attractive. And if mixed-surface rides are your thing (we love them), the ability to run lower pressure with less fear of pinch flats is definitely a good thing.

Bottom Line

Even if you never intend to set these wheels up tubeless, race cyclocross, or go "adventure" riding, the American Classic Argent Disc Tubeless wheels are still a rock solid alloy option. Weight is low, hub engagement is snappy, profile is aero, and they're exceptionally durable. And you'll always have the option to ditch your tubes when/if you decide to make the leap to tubeless. And if you're not into the whole disc thing, American Classic also sells a rim brake version of these wheels that are $50 cheaper.

Decisions decisions...

Decisions decisions...​

For more info please visit amclassic.com.