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Discussion Starter #1
this is just a report for everyone's info. my rear American Classic 2003 hub has failed. It had approximately 2-3000 miles on it. I did drive it down from MI to PA in some rain, and I did ride it a couple times in nasty weather, but it was otherwise a good weather hub. I was riding the other day (in good weather), and the hub just tightened up - I thought my brakes were locked up at first. I was fortunate to be able to limp 4 miles back home - the bearings in my rear hub are absolutely shot.

I had expected the wheels to be goners, because they were salvaged from a bike that was in a bad accident. they trued up pretty well, and the front hub's bearings are still OK (not perfectly smooth, but acceptable). I will throw the rear hub out and may sell off the front.

I obviously can't seek a warranty repair from Am Classic - the hub is 2 years old. however, I should easily have been able to put 2-3k miles on it within a year of purchase if not for the accident. this is the 2003 model, before they made the hubs even lighter and the bearings even smaller. this is not the first time people have excoriated Am Classic's products on this board. while I am sure there are a lot of satisfied users out there, I no longer have confidence in Am Classic and will no longer use their hubs.
 

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The others still have problems

weiwentg said:
this is just a report for everyone's info. my rear American Classic 2003 hub has failed. It had approximately 2-3000 miles on it. I did drive it down from MI to PA in some rain, and I did ride it a couple times in nasty weather, but it was otherwise a good weather hub. I was riding the other day (in good weather), and the hub just tightened up - I thought my brakes were locked up at first. I was fortunate to be able to limp 4 miles back home - the bearings in my rear hub are absolutely shot.

I had expected the wheels to be goners, because they were salvaged from a bike that was in a bad accident. they trued up pretty well, and the front hub's bearings are still OK (not perfectly smooth, but acceptable). I will throw the rear hub out and may sell off the front.

I obviously can't seek a warranty repair from Am Classic - the hub is 2 years old. however, I should easily have been able to put 2-3k miles on it within a year of purchase if not for the accident. this is the 2003 model, before they made the hubs even lighter and the bearings even smaller. this is not the first time people have excoriated Am Classic's products on this board. while I am sure there are a lot of satisfied users out there, I no longer have confidence in Am Classic and will no longer use their hubs.

It really is not fun to go out on a ride and end up having a mechanical but sometimes the blame can be put on the shouldrs of the riders and not the manufacture.

As an industrial mechanic I see alot of bearings and they do not fail catastrophically, they fail gradually. I have four sets of AM classic hubs from various years and have not had any trouble with them, nor have they failed on a ride. I also dissassemble them every winter and do a routine check on all of the components. I replace any bearing that is showing any sign of mechanical looseness. They(bearings) are very inexpensive to buy and very easy to replace. I lubricate all friction components with a good syntheic grease and reassemble using the manufactures recommendations.

Yes, these hubs are not as robust as some on the market. There is no such hub that will be bullet proof as well as light. If you need tried and true hubs (they also need regular maintenance) then buy a set of shimano or campy hubs and sacrifice a little weight.
 

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A couple questions...

weiwentg said:
I did drive it down from MI to PA in some rain, and I did ride it a couple times in nasty weather, but it was otherwise a good weather hub. .
When you drove it down from MI to PA was the bike outside the vehicle? On the roof perhaps? If it was outside, did you repack the bearings after they had all the grease washed out by 70mph driven water?

Just looking to know the circumstances. Thx.
 

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From reading the other responses, it looks like the hubs have replaceable bearings, why throw away the hub. Replace the bearings and use or sell. WTF
 

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Not such a big deal.

curlybike said:
From reading the other responses, it looks like the hubs have replaceable bearings, why throw away the hub. Replace the bearings and use or sell. WTF
Fixing them is cheap, and given the wheels other great attributes, changing bearings or other parts occationally shouldn't deter you from riding them. You don't stop riding a bicycle because the tires fail do you?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
tsteahr said:
When you drove it down from MI to PA was the bike outside the vehicle? On the roof perhaps? If it was outside, did you repack the bearings after they had all the grease washed out by 70mph driven water?

Just looking to know the circumstances. Thx.
yep, the bike was on my roof rack. however, there was no way for me to repack the sealed bearings. they should not have had the grease washed out of them, anyway, assuming they were sealed properly.

they were in storage for a while after the accident. when I pulled them out of storage, the bearings both front and rear didn't feel brand new, but they still felt good. the complete failure of the rear was unexpected and frustrating.

the insurance company of the idiot who hit me (and put me in the ICU for a day and the hospital for 2 weeks) has already paid up for the full value of the entire bike, from the wheels right down to the chainrings. I was expecting to cut the hubs out and sell them off, but like I said, the wheels seemed in good shape. and it's looking like a good thing I didn't sell the wheels off. I have already got a replacement set of wheels. I'll keep the front. but the rear was the one that was the most out of true, and now there's the hub problem. if anyone wants it, they can have the damn thing for the cost of shipping. but it looks like a total bearing replacement, and I wouldn't really trust the rim if I were any heavier - and I weigh about 125 soaking wet.
 

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Very sorry to hear about your accident. Sounds like you were lucky to survive. Seems like the bike had a rough go as well.

As to the hubs. The AC is a lightweight hub with design compromises to that end. One compromise is a single rubber seal. While this is fine for conditions while riding, it is not enough to keep water out at interstate highway speeds.

So it seems the wheels were on the roof of the car, in the rain, at the time of the accident (if I understand this correctly). The bike then sat for a period of time (weeks at least) while you were in the hospital recovering. During this time I it would be reasonable to surmise there was water trapped in the bearings/hub. Some corrosion may have ensued, you rode the hub (which now had very little grease left) and it failed. I'm not really convinced this is the fault of the hub or a fault of the design. One could argue all the bearings should be pulled and repacked before riding again. The hubs, the headset at a minimum. I would also worry a bit about the shifters and the cables.

To be truthful, I'm not convinced any hub would have faired much better having been totally soaked on top of a car and then put away wet to sit for several weeks. Take a chain for example. I have ridden a beater bike in the rain, put it away wet, come back to it a month later and the chain is rusted nearly solid. I have ridden a road bike in the rain, put it away wet, hop on the next day and all is fine. It is the letting it sit part that does the big damage.

Again, I understand many of these circumstances were out of your control. That does not make it the fault of the hub however.

Best wishes for your speedy recovery...

weiwentg said:
yep, the bike was on my roof rack. however, there was no way for me to repack the sealed bearings. they should not have had the grease washed out of them, anyway, assuming they were sealed properly.

they were in storage for a while after the accident. when I pulled them out of storage, the bearings both front and rear didn't feel brand new, but they still felt good. the complete failure of the rear was unexpected and frustrating.

the insurance company of the idiot who hit me (and put me in the ICU for a day and the hospital for 2 weeks) has already paid up for the full value of the entire bike, from the wheels right down to the chainrings. I was expecting to cut the hubs out and sell them off, but like I said, the wheels seemed in good shape. and it's looking like a good thing I didn't sell the wheels off. I have already got a replacement set of wheels. I'll keep the front. but the rear was the one that was the most out of true, and now there's the hub problem. if anyone wants it, they can have the damn thing for the cost of shipping. but it looks like a total bearing replacement, and I wouldn't really trust the rim if I were any heavier - and I weigh about 125 soaking wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
tsteahr said:
Very sorry to hear about your accident. Sounds like you were lucky to survive. Seems like the bike had a rough go as well.

As to the hubs. The AC is a lightweight hub with design compromises to that end. One compromise is a single rubber seal. While this is fine for conditions while riding, it is not enough to keep water out at interstate highway speeds.

So it seems the wheels were on the roof of the car, in the rain, at the time of the accident (if I understand this correctly). The bike then sat for a period of time (weeks at least) while you were in the hospital recovering. During this time I it would be reasonable to surmise there was water trapped in the bearings/hub. Some corrosion may have ensued, you rode the hub (which now had very little grease left) and it failed. I'm not really convinced this is the fault of the hub or a fault of the design. One could argue all the bearings should be pulled and repacked before riding again. The hubs, the headset at a minimum. I would also worry a bit about the shifters and the cables.

To be truthful, I'm not convinced any hub would have faired much better having been totally soaked on top of a car and then put away wet to sit for several weeks. Take a chain for example. I have ridden a beater bike in the rain, put it away wet, come back to it a month later and the chain is rusted nearly solid. I have ridden a road bike in the rain, put it away wet, hop on the next day and all is fine. It is the letting it sit part that does the big damage.

Again, I understand many of these circumstances were out of your control. That does not make it the fault of the hub however.

Best wishes for your speedy recovery...
looks like I wasn't too clear on the timeline. the accident happened over two years ago. the bike ride to the Tour de Toona happened a few months before the accident. the hubs were fine after the trip to and from Altoona. after the accident, the bike sat in storage. I finally got round to examining the wheels in the middle of last year. the hubs were fine then, like I said. I trued them and started riding them.

if it was the drive to PA that killed them, I would think that they would have died shortly after I returned. if it was the year in storage, they should have been dead on examination, but they lasted over 6 months. I guess I should have checked them a bit more in between.

the wheels were $400 shipped from Mike Garcia. the bike store gave the insurance company a bill for the retail cost of every part on the bike. the property damage adjuster took the claim at face value without negotiation. which was a good thing, because the personal injury adjuster was being a real pain. I've already told most of the story in bits and pieces to the RBR crowd a while ago, and I don't really care to rehash it every time. however, I am as fully recovered as I'm going to get, and I have a nice Seven and some money in the bank. it's good enough for me.
 

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weiwentg said:
this is just a report for everyone's info. my rear American Classic 2003 hub has failed. It had approximately 2-3000 miles on it. I did drive it down from MI to PA in some rain, and I did ride it a couple times in nasty weather, but it was otherwise a good weather hub. I was riding the other day (in good weather), and the hub just tightened up - I thought my brakes were locked up at first. I was fortunate to be able to limp 4 miles back home - the bearings in my rear hub are absolutely shot.
Are you sure it was the bearings?

I just took my AM hubs (2004/5) apart last night due to a very similar issue. The bearings (all 4 sets) were fine, but moisture had gotten into the freehub pawl mechanism. I sprayed it out with some WD-40 and repacked it with fresh grease - works like new (which wasnt great to begin with)

I think there is a major flaw with the seal for the freehub. There is no way that seal can keep any moisture more dense than fog.

Now I've gotta get some cheapo training wheels and relegate these to FRO.
 

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is this a different problem than the recall on Am Classic hub

i know there was a recall on the am classic rear hub a while back--think the same hub was used by ritchey. i have a set of protocols and just sent the rear in for the recall and got a new rear hub and tire from them--might be worth double checking to see if this was a recall hub (i think 2003 was the year)

jim
 

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Serious?

Dude, I hope not.....repacking bearing after taking it off your bike rack. Man is that a joke of a bad design if ever. Man, I've had mtb hubs that have been thru hell water and mud, even submersed in a pond and never had to repack the bearings. Just a decent cleaning. Now I know I should have and they probably were not at their peak performance, but the hub never failed. A hub failing on a roadbike is pretty hard to digest, but lots of the same hub failing for many people.....can't understand why people buy these, unless they are getting a killer deal because the hub sooner than later is going to fail.

KMan


tsteahr said:
When you drove it down from MI to PA was the bike outside the vehicle? On the roof perhaps? If it was outside, did you repack the bearings after they had all the grease washed out by 70mph driven water?

Just looking to know the circumstances. Thx.
 

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jimcav said:
i know there was a recall on the am classic rear hub a while back--think the same hub was used by ritchey. i have a set of protocols and just sent the rear in for the recall and got a new rear hub and tire from them--might be worth double checking to see if this was a recall hub (i think 2003 was the year)

jim
Mine was a recall hub, but they supposedly repaired it at the dealership before I received it.

You think if I send in the tire that I am running on my trainer they will give me a new one too? :D
 

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OK...up front I work with the people at American Classic as a rider for the prototype wheelsets....

The point of their designs is that the bearings can be easily replaced with common components that you can get almost anywhere. The average owner with some technical skill can replace a set of bearings in a short time and effectively have a new set of wheels out of it. The nice part about the sealed bearing is that you pull the whole bearing unit out and replace, unlike loose ball systems where the race is effectively ruined by that point requiring a new hub. Bearings are relatively inexpensive. Give AC a call at 813.885.9040 and they can get you a new set.

As for the cam plate recall...short and sweet, it was not made to Bill Shook's tolerances and hence it was recalled. Because it did not meet tolerances, in some cases the hub would fail to engage. This is about a 20 minute fix and they will be happy to send the part to you, or your bike shop to have them fix it. I consider this "standing by your product and making it right" and respect the way it handled. My point is this....if you have an AC product and have a problem give them a call....

The Flash.....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
jimcav said:
i know there was a recall on the am classic rear hub a while back--think the same hub was used by ritchey. i have a set of protocols and just sent the rear in for the recall and got a new rear hub and tire from them--might be worth double checking to see if this was a recall hub (i think 2003 was the year)

jim
mine is a completely different problem.
 

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The Flash said:
My point is this....if you have an AC product and have a problem give them a call....

The Flash.....
I did.

Good guys to talk to. They offered to look at it, but I described what I had done to resolve the problem, and they suggested that the seal may have been installed in the improper order - leading to it not keeping the grit out.

It still works fine, and I don't really see them being able to do much more for it than I did by repacking the hub, so we decided that I would wait to see if / when it really fails before sending it in.

They are still being relegated to race-only wheels when my DA / OP wheels show up.
 
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