American Classic is one of the bigger names in tubeless wheels, and the company takes a different approach than another tubeless giant in NoTubes to avoid burps and convert between different axle configurations.
With a rim bead barb that locks a tubeless tire's bead in place and does a good job preventing burps, and separate threaded axles instead of pop-in caps to swap between QR and thru axle, American Classic's wheels have become some of our favorites for reliable tubeless cyclocross and gravel racing, with both tubeless tires and converted conventional tires.
We've been reviewing a set of the company's top-end aluminum mountain bike wheels, the MTB Race 29er tubeless wheels, but despite the mountain bike label, we've found the lightweight wheelset to be one of the most compelling offerings from the company for cyclocross and gravel.
The $899 wheelset features a 350g alloy rim that's wide at 24mm internal, adding nice volume to both cyclocross and gravel tires. Yet without touching carbon or proprietary spokes or nipples, the wheels weigh just 1440 grams on our scales (780g rear, 660g front), with tubeless tape. That's 9 grams lower than the list weight, a nice surprise. An added bonus is that they're capable of handling higher pressures, should you want to roll around on 60psi with your 40c gravel tires and chase some roadies.
At 1440g, the American Classic MTB Race wheelset is well into carbon weight territory for wide, tubeless clincher wheels. In fact, the wheelset is over 200g lighter than the company's own Carbonator 29er carbon wheelset that's just 2mm wider and a whopping $500 more.
For anyone looking for a lighter, faster (due to the low pressure of tubeless) wheelset, these are definitely worth a look if $899 is within the budget. Compared to many OEM wheels, the MTB Race wheels will save 600g or more, or about a pound a half, and that's still secondary to the speed and control benefits of riding a higher volume, lower pressure tire.
We've had great initial luck with both some cyclocross and gravel tires at low pressure, and they've stayed true and smooth, but stay tuned for our full test results after we test more tires and punish them with cyclocross conditions. See our full photo gallery below the specs.
American Classic MTB Race Wheel Specs:
Weight: 1489g list, 1440g actual with tape (780g rear, 660g front)
Axles: Front: QR, 9mm thru or 15mm thru; Rear: QR, 142/12mm thru rear, 135/10mm thru
Spokes: American Classic 14/16 guage 32 3x
Nipples: American Classic alloy
Freehub: Shimano/SRAM 11-speed or XD
Included: Tubeless tape (pre-taped) and alloy American Classic tubeless valves
More info: amclassic.com