American Classic magnesium road clinchers rise again

Carbon fibre mountain bike wheels also in development

American Classic has introduced the third iteration of its ultralight Magnesium Clincher road wheelset at the Taipei Cycle Show. It also gave BikeRadaran exclusive sneak peek at its new carbon fibre mountain bike rims in development. Aluminium rims still rule the roost at American Classic, but clearly there's plenty of room for alternative materials, too.

One of magnesium's greatest draws as a material is its very low density, and American Classic has put that attribute to good use with the new Magnesium Clincher wheelset. The sub-300g rims yield a staggering light claimed wheelset weight of just 1,148g per pair (without skewers) and yet American Classic has still managed to build them with a healthy 18mm internal width.

Unlike American Classic's previous magnesium road wheel iterations, this latest version is built with machined sidewalls for better braking performance, particularly in wet conditions. Corrosion is still a concern, however, and company principal Bill Shook says that non-abrasive brake blocks such as Kool-Stop's salmon pads or SwissStop Yellow Kings are recommended to avoid damaging the rim's surface coating.

Claimed weight on each american classic magnesium clincher rim is just 280g:

Likewise, the tyre bed uses roughly the same shape as American Classic's tubeless road wheels but since ammonia and other chemicals often found in common sealants will readily react with magnesium, Shook doesn't approve these new wheels for tubeless use. There's also a maximum rider weight limit of 91kg (200lb).

The new american classic magnesium clincher rims boast a tubeless-friendly shape but the company strongly recommends using tubes since many sealants will react with the magnesium materia:

Retail price is US$1,599 and American Classic estimates that the Magnesium Clinchers will be available in stores in about three months.

Carbon mountain bike wheels on the way

BikeRadar also scored an exclusive preview of American Classic's new carbon fibre mountain bike wheels that are currently in development for an official launch sometime around this year's Eurobike show. Final specs are still being worked out but we do know that there will be 27.5in (650b) and 29in versions, each with a 33mm external width and a tubeless-friendly shape.

American classic is currently developing its own carbon fiber mountain bike rims. the company expects to officially launch its carbon mountain bike wheels some time around eurobike:

Internal width is up in the air, however, particularly given that Shook is still toying with the idea of a hookless rim design. As such, internal rim width could be as high as 30mm or so.

American classic principal bill shook is still weighing the possibility of a hookless shape for his new carbon mountain bike rims. internal rim width could be as high as 30mm:

As expected, rim weights are very impressive with the 29er coming in at 460g on our scale and the 27.5in hoop weighing 370g. Neither blows American Classic's aluminium Wide Lightning rims out of the water in terms of weight, mind you, but we do anticipate that the carbon rims will be significantly stiffer – and much more expensive.

Stay tuned for more.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
Back to top