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 BikeRadar an 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.

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).

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.

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.

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.


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