American Classic Carbonator wheelset review£1,000.00

Light, wide and versatile wheels

BikeRadar score3.5/5

American Classic designer Bill Shook has always pushed light weights, tubeless-readiness and wide-rim profiles and that all comes together in this versatile, smooth riding, light wheelset.

The rounded carbon rim uses straight-sided ‘bead barb’ sidewalls to accentuate the already very wide 26mm internal span. That means it fattens up 2.3-2.5in treads for a noticeably more secure, planted (if slightly slower rolling) feel.

The wheels come ready taped and valved so it’s simply slop in some sealant and slip them on. We’ve taken the pressure down sub 20psi in really wet conditions on reinforced tyres without burping and cleaning them after a long stretch of regular rocky abuse didn’t reveal any damage.

The large old-school hub flanges keep the 32 spokes short for reasonable precision. The rims themselves though have a damped and trail calming ‘warmth’ rather than clinical brightness.

Weight is low for their width and spoke count but the dampened feel and slow hub engagement means they don’t feel as urgent as some heavier wheels. Extended, audible spoke settling means it’s worth checking tensions after a few rides.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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