American Classic relaunches with gravel and road tyre collection priced at just £30/$35

American Classic closed down in 2018 but is back with eight new tyres


American Classic has relaunched with a collection of eight new tyres for gravel and road, covering a range of different terrains and riding styles.


American Classic was originally founded by Bill Shook in 1982 and manufactured wheels, hubs and seatposts. The brand closed down in 2018 and sold its intellectual property rights after difficulties with sales started in 2016.

This re-entry into the cycling market marks a change in direction, shifting focus from wheels to tyres. On the relaunch, Bill Shook says: “When I founded American Classic in 1982, I sought to engineer the lightest components for road racers. It was important to me that American Classic’s new owners shared that sense of innovation. I look forward to seeing the American Classic name on tyres everywhere.”

The range is currently only available in the USA via a direct-to-consumer model on its Amazon store and website, which the brand says helps to keep prices competitive, with all tyres costing £30/$35.

On top of the low price, American Classic is also offering a Road Hazard Replacement policy for its tyres. Riders will be offered 50 per cent off the retail price of a new American Classic tyre if a puncture or rip occurs on a tyre while riding.

American Classic gravel tyres

Aiming to gain a foothold in the booming gravel bike market, the new collection includes five gravel tyres, and American Classic claims the range is the most versatile on the market.

American Classic differentiates its gravel tyres according to ‘grip intensity’. It defines this as the percentage breakdown of cornering tread versus tread for rolling in a straight line. The tyres are also split by intended use, from pavement to singletrack.

The collection is as follows:

  • Kimberlite – for road to mixed surface riding with 55 per cent cornering grip and 50 per cent rolling grip
  • Aggregate – for mixed surface to hard-packed dirt with 60 per cent cornering grip and 55 per cent rolling grip
  • Udden – for hard-packed dirt to loose gravel with 70 per cent cornering grip and 60 per cent rolling grip
  • Wentworth – for predominantly loose gravel but some singletrack with 75 per cent cornering grip and 70 per cent rolling grip
  • Krumbein – for loose gravel and singletrack with 85 per cent cornering grip and 80 per cent rolling grip

All the gravel tyres come in 40mm and 50mm width options for 700c and 47mm for 650b wheels. All tyres feature a 120 TPI casing, are tubeless-ready and come in either black or tan sidewall options.

The gravel tyres are handmade at American Classics’s own facilities.

American Classic road tyres

The American Classic road tyre collection includes three models spanning road racing to commuting. American Classic says they will all be available with black, tan or ‘classic brown’ sidewalls.

The fastest rolling tyre in its road collection is the Timekeeper (though it has not provided rolling resistance data for any of its tyres), which is available in 25mm or 28mm widths.

The Timekeeper has a minimal tyre tread that resembles the Continental Grand Prix 5000 tread pattern. The brand claims the Timekeeper’s 120 TPI construction and puncture protection lead to a supple tyre that will still fend off punctures.

The Torchbearer road tyre is available in 25mm, 28mm and 32mm widths. It offers more cornering grip and puncture protection than the Timekeeper.

American Classic says the Torchbearer constitutes a “modern road standard”, presumably following the trend for bikes with greater tyre clearance and many riders not shying away from some light gravel dalliances, even on their road machines.

The Timekeeper and Torchbearer road tyres are available in different designs that can be run with inner tubes or set up tubeless.

The final tyre in American Classic’s range is the Lamplighter, which is aimed at commuting and is suitable for electric bikes.


The Lamplighter has the greatest puncture protection out of all American Classic’s tyres. Like the gravel tyres, it is available in 40mm and 50mm widths for 700c wheels and a 47mm option for 650b wheels. This tyre is only available to be run with inner tubes, though.