Wheel maker American Classic shuts down

Maker of high-end aluminum wheels closes factory

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News has reported that American Classic, makers of wheels, hubs, and formerly seatposts, has announced it has closed its Taiwan-based factory, is selling its intellectual property, and laid off close to 40 employees.  

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American Classic was founded by Bill Shook, a road and track racer who raced on the US National Team. The company’s first components, a lightweight bottle cage and an adjustable seatpost, were launched in 1982.

American Classic made its name primarily with wheels, particularly lightweight aluminum wheels laced to its own hubs.  

American Classic co-owners Ellen Kast and Bill Shook announced they will be closing the factory and selling its IP assets
American Classic co-owners Ellen Kast and Bill Shook announced they will be closing the factory and selling its IP assets
James Huang / Immediate Media

As recently as 2013, American Classic produced over 27,000 wheelsets in its Taichung, Taiwan factory. And that was with all of the higher-end wheels being completely built by hand. 

Lower-priced wheels were built by a machine, but checked and finished by hand. 

Co-owner Ellen Kast told Bicycle Retailer and Industry News of sales difficulties that started in 2016 and that American Classic attempted to secure some original equipment spec with price-conscious wheels, but it didn’t work out.  

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According to Bicycle Retailer, Shook also noted that he will be doing more design work and will be available for consulting.