American Classic have introduced their first carbon clincher as part of a 2014 line-up which also includes more tubeless and disc-specific hoops.
The US firm’s carbon fibre line-up has – until now – only included tubular wheels, or clinchers with an aluminium braking track and carbon fairing.
But the all-new Carbon 40 Clincher changes that and we stopped by the dealer show of American Classic’s new UK distributor, Moore Large, to take a closer look.
The wheelset is based around a carbon fibre rim which is 400m and 22mm wide. Rims are becoming increasingly wider – thanks to claimed improvements in aerodynamics and handling, and an increased tyre profile and contact patch – and the Carbon 40 Clincher follows that trend. American Classic say that by using a wider rim, the rider is able to effectively increase the air volume of a narrower tyre, but without the penalty of switching to a wider rubber.
American Classic have used a basalt braking surface which they say helps dissipate heat and, therefore, reduces the chance of rim failure. They also recommend using a carbon-specific brake pad like SwissStop Yellow King.
The wheels use American Classic’s own hubs, with 18 spokes laced radially at the front, and 24 laced in a three-cross pattern on the driveside and radially on the non-driveside at the rear. Claimed weight is 1,580g and they’re yours for £1,349.99.
Tubeless and disc range expanded
Meanwhile, American Classic have expanded their range of tubeless-ready road wheelsets from two to six, with the Hurricane and Victory 30 updated to provide two mid-range tubeless options along the existing, upscale Road Tubeless and Argent Road Tubeless hoops. The Hurricane and Argent are also available in disc-specific versions.
The tubeless trend continues to gather, erm, traction, with a number of wheel manufacturers, including Easton, increasing their tubeless compatibility, alongside new tubeless tyres from the likes of Schwalbe and Hutchinson. To recap, the key claimed benefits of going tubeless are a reduced likelihood of punctures (tubeless tyres use a sealant to seal small cuts in the tyre) and improved grip owing to the ability to run the tyres at a lower pressure.
The mid-range, semi-aero Victory 30 Tubeless gets a completely new rim which increases in width by 3mm to 22mm. Claimed weight is 1,547g (£399.99).
The Hurricane, meanwhile, was one of the first wide road rims on the market and is American Classic’s heavy-duty wheelset for large and powerful riders. The 2014 version retains the 22mm rim width of its predecessor, but uses a new, thicker extrusion to add tubeless compatibility. Claimed weight is a touch heavier than the Victory 30 at 1,580g (£499.99).
What’s more, the Hurricane is also now available as a tubeless and disc-ready wheelset. The Hurricane Tubeless Disc (£529.99) comes in at 1,646g, while the Argent Tubeless Disc (£899.99) is American Classic’s high-end disc-ready road wheelset, with a claimed weight of 1,531g.
If you’re not ready to make the switch to disc brakes just yet, the Argent is also available in a tubeless, rim brake version (1,372g, £899.99), while the Road Tubeless is American Classic’s super-light tube-free option, with a claimed weight of 1,232g and retail price of £859.99 to ensure their 2014 wheel line-up covers all bases, from full-carbon, to tubeless, to disc-ready.