American Classic Sprint 350 wheelset First Ride - Road Cycling UK

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American Classic Sprint 350 wheelset First Ride

American Classic Sprint 350 wheelset £439.99

A couple of weeks and several hundred miles into their test period, time to offer an initial impression of American Classic’s Sprint 350 wheels. There is, however, not a lot to say. They are still round and none of the labels has fallen off.

Seriously, they have performed near-flawlessly. Prior to fitment I spent some time toying around with the rear hub to get bearing play just so. AC’s Bill Shook says there should be a hint of play when the wheel is clamped in the frame as this ensures the bearings don’t wear out before their time. They are cartridge bearings, not cup and cone, but there’s enough clearance in them to allow a fair degree of play.

This can be dialled out by tightening the 19mm nut on the spindle. It is narrow and has a 19mm locknut, so ownership of at least one narrow open 19mm spanner is useful. Tightening the nut squeezes the bearing inner races together against an internal sleeve. This has another Shook patented feature in the shape of a helical slot going one turn of the sleeve. This allows the sleeve to be compressed to a smaller length while providing the required location for the races. Sounds complex, but it does mean that tweaking the bearing play has an effect.

Doing the same at the front is simply a matter of whacking the threaded inserts right up hard. This needed doing because the degree of play was frankly annoying. Not any more. The result of all this work has been almost incredibly free running since low bearing resistance combines with the no pawl drag freewheel.

The other concern so far lay with the rear wheel, which pinged for about 50 yards before quieting down. This is a sign that the spokes have not been de-stressed after the final true, but since the wheel stayed almost perfectly true is perhaps not worth worrying about. For sure, AC uses a spoke-locking treatment after build, so going significantly out of true should not be a problem. That said, it is not recommended to try to turn a nipple without a special spoke-holding tool, so any out-of-true will mean returning the wheel to the dealer for a tune.

Distributors Eurobike say this will be done with customer wheels after a running in period as a matter of course. No need with our wheels just yet; they run nice and true to within 0.5mm. The light rims ensure rapid ‘spin-up’ while the AC freewheel design, large flange rear hub and tangent spoking make for immediate acceleration from the line. Great urban commute wheels, then, especially if your bike’s colours match red, black and white. Mine do.

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