What's Cool In Road Cycling

Wheels: American Classic 350 w/ Sapim’s

American Classic 350 Sapim’s! After all the carbon tubulars we’ve rolled through, we thought it’d be nice to show a set of wheels for good ol’ clincher tires that won’t empty your wallet and still have better features than lots of “hype”-0-wheels.

Question: So, what weighs under 1400grams (1324 g!), costs under 700 bucks (under $600 without the sweet Sapim spokes) and is ok for riders up to 200 pounds?

Answer: These…

The American Classics 350’s (www.amclassic.com) are not a new product name, but they have tweaked the product a bit from the last model year. They still weigh in at a feathery 350 grams for the rim, but Master Bill decided to fiddle with the rim pattern. What he got was the same weight, but in a stronger structure that is now a UCI race legal 24 mm deep (19 mm across the bead). Guess that spits in the face of the “you gotta make it lighter to make it better” crowd, but here’s to those of us who would rather spit in those faces than slide across pavement at 35 mph on our own face… you can see the double bend ridge here…

Something else you notice is that, as with Am Clssics other wheels, these are the simple spoke and nipple design. Go ahead and yawn if you must, but when spokes break (and some do) or when you need to true your wheels (and all do…) it’s a blessing not to have to strip off tires, tubes and strips just to do the job…

These wheels also feature the latest hot spokes from Sapim, the “CX Rays”. They’re strong, like heavier spokes, semi-bladed (not for aero as much as strength I imagine…) and weigh jack (they are 14-17 gauge). You can see the profile here… Along with the always slick AmClassic hubs (compatible with Shimano or Campy).

Another change from our last tested American Classics 420’s is that they are now featuring a very nice machined breaking surface.

This set is a 28-32 spoke and is all black. The new logos look nice and conservative (in a mean kinda way), although when you are rolling around on a new World Champions edition C-50 and with blue Rubbers, everything gets attention.

Does the look really matter?
Nah… I guess the spoke count does, as it relates to the strength of the set up, but what really matters is the rim weight and strength and the spoke strength(and tension), as this determines how fast the wheels spin up and how stiff the set stays. The Sapim’s and the new rim profile must do the do, because this set is more stiff than my training set of Mavic Open Pro’s spoked 32-32 and they weigh another 220 grams… Some of that may just be due to the spoke tension being higher on the American Classics, but it’s a plus that the added strength in the Sapim spokes allow for. For larger power Mashers, I would go with American Classics 420’s, but for all but the biggest baddest, these are plenty plenty good. When you order, they can also build to your specifics for spoke count etc…

These things are great in the acceleration department. It’s nice that there’s a set of light (180 gram) tires pumped to 120 or so, but with a rim weight to rival (or beat) some Carbon stuff out there, these things feel as quick as they should for a wheel that weighs almost 200 grams less than a set of the new Ksyrium SSC SL’s (1500 grams according to Mavic’s site) despite the American Classics having 22 more spokes and costing a couple hundred bucks less MSRP! As I have run out of thumbs to put up after reviewing other sets from AmClassic, and because the Pez won’t let me stick anything else “up” in celebration, I will just say these are a super wheel-set that should cost 200 bucks + more…

If you’re interested (as I am sure several folks are after receiving a bunch of email’s when we showed the wheel in the Elite Trainer review), take a peak at www.amclassic.com

MSRP is about $689.00 for the set, including Ti skewers & Sapim CX Ray spokes.

Where To Get ‘Em
You can also buy ‘em online at www.wisecyclebuys.com– you might just find a Christmas special on these babies!

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