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Interbike 2012: American Classic expands into 27.5in/650b wheels

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American Classic is ading three new 650b/27.5" mountain bike wheels for 2013, including the popular All-Mountain Tubeless Disc with 28mm-wide aluminum rims. Claimed weight is 1,673g for the pair.

American Classic is ading three new 650b/27.5" mountain bike wheels for 2013, including the popular All-Mountain Tubeless Disc with 28mm-wide aluminum rims. Claimed weight is 1,673g for the pair. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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American Classic has killed off its 38mm-deep carbon tubulars but added a new carbon-and-aluminum clincher with a similar profile for 2013.

American Classic has killed off its 38mm-deep carbon tubulars but added a new carbon-and-aluminum clincher with a similar profile for 2013. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Cofidis team has been using American Classic's new aluminum road tubulars all season.

The Cofidis team has been using American Classic's new aluminum road tubulars all season. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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As with the company's other tubeless-compatible models, the American Classic TCX relies on tape to keep the rim airtight.

As with the company's other tubeless-compatible models, the American Classic TCX relies on tape to keep the rim airtight. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The American Classic TCX wheels are built around the company's less expensive Terrain hubs to keep the price down.

The American Classic TCX wheels are built around the company's less expensive Terrain hubs to keep the price down. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The American Classic TCX wheels are aimed at trekking and gravel road use with tubeless compatibility and big, 26m-wide aluminum rims.

The American Classic TCX wheels are aimed at trekking and gravel road use with tubeless compatibility and big, 26m-wide aluminum rims. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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American Classic offers these reinforcing rings for mountain bike riders that insist on using disc brake rotors with mounting arms that aren't linked together.

American Classic offers these reinforcing rings for mountain bike riders that insist on using disc brake rotors with mounting arms that aren't linked together. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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American Classic will offer its first-ever Lefty-compatible hub for 2013.

American Classic will offer its first-ever Lefty-compatible hub for 2013. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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New for 2013 from American Classic are two new freehub bodies - one for Shimano's new 11-speed drivetrains and another for SRAM's XX1 group, both of which can be retrofitted to older hubs.

New for 2013 from American Classic are two new freehub bodies - one for Shimano's new 11-speed drivetrains and another for SRAM's XX1 group, both of which can be retrofitted to older hubs. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new American Classic Argent road wheelset is tubeless-compatible with a 30mm-deep aluminum rim that reportedly weighs just 390g.

The new American Classic Argent road wheelset is tubeless-compatible with a 30mm-deep aluminum rim that reportedly weighs just 390g. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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American Classic has updated its hub graphics for 2013. Gone is the old red and white lettering in favor of a more austere black and silver layout.

American Classic has updated its hub graphics for 2013. Gone is the old red and white lettering in favor of a more austere black and silver layout. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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New from 2013 from American Classic is tubeless-compatible road wheelset called Argent.

New from 2013 from American Classic is tubeless-compatible road wheelset called Argent. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Terrain will be American Classic's least expensive 650b/27.5" mountain bike wheel offering for 2013 with a retail price of US$470.

The Terrain will be American Classic's least expensive 650b/27.5" mountain bike wheel offering for 2013 with a retail price of US$470. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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American Classic relies on tape for its tubeless-compatible wheels but the extrusion profile isn't borrowed from Stan's NoTubes.

American Classic relies on tape for its tubeless-compatible wheels but the extrusion profile isn't borrowed from Stan's NoTubes. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new American Classic MTB Race 650b supposedly weighs just 1,435g for the pair but still features a generously proportioned 28mm-wide tubeless rim.

The new American Classic MTB Race 650b supposedly weighs just 1,435g for the pair but still features a generously proportioned 28mm-wide tubeless rim. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The 23mm-wide rim on American Classic's new Carbon 44 Tubular offers plenty of surface area for gluing tires.

The 23mm-wide rim on American Classic's new Carbon 44 Tubular offers plenty of surface area for gluing tires. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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New for 2013 from American Classic is the Carbon 44 Tubular wheelset with 23mm-wide, 44mm-deep all-carbon tubular rims. Claimed weight is 1,373g for the pair.

New for 2013 from American Classic is the Carbon 44 Tubular wheelset with 23mm-wide, 44mm-deep all-carbon tubular rims. Claimed weight is 1,373g for the pair. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new American Classic Carbon 38 Clincher uses a carbon cap bonded to an alloy brake track and tire bed. External width is 22mm.

The new American Classic Carbon 38 Clincher uses a carbon cap bonded to an alloy brake track and tire bed. External width is 22mm. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The box-section aluminum rim on American's Classic's new tubular wheels measures a relatively generous 23.5mm wide.

The box-section aluminum rim on American's Classic's new tubular wheels measures a relatively generous 23.5mm wide. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article originally published on BikeRadar

American Classic is among the latest companies to support the burgeoning 27.5"/650b movement with three options for 2013. The road range is significantly updated as well with new carbon and alloy tubulars, tubeless wheels for those that don't feel like playing with glue, and even disc-compatible models for early adopters.

Three 650b options, no waiting

American Classic will add 27.5"/650b variants to its three most popular mountain bike wheelsets: the All Mountain, the Race, and the Terrain.

Like the current 29" and 26" All Mountain wheels, the new 27.5"/650b version features a generous 28mm-wide (external; 24mm internal) tubeless-compatible aluminum rim with a very shallow bead hook that company principal Bill Shook says lends greater casing support and allows more air volume for a given tire size. According to Shook, this means riders can safely run bigger tires at lower pressures with reduced chance of burping or rolling. Conversely, riders can use smaller tires to save weight while maintaining a similar footprint as a bigger tire on a more conventionally sized rim.

American Classic builds the US$850 All Mountain with its Disc 130 and Disc 225 six-bolt hubs with convertible axles, butted 14/15g stainless steel spokes, and the company's own cleverly designed aluminum alloy nipples that use longer threads on the rim side to reduce breakage. Claimed weight is 1,673g for the set.

The US$999 MTB Race 650b wheels are built around the same hubs but thinner 14/16g spokes to save weight. Likewise, the tubeless-compatible aluminum rims feature the same internal and external width as the All Mountain hoops but are slightly shallower and use a thinner extrusion. Claimed weight for the set is 238g lighter at just 1,435g.

More budget-minded riders can instead turn to the MTB Terrain 650, which subs in heavier hubs, brass nipples, and a narrower (26/22mm external/internal width) but heavier tubeless rim. Suggested retail price drops to US$470 but claimed weight climbs to 1,845g for the pair.

New tubular, tubeless, and disc road wheels

We've been watching the Cofidis team ride American Classic prototype aluminum box-section tubulars all season and consumers will now be able to purchase their own set for US$899. The new wheels use an unusually wide – for box-section aluminum, that is – 23.5mm rim to provide better support for the bigger road and 'cross tires American Classic expects people will use here.

Adding in American Classic's own 105 and RD 205 hubs, butted spokes, and alloy nipples keeps claimed weight down to 1,526g for the set. American Classic will also offer a disc-compatible set for US$950 that adds just 45g.

New black and silver hub graphics for next year

American Classic abandons last year's 38mm-deep all-carbon tubulars in favor of a new 44mm-deep all-carbon set that's not only taller but 4mm wider, measuring 23mm across at the tire bed. Impressively, the 1,373g claimed weight is only 3g heavier than the old 38s while offering more speed, too. American Classic will keep a 38mm-deep road wheel in its range for 2013, however, but it'll only be offered in a conventional aluminum-and-carbon clincher for US$1,429.

Tubeless road fans, on the other hand, get the new US$1,449 Argent road tubeless wheels, which are admirably light at 1,372g for the pair (claimed) but reasonably sized with 22mm/19.4mm-wide (external/internal) rims and a 30mm depth.

Cyclo-cross riders that don't want to bother with glue but still want a fatter rim can instead look at American Classic's new TCX Tubeless, which uses the company's abbreviated bead hook in a 26/22mm-wide (external/internal) aluminum rim, 14/15g butted stainless steel spokes, and your choice of rim or disc brake-compatible hubs. Claimed weight is 1,838-1,895g for the set depending on brake fitment and retail price is US$470 for either version.

Other bits

American Classic has updated and added to its component range, too. New for 2013 are freehub bodies for use with Shimano 11-speed or SRAM XX1 drivetrains, a new 9mm thru-bolt mountain bike disc front hub, American Classic's first Lefty-compatible front hub, and 25/21mm-wide (external/internal) tubeless-compatible mountain bike rim in 26", 27.5"/650b, and 29" sizes for DIYers. Claimed weights for the rims are just 329-381g depending on diameter.