Bill Shook, a road and track racer who raced on the US National Team, started American Classic in 1982. The first products included a lightweight bottle cage and an adjustable seatpost and, with time, that rolled into aluminium wheels. Despite being some of the most well-regarded aluminium wheels on the market, early 2018 saw a wind-down of the company after 36 years. Today the company is back and it's launching a complete line of road and gravel tyres.
Although Bill no longer heads the company, there are some similarities to the company he founded. The eight tyre deep lineup will continue to be available for purchase in a direct-to-consumer model. Options for purchase will include the brand’s Amazon marketplace store as well as directly from AmClassic.com. Initial rollout sees availability limited to the US market only.
Along with the continuation of a direct-to-consumer sales model, there is also a continuation of the quality American Classic represents. The tyres are 100 per cent handmade and include a robust two-part customer assurance program. The road hazard replacement program "offers customers the promise that if you puncture or tear an American Classic tyre while riding, and it no longer holds air, you can contact them for a claim form for a one-time 50 per cent off the MSRP of the same or comparable product." The second part of the guarantee is a "two-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship." The warranty only applies to the original owner but "any defective tires will be replaced at no charge."
Those generous guarantees might be the mark of a premium tyre company but the pricing is far from premium. The combination of the direct-to-consumer sales model and efficient in-house production keeps prices low. There is nothing priced higher than $35 across the entire product line and that includes gravel and tubeless options.
Making up the bulk of the offerings rolling out today are a range of gravel tyres with options to cover whatever gravel cycling means to you. Usage starts with pavement to hard pack surface with the Kimberlite. The Kimberlite tread design offers a smooth centre tread for efficient rolling, progressive transitional zones for maximum lateral traction, and robust side knobs for cornering performance
For mixed surface and hard-pack dirt, the Aggregrate uses the same small lug across the entire tread profile. The Aggregate is created for minimal road vibration and consistent traction. Evenly-spaced, hexagonal knobs provide predictable handling across the pavement, hardpack, dirt, and gravel terrain.
Continuing the trend of more grip is the Uddon with a progressive lug pattern that starts with a central chevron for straight-line speed with widely spaced side knobs. The Udden features a fast-rolling, mud-clearing tread design for riding through the worst conditions without sacrificing pedalling efficiency on hardpack. Central chevrons provide straight-line speed, while the widely spaced side knobs allow you to carve through ruts and muddy corners and power over the top of slippery transitions. Air them up for the pavement and lower the pressure for improved traction off-road
The Wentworth caters to those who like to mix things up (road and gravel) with tightly-spaced, low-profile centre knobs but adds aggressive cornering tread for hardpack, dirt, and gravel.
The final, and most aggressive option, is the Krumbein which has been designed for rough gravel roads and single-track riding. The aggressive side lugs provide cornering grip across loose and muddy transitions, while the chamfered centre tread minimises rolling resistance without sacrificing off-road traction.
If road riding is more your thing, then there are three options available. The Timekeeper is the fastest rolling tyre in the American Classic road collection. It's a slick, 120-tpi tyre with racing and hard riding in mind. If you don't mind trading some rolling efficiency and weight for better puncture protection and minimal tread then the Torchbearer is the best choice. The Torchbearer offers versatile performance in a variety of road conditions. A progressive tread design adds grip and handling while the Stage 3s flat protection provides all-weather puncture and tear protection from bead to bead. Finally, for those riding city bike and e-bikes the Lamplighter comes in the sizes you need. Its Rubberforce R compound balances speed and traction, and the Stage 7 puncture protection makes it nearly impervious to flats. The progressive tread pattern provides traction across varied pavement and light trail surfaces. There's a fast-rolling continuous centre section paired with micro-siping at the edges to clear water and improve wet traction and corning.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing remains the same across all available sizes and colours. Tube-type clincher tyres have an MSRP of $30 while tubeless-ready costs $35 with all tyres available to purchase on Amazon.
We have got our hands on some of American Classic's new on- and off-road tyres for testing so expect reviews to be available of Cyclingnews once we have clocked some riding time.
|Name||Available Sizes||Technology Type||Colour|
|Kimberlite||700x40c, 700x50c, 650bx47||Tubeless ready||Black or tan sidewalls|
|Aggregate||700x40c, 700x50c, 650bx47||Tubeless ready||Black or tan sidewalls|
|Udden||700x40c, 700x50c, 650bx47||Tubeless ready||Black or tan sidewalls|
|Wentworth||700x40c, 700x50c, 650bx47||Tubeless ready||Black or tan sidewalls|
|Krumbein||700x40c, 700x50c, 650bx47||Tubeless ready||Black or tan sidewalls|
|Timekeeper||700x25c, 700x28c||Tube type or tubeless ready||Black or tan in tubeless ready or tube type with the additional classic brown available for tube type|
|Torchbearer||700x25c, 700x28c, 700x32c||Tube type or tubeless ready||Black|
|Lamplighter||700x40c, 700x50c, 650bx47||Tube type||Black or classic brown sidewalls|
Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minute details of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer is probably yes.
Weight: 137 lb.
Rides: Look 795 Blade RS, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Priority Continuum Onyx
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