American Classic Wide Lightning 29in

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To paraphrase Sir Mix-a-Lot: I like big rims and I cannot lie, you other riders can’t deny, that when a bike rides by with itty-bitty tubes, and a big rim in your face, you get…

OK, I may have veered off course, but the point is bigger rims look good, feel good, and make sense. We’re not riding road bikes, so let’s step away from the skinny, floppy wheels of yore and get with some wider wheels that stay true when you bash them off things.

The American Classic Wide Lightnings were a pair of wheels I’d been aching to try since I’d first heard about them. Big wheels, big rims, and relatively low weights. Nine, ten and 11-speed compatible; bolt-through front and rear. My previous experiences with American Classics offerings had always been positive, and the Wide Lightnings turned out to be the same.

Getting on the bike, the first thing I noticed was the rear hub engagement: it’s not instant, but it’s not super sloppy. It’s not as quick as a trials hub for example, but it’s never hindered my ability to get in a quick pedal stroke to clear things.

Internally the rims measure up 29.3mm, and externally they’re 32mm wide. The wider profile of the rim mated with a 2.4 or 2.3in summer tyre makes for a massive engagement patch that gives amazing grip at low pressures. With winter tyres the grip is astounding. Seating tubeless or non-tubeless tyres was easy, and accomplished with nothing more than a track pump: great for last-minute habitual tyre fettlers.

I rode these wheels for nearly all my riding over the past six months – trails, cross-country races and the WEMBO 24-hour Solo Worlds in Scotland. I’ve smashed the rims when I’ve burped tyres in the Lakes, wrenched them sideways in technical rock gardens and left them coated in the finest Peak District grit and grime in an attempt to damage them. Nothing – they haven’t even blinked.

I love these wheels in every way. I love how they look. I love how they ride. I even love the subtle clicking of the freewheel. I’ll be sad to see them go.


Review Info

Brand:American Classic
Product:Wide Lightning 29in
From:Moore Large,
Tested:by Greg May. for

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