I have been of testing out the American Classic 420 Aero Track wheels for the past few months. I have ridden them everywhere and on everything from the velodrome to the potholed streets of London. They have the usual American Classic styling and to be honest they look pretty damn nice! The first thing I noticed when unboxing these wheels was their weight which comes in at a measly 1455 grams.
The 18 radial front and 24 two cross spoke count helps keep the weight down without sacrificing stiffness. One thing I have often found with low spoke count wheels is that they tend to have a bit of flex, this is more apparent on climbs, sprinting or when leaning hard into corners. This is definitely not the case with these wheels, they are unbelievably stiff and remained solid however much abuse and stress I put them through. The bladed spokes do not only look cool they also increase the stiffness of the wheel, this couple with the high flange hub creates a strong feeling ride.
A stand out feature of the Aero 420’s are the hubs; clearly a lot of thought has gone into them. The 17mm oversized axles and bearings housed in the patented bearing sleeves are features that greatly add to the stiffness, the 8mm female bolts will keep the wheel firmly in place under even the most extreme pressure.
A small but nice thing about the 420’s is the threading on the hub, the lock ring is the standard size so you can fit that pretty Dura Ace NJS lockring. I have a tendency to over tighten things and have stripped threads before so I get a bit paranoid tightening up sprockets, the threading on the rear hub is cleanly machined and robust; I can tighten until my hands hurt without the fear of ruining the threads.
I ride my track bike everywhere, and whilst tubs are awesome for the velodrome they are rubbish for commuting or training rides. I like the security of being able to change a flat quickly and believe clinchers are definitely better when getting a lot of miles in on the road. I know a lot of people that use the Mavic Ellipse track wheels, they are a great set of wheels that are similar to the 420’s. The Ellipse’s have a 20×20 spoke count and a similar depth rim though the American Classics manage to weigh in at nearly 500g less and feel slightly stronger and are worth the extra pennies.
The rims have a machined brake surface to if you do want to break sacred Rule #2 of Pistaminati and fit a brake then you can do so. Riding on these wheels is like riding on clouds…though these are not white fluffy colds. They are big black (fluffy) storm clouds that are ready to burst at any given moment. Happy plodding along but ready for that snap of power that will enable them to fully spring into action. Responsive, light and strong these wheels are one of the best clinchers I’ve ridden, make sure you check out American Classics when looking for a wheel set that will stand the test of time.