To the Point: Bill Shook on Wheels and Wide Rims

Oct 22, 2013 at 12:00
Oct 22, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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American Classic founder and component designer Bill Shook poses
with his tubeless Wide Lightning wheel.
TO THE POINT: Bill Shook Talks About Wheels
BY: Richard Cunningham

Pinkbike has been pushing for wider rims to enhance the performance of both cross-country and all-mountain trailbike wheels for some time. The trend is starting to take off, with a number of key players offering lightweight wheels laced to rims ranging from 30 to 40-millimeters wide. American Classic's Bill Shook has been experimenting for a number of years with incrementally wider rims, using a variety of tire combinations to discover where in the witch's brew of stainless steel, aluminum and rubber lies the optimum mixture of light weight, lower rolling resistance, better cornering, and overall wheel strength. We asked Bill to give Pinkbike a heads up on some of the issues involved in the quest for a better performing mountain bike wheel, and why wider may be better.


Where do you imagine the width of mountain bike rims and tires will end up, once tire makers join up with the concept?

First off and most obvious, the tires need to fit through the frame. I don't think there is one ideal size for all applications. For cross-country racing, the ideal size is a 32-millimeter-wide rim like my Wide Lightning. I chose 32 millimeters after watching our pro riders in the US and Europe over the years. I started these riders with rim widths at 24 millimeters wide, then 26 millimeters, each with reductions in tire casing size and weight, Then I tried 28 millimeters with a subsequent reduction of tire casing size and weight. In watching this progression, I saw that the profile of the tire on the rim (as a unit) was going more and more towards a half-circle shape (hemispherical tire profile). I took it to its conclusion and the sweet spot is at 32 millimeters wide, as it is the maximum lightest casing with the best tire profile. If you go beyond that to, say, 36 millimeters wide, you get negative returns, because the shape of the tire on the rim exceeds the optimum hemispherical shape.


Bill designed his cross-country/trail rim (top) to be wider
than his all-mountain/freeride rim (bottom). Note the
short flanges and the grooves used to seal the beads.
Do you think that there are different design requirements for cross-country and all-mountain wheels?

For all-mountain/freeride use, there is a need for increased air volume over cross-country racing use. Freeriders need more air volume in their tires to survive bigger hits from rocks, jumps and other obstacles at high speeds. The rims must also be thicker to survive these conditions. If the rims get too wide, they will get too heavy, decreasing overall bike performance and making them harder to ride uphill. Freeriders often ride uphill, unlike true DH riding, and observing our athlete's performance, I concluded and designed the American Classic All Mountain wheels to what I believe to be the sweet spot for all-mountain/freeride use. I carefully engineered the All Mountain rims to 28 millimeters wide and made them slightly stouter to survive the big hits. Combined with a reduced tire casing size and weight, the All Mountain wheels are the right balance of strength, width and weight for freeride. At greater widths, such as 36 or 40 millimeters, the rims are just too heavy and there's no real weight saving from using a reduced tire casing size.

What kind of weights are we talking about?

My Wide Lightning 29 tubeless wheels weigh 1569 grams a pair and the Wide Lightning 27.5 tubeless are 1512 grams per pair. Compare those weights with my All Mountain 29 Tubeless at 1725 grams and the AM 27.5 Tubeless at 1673 grams per pair.

You designed your newest AM and Wide Lightning rim profiles with very short, thin flanges. Is there a compromise in strength there?

My sidewall hook height is designed to be that way. A shorter sidewall has reduced leverage and lower bending force, which means it can be thin and strong. A longer sidewall has the increased bending force and leverage, so it must be thicker or it will bend. Do not be deceived by looks on this one!

Explain the importance of the tubeless-specific profile you designed in the rim wells

All of our American Classic mountain and road tubeless rims have a bead barb to lock the tire bead in position once the tire pops into place (seats). Tubeless tires seal on the circumference of the rim, not against the side wall. The bead-seat shape goes all around the rim and it helps seal and hold tubeless ready tires on the rim. The tire well (bottom center of the rim) has a smooth curve and yet it is deep enough to allow easy installation of the tire.

Wide Lightning XC Trail wheels

American Classic's Wide Lightning wheels come prep'ed for tubeless with AC's tape installed. High-flange hubs provide a more optimum angle for the spokes.



Why aluminum as your material of choice for rims?

Aluminum and carbon fiber are good rim choices. I like aluminum for mountain bike applications because aluminum is “ductile,” meaning it will bend without breaking. This is great for MTB because you hit things when you ride and sometimes you hit things very hard that can cause rim damage. Aluminum is forgiving and it is better priced for riders to replace them when they have a mishap. Carbon fiber is a relatively new material for mountain bikes and I have one on the drawing board for the future. Carbon can be very light, but if there is a mishap, it's not forgiving and a carbon rim is expensive to replace. It will be interesting to see if the carbon MTB rim trend will stay or not.

You designed and patented a novel-looking freehub ratchet - can you walk us through the design?

I designed a six-pawl, cam-actuated engagement system. All six oversized pawls engage in unison whenever drive torque is applied. A cam plate powers the pawls into engagement simultaneously. There are cupped engagement pockets in the cam plate for improved contact. The cassette body has 24 ratchet teeth for quick engagement with the pawls. Each pawl is made from super strong tool steel and has double tips for 12 points of engagement to work in conjunction with the 24 ratchet teeth. The secondary ratchet system does the coasting quietly and forces engagement of the large pawls only for drive torque transfer. The one-piece, forged 7075-aluminum cassette body is hard anodized and is protected with my steel-face body design.

American Classic freehub details

Shook's six-pawl freehub ratchet drives the pawls into the specially shaped tooth profiles under power. A steel 'plate' attached to the aluminum freehub splines prevents damage from Shimano-style cassette cogs.



Insiders say that Shimano has yet to embrace one-by-eleven drivetrains, primarily because the torque generated by a 42-tooth cog creates too much stress on a conventional freehub body. Can you comment?

Aluminum cassette bodies are damaged by the individual cassette cogs, and from loose fitting Shimano cassettes. Our Shimano-type cassette bodies are equipped with a steel face on the splines so that the body will not be damaged by the cassette. Steel is harder than aluminum which protects the softer aluminum from being gouged by the cogs. You get the best of both worlds, a light weight aluminum body with the protection of a steel surface.

Can there be such thing as too much spoke tension?

Yes! If you have a really heavy rim, you can crank up that spoke tension if you want. But if you have lighter performance rims, extremely high tension can cause the rim to become unstable. We have specific spoke tension for all our MTB and road wheels because we want our customers to keep them in the sweet spot and have the best performance and durability.

Is there a downhill wheelset in American Classic's future?

We just discontinued our downhill wheels and hubs, and all 26-inch wheels. We weren't getting traction in the DH market.

Do you envision a time when nearly all bicycle tires will be tubeless?

Yes, and soon.

Must Read This Week









95 Comments

  • + 90
 The title should have read "To the Point: Bill Shook on HIS Wheels and HIS Wide Rims "
  • + 8
 I guess PB needed the money so they posted this add. This is why RC should go back to Moutain bike Fiction Mag.
  • + 5
 why should RC have to leave? this article is still somewhat useful and RC contributes good stuff
  • + 5
 imo he has done nothing but useless fluff since he got here. Mike is a little more truthful. Just my two cents.
  • + 3
 yes mike is better but RC is fine imo, maybe a bit hit and miss but you can't deny he doesn't know bikes
  • + 4
 Should read...."you can't deny that he knows bikes." Written the other way makes it sound wrong.
  • + 3
 Should've checked that over before I posted it... typo/being tired.
  • + 14
 they discontinued all 26" wheels.. well fuk you too...
  • + 2
 io have to agree that wider is so much better and you can still be lighter, i very recently got to check out some made in asia rims by a new comapny called " www.nextie-bike.com " they have a carbon rim that is 35mm wide, i have ordered a couple of sets of there rims in differnt sizes , i have been hearing some really good stuff about this company, about quality and amazing pricing and good service.
im going to check it out and i will for sure let PB users know how the stuff turns out for the price
[Reply]
  • + 40
 Just an Infomercial...
[Reply]
  • + 26
 Discontinued all 26" wheels! why? 24" should be the standard, its lighter, and smaller so its more playful. everything else is just marketing garbage. (I hope everyone can feel the sarcasm)
  • + 12
 Don't start this, American Classic is a smaller more boutique company that can't have the range of wheels and must stick to smaller niche parts in order to be profitable. Focusing on the in-trend diameters and widths just makes sense for companies like this.
  • + 8
 i guess i am old as the hills on grannies chest...me and my "26 4 life"
  • + 6
 Glad you mentioned your sarcasm... You had me scared there for a second!
  • + 3
 Not me I love 24" This trend is getting scary though. What happens when I get a frame replacement and it's designed for 27.5?
  • + 3
 I do hear the sarcasm but people with new 650B bikes may not need new 650 wheels. no matter whether you think there's a performance advantage or not, it sounds ridiculous to skip 70% of the market. (I made that figure up, but it cant be far off)
  • + 2
 I'm part of that market. There will always be a need for 26 inch rims in this house. If everyone else stops making them BIll, there's your chance to make come coin back in the market. I'll buy some wide 26 inch rims off you in 7 years time when no-one else is makin' em as will many of the other millions of 26 inch MTB owners after they taco a wheel.
  • + 2
 Focusing on "in trend only" means we the public who buy into their products are left out in the rain. Anyone here that has a set of A C wheels that are 3 or so years old and plan on continuing their happy 26" life are left scratching their collective heads because their wheelsets may be in great shape ergo feeling like we have been dropped like a popularity vote.
[Reply]
  • + 17
 why can't posts like this have some red "adv" label - so i don't bother reading it
[Reply]
  • + 14
 "Pinkbike has been pushing for wider rims to enhance the performance of both cross-country and all-mountain trailbike wheels for some time."

Really? Of all the things!!! Really? Have you also been pushing for things that actually matter & would make a significant positive difference in the sport? Like inverted forks, internally geared transmissions, standardized seat post diameters & a stop to the introduction of bogus, senseless, outright stupid f*cking money making bullshit like more, bigger wheel sizes & smaller through-axle diameters?
  • + 20
 Yes, really.
www.pinkbike.com/u/richardcunningham/blog/Syntace-W35-MX-Wheels-Tested.html

www.pinkbike.com/news/Tech-Tuesday--Wider-Rims-Are-Better-and-Why-Tubeless-Tires-Burp-.html

for example.
You are talking rhetoric, and uninformed rhetoric. Some questions for you to consider.
1) On what criteria did you base your conclusion that "Inverted forks" and "standardized seat post diameters" actually matter over rim width? Please answer both before, and after, reading the Tech Tuesday link above.
2) Which "standardized" seat post diameter would you recommend for an 8 inch aluminium DH rig?
3) Same question on a 120mm carbon XC racer?
4) Same question on a steel 853 hardtail with slack geo for a 150\160mm fork?

Have a nice day.
  • + 0
 What scares me most is is +13 props next to his comment. One fool is not scary, but 10+?
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Is there a downhill wheelset in American Classic's future?

"We just discontinued our downhill wheels and hubs, and all 26-inch wheels. We weren't getting traction in the DH market."

^^^This is all I needed to read to know I would never buy their products. It should have been the first question so I didn't have to waste my time with the other crap.
  • + 4
 hahahaha damm right tup
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Wider is not necessarily better. People argue all the time with me about wider = more tire contact = more traction........while that's certainly more true on a 4 wheel machine or a powered two wheel machine that weighs as much or more than the rider its not true for a machine designed to be an extension of your body. You don't pilot a bike, its a medium by which you traverse/ride diverse terrain. Lean angles are way more important in respect to the tires contact patch on the ground. Especially when considering the most popular tire designs for DH and AM. When riding aggressively our wheels are rarely ever, even for a short moment, positioned perpendicular to the ground. The key is finding the ideal tire profile to meet a riders needs depending on his/her ability and the terrain. I recently experimented with some really wide DH wheels (40mm outside width, used with both 2.5 and 2.7 minions). It ruined the riding characteristics of my bike and make it seem more like a straight line sluggish sled. Everything about the bike became less predictable, it even caused me to have to totally re-dial my suspension. I hated it. Now I run 30mm outside width for DH and the ride is much faster/fun/agile with the same amount of straight line confidence as the wider wheels. Simply put..... there is a window (tire's contact patch on ground) that, depending on rider weight and skill, maximizes the combined efforts of machine and rider because of the dynamics of how a non powered bicycle works beneath weight that is 3 to 4 times more than its own. Everyone has to experiment and find what works best for them. Wider is not better, narrow is not better, find what makes you shred hard and forget about what experts in the industry say. Set your bike up to be predictable and don't worry about what 'works the best'. Just my 2 cents.....
  • + 4
 According to Bill 32mm is the ideal size...thats not too far off what you found
  • + 5
 Too wide bad, too narrow bad...something in the middle being the optimum... This sounds familiar.
  • + 1
 screw this I'm leaving cycling and buying a tank, my 26er with narrow rims didn't have the contact patch I wanted
  • + 2
 D-max ultimate. That is all.
  • + 1
 Sounds like the same theory would apply to wheel diameter, making 27.5 the optimum size.
  • + 4
 The main advantage of wider rims in my opinion is tire wall stability. It allows you to run lower pressure without flex AND without the risk of the tire rolling off the rim. For non DH tires with single ply sidewalls this is even more evident! Plus wider rims reduces the risk of pinchflating. I've been using wide rims for years and am never going back! But yeah there is such a thing as too wide (eg 44mm rim with a 2.3in tire)!
From my experience:
2.1 tires 28-32mm rims
2.35in tires 34-38mm
2.5-3.0 tires 36-42mm
This is why I'm excited about Derby rims! 40mm carbon rims that weigh only 450g!
  • + 2
 The Bill Shook scientific approach is aiming for a half circle profile, so the contact patch will be about the same from when you are turning or riding perpendicular. From what I understood. But davo425 made some good points. Don't people need more tire contact patch for when they are turning and less for when they are upright?
  • + 1
 With the semi circle profile you get more contact patch when turning (compared to a narrower rim) and more stability from the sidewall whilst doing so. As for contact patch when upright that is also important for braking and traction. This is one of the advantages of bigger diameter wheels or wider tires =>an increase in contact patch. More contact patch more traction and easier to stop the bike.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 "We just discontinued our downhill wheels and hubs, and all 26-inch wheels."
bummer. this trend is killing my upgrade strategy....
  • + 6
 There's a lot better options out there unless you're racing XC.
  • + 3
 Actually I had a set of AC DH wheels on my 951 and loved them. Very light, super stiff, and strong as hell. The only thing lacking was super quick engagement. I would buy them again.... too bad more people didn't.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I'd love for you guys to do a similar feature with Mavic and ask them why they haven't jumped on the width bandwagon. I'm really curious. I love their stuff and would totally buy it, but I just can't get past the width issue. I may give the new EN 821 a try, but I'm wondering why they introduced a new rim that misses the width mark that so many users want. I would have jumped on an EN 823 like the proverbial fat kid on cake! I'm assuming they know something I don't, and I'd like to know what they know... if you know what I mean.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 These are the kind of developments I'm looking for. I'm tired of every gear article and manufactures blip. Being about the 29er wheel size and more recently the 650b. I the larger wheel debate has taken away from other developments. I'm a firm believer in wider rims for control. And how come no exect KS has produced a decent dropper seat post.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Wish he would explain what size tires they were running. That would make more sense to me. On the AM wheels are they running 2.4 or 2.1 now.....
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Why is he still using bead hooks? No 26", no SALE!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Any cycling discipline that requires rapid change of tires makes tubeless tires difficult to use and therefore useless
  • + 6
 but if I get a flat, shy of tearing a hole through the entire tyre, and I'm in a rush I just shove a CO2 pump on it the tyre seals and I'm riding again in 20 seconds. A good tubeless setup is as reliable as a tubed, and most of the time a bad landing that would pinch flat a tube will just let some air out, so you just need to pump it back up. Worse case scenario I pop the tyre off, unscrew the valve and throw a tube in there and carry on as normal.
  • + 0
 Which discipline requires rapid change of tire? When I mean rapid it's less than 5 min per set.
  • + 1
 Enduro racing.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 "Insiders say that Shimano has yet to embrace one-by-eleven drivetrains, primarily because the torque generated by a 42-tooth cog creates too much stress on a conventional freehub body"
Ummm... no. The Torque isn't defined by the rear cog, it is defined by crank torque * gear ratio. The stress would actually reduce with a large rear cog a the same gear ratio (less chain tension for the same drive torque, means the pressure on the freehub bearings is decreased)

Aside form that, no 26", no sale. 650b and 29" are a trend that is already starting to fade. The days of the gold rush are over, the market is saturated. Meanwhile, 26" users enjoy the biggest selection of available parts out there - rims, tires, forks, frames...
[Reply]
  • + 3
 In another thread you have the guy from a major manufacturer saying they are working on a 29er exit strategy! "Thanks for investing your hard earned in our new product. Unfortunately it seems we got the marketing just right but our research was to be frank a little half baked. However should you wish to purchase a repacement bike from us we can assure you that a 27.5er is the best possible bike you could ever own, the science tells us so. And this time we promise we won't change our minds....perhaps".

The biggest con trick they have all pulled off is the "lifestyle play". "You to can live the life of a pro, go faster, jump higher and be the envy of your pals simply by giving me £2500. You need this folks, you need it".
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I have ridden plenty of rim widths and I would have to say that my current favorite width is 26mm inner diameter which is what number you should always consider when talking about rim width. I'm no law maker on the subject but for my all mountain riding I definitely seem to have more traction with this width than ever before. On the topic of carbon vs aluminum I would say that carbon blows the doors off of aluminum for many reasons. 1: carbon will NEVER taco. 2: Carbon holds tension in the spokes better than aluminum. 3: Carbon has a spring tendency that snaps the wheel back into line if it bends or distorts while cornering. 4: Also, my absolute favorite feature to Carbon fiber: it ABSORBS impacts outward through the rim circumference and does not transfer as much energy from impacts into the hub and into your contact to the bike. I have been on a lot of different wheels and carbon fiber is the most reliable once you get a STRONG DH rated wheel that can survive rock impacts. Www.lightbicycle.com has a new 26" DH rim that is 460g, 33mm outside width and 26mm inside depth and 33mm tall. These also give you shorter spokes which adds to the stiffness laterally and they can survive rock impacts. They are hands down the best rims I've ever ridden and I would recommend them to everyone at $400 shipped for a set !!!!
  • + 1
 "Inside diameter"?! I think and hope you meant inside width.
  • + 1
 Yes bogey, thank you, sorry for the mistake.
  • + 1
 fireballs, i recently ordered a set of rims from a company that i think is close competition called" www. nextie-bike.com "

same sort of deal, they are 35mm wide outer and 30mm inner , and you can even get extra material added if you have a big but like mine, im so excited to get them!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Wonder why AC, WTB, Halo, and Novatec hubs look so similar? It`s all made in the same chinese factory (qtek), most of western economy is based upon branding guys, grow up/ wake up. You guys should have a quick read of Naomi Klein`s No Logo
[Reply]
  • + 2
 My last bike was a 29er Anthem and I put AC wheels on it and I ran them tubeless. I can say that the AC tubeless rim tape was the best I've seen so far. Tires were seated and inflated with ease. Wider rims made my 2.1 CrossMarks UST perform very well, in both bump absorbtion and cornering grip. I am getting wider rims on my new bike now because of the positive experience with the wider AC rims. AC rims + Maxxis LUST + Stans = no flats in 1400km.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 you mean, we are stopping 26 so it will become harder to buy 26 inch bikes, we hope. so then you have to buy knew bikes
  • + 2
 I think he means, we stopped making 26er wheels so you you'll just have to buy Hopes now...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 And besides; so what if your 29" carbon full sus whatever is faster and easier to ride. No one in the carpark is looking at it are they! No they aren't, they are looking at the cool bikes, from small, cool manufacturers, individually built and tricked out. Like mine so just you keep that in mind when you compare Strava times okay!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hey Pinkbike,
I'm requesting that you do a To The Point on stanchion coatings. We have Kashima with Fox, Keronite and the elusive Black Gold from Rock Shox and lots of other less exotic stuff out there like nickle plating, and i've seen clear info on it all. Only the info from the hype men at those companies. Opinions on performance and durability on each abound (this is PB after all) but little useful information. Please help us de-mistify this topic that (insert cheeky innuendo about lubrication and slippery rods)
[Reply]
  • + 3
 My, my, what an ego. I guess he thinks he just reinvented the wheel or something.... This kind of talk puts me right off a product.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 as a trials rider I've used wide rims for years and always found it odd that MTB rims were so narrow, just seemed like common sense to me that wider is better.
  • + 3
 Wider is better but up to a point. I run trial rims on my DH bike but the narrower versions eg. Echo SL 38mm and the old Koxx tryall 42mm. I tried a 44mm Echo rear but on a 2.35 it was just too wide! I smashed the rims up cornering. In trials you don't lean the bike over at speed so running a 49mm rear rim on a 2.5 or even 2.3 tire is not a big deal.
  • + 1
 yeah I understand it's all within reason. I'm just on about 30mm upwards really.
  • + 1
 yeah I agree, anything less than 30mm is too narrow even for 2.1 tires!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Quick, before Dirby 40mm Wide Rims makes it big!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i ride wide with pride, ex729!
26"
Why change? It is mostly for pickpocket us. truly. i will never ride much better with new wheel size. Especially no f*g29 on my bikes!
You can't change me on this!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 A very narrow minded ad. Thinking like this is worse then saying 29ers are gay!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 He says loose cassettes damage aluminum freehubs, so they use a steel plate to protect them. However, this totally dodges the actual point (acknowledged by Shimano) that the 42 tooth rear gear puts too much stress on the freehub body and causes the entire hub to fail. Nobody is too worried about the outer surface (where the cassette meets the freehub) from getting chewed up. However, having the entire mechanism fail is a problem. Nice headfake AC. Your hubs still don't stand up.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It seems to me that the market is being driven by a few factors here, bikes and kit becoming very reliable as technology begins to platoe. Manufacturers will always look for new markets to exploit. I wouldn't worry about the rise of the bigger, or for that matter the slightly bigger, wheel at all. We seem to have a habit of protecting "superseded technologies" as often they posses some intrinsic quality (usually nostalgic cool factor). Also the nature of markets means someone (often out of love in these cases) will step in to fill the gap. Anyway I'm just gonna warm up and stretch to the new Pixies ep on 10" vinyl before I go and have fun on my 26" 853 steel hardtail (27.2 seatpost/ 1 1/8" headset) and maybe after that take my new twin fin out if the wind backs off.......
[Reply]
  • + 2
 "Pinkbike has been pushing for wider rims to enhance the performance of both cross-country and all-mountain trailbike wheels for some time. "

Really
[Reply]
  • + 2
 American Classic free hub bodies are garbage. Blew up 2 in quick succession. Maybe the new one is better, but not sure about that.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Novatec hubs have the same steel face bit in a freehubody already. So whos design it was?
  • + 4
 Actually WTB have close the same design of hubs and free hub body. I don't understand why!
  • + 1
 I have WTB LASER DISC SUPER DUTY rear hub... the freewheel it almost IDENTICAL to this one... But WTB Stopped making them... i guess AC got the pattent or something...
  • + 1
 WTB and American Classic were using the same basic hub design for many years and I had been told that Bill Shook designed the original LaserDisc hubs for them. Pretty sure WTB just decided that they weren't making enough money from hubs for it to be worth their time.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 All bicycle tyres tubeless? Clearly you don't know the size of the market!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 It's amazing how much technology goes into just simple things like rims.
  • + 7
 yes who would think you could re invent the wheel
[Reply]
  • + 1
 so ideal rim width and spoke count for front and rear is the same? and what about if you use a different size tyres f/r?

like the steel/al freewhub idea
[Reply]
  • + 2
 So he says XC rims should be wider than AM rims. How does that make any sense?
  • + 3
 It's a multi-variable optimization. You can add stiffness either by increasing the cross-section or by increasing material thickness, with both of those options having implicit weight penalties; weight penalty for adding thickness to a wide profile is massive compared to adding the same thickness to a narrower one. It's possible that to achieve a certain stiffness criteria for AM adding thickness to the already wide XC rim produced greater weight than going slightly smaller and slightly thicker. He's not making the rims wider because wideness itself is desirable, he's doing it because a wider profile produced a lighter rim at the desired stiffness.
  • + 1
 I was just about to say that...
  • + 2
 I suspect that his findings on the final tire profile with a wide XC rim and a narrow XC tire were the same as a narrower FR rim and a wider FR tire.

If the article is about the rim/tire SYSTEM, then tire widths should have been quoted.
  • + 4
 I disagree. He made the XC rim wider so that he could run lighter casing tires and lose weight there without sacrificing cornering, tire flexion, etc. He should have extended that reasoning for the AM wheelset plus take into account that AM tires will be bigger and wider thus requiring even more sidewall stabilty. Look at Syntace they know what they are doing! Run a wider rim which may be heavier BUT the tire is always the heaviest part of the wheel set. So to go lighter overall it is best to have a lighter casing tire with a wider rim rather than the reverse.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Checked to see if American Classic was on the 2013 advertiser list. Surprised to see it's not, after feeling that this was some marketing propaganda.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 So, scratch one option for a 26" wheel purchase.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 American classic is the inventor of THE WORST free hub design ever created.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 AC is in desperate need of a new graphics designer. Okay you got wide but who wants to roll on ugly. Lol.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'd rather watch videos of carbon rims explode... like this www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2aliE626vc
[Reply]
  • + 1
 my mtx39s are 39mm wide.those are wide Big Grin Big Grin
  • + 1
 Derby carbon, 40mm.
  • + 2
 sun rims double wide 45,9 mm XDDDD, but imo 39s are stronger than double wides
  • + 2
 Check out trial rims they make em in 49mm and I'm not even going to talk about fat bike rims...
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Some believe in all the hype or that marketing jibber jabber and other just ride bike for fun. Also, there are some weight weenies saving 2g taking unwrapped snickers bar for a ride. At the other end of spectrum there are guys like my friend Paul who doesn't give a $hit what is light and fancy. His self-made BiGFooT is well over 50 lbs and he rides it from snowy Illinois to desert-hot Utah:
vimeo.com/user15562558

Sequitur: ride what makes you happy!
  • + 1
 That vid was awesome! Guess I'm not the only guy out there riding my DH up and down hills! I'd love to do a conversion like that!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Common sense....nothing new here.
  • + 3
 Not for everyone I'm afraid...
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