By Stefan Abram
American Classic hit the scene nearly 40 years ago, making its name manufacturing lightweight aluminum wheels. After sadly closing its doors back in 2018, the brand is back with comprehensive range of gravel, road and commuting tires.
Under its new ownership, American Classic is making its own tires, in its own factory and selling direct to consumers – cutting out all the costs of the middle-men. As a result, the price points are between $30 and $35 per tire, which significantly undercuts many other tire manufacturers. Currently, the tyres will only be available in the USA.
All of the tires are backed by a “Lifetime Road Hazard Replacement Policy”, which will offer customers 50 per cent off the price of a new tire, should they puncture or tear one they’ve bought.
American Classic road tire range
The Timekeeper is AC’s race offering, coming in just two sizes: 700x25c and 700x28c, two casing options: Tubeless Ready and Tube Type, and three sidewall colours: Black, Tan and Classic Brown. With the tube type tires costing only $30 each (tubeless is $5 more), these stand to be a very interesting option.
We’ve got a set for review and will be putting them through their paces to see how they stack up.
For everyday training rides, there is the more stoutly built Torchbearer. These have increased puncture protection over the Timekeeper and come in sizes ranging from 700x25c up to 700x32c. They’re also available in both a Tubeless and Tube Type casing but are only available with black sidewalls. Pricing is the same, though, with the Tube Type costing $30 per tire and Tubeless Ready being $35.
Links to tires on Amazon
American Classic gravel tire range
In order of increasing “gnar”, we have firstly the Kimberlite. With a slick center tread, it minimizes rolling resistance on the road, while the increasingly open file tread, which develops into full knobbles once you get to the shoulders, should provide a reasonable amount of grip on dry terrain.
As with all the gravel tires in American Classic's range, the Kimberlite is available in sizes 700 x 40c and 50c, as well as a 650x47b option. Naturally, the casing only comes in a tubeless version and they're available with either Black or Tan sidewalls. Pricing for the whole gravel range stands at $35 per tire.
Next is the Aggregate, with a tread pattern of uniformly spaced cylindrical knobs. This type of design tends to offer highly consistent grip, with no harsh transition as you bank the tire over in the corners. Infinitely symmetrical, cylindrical knobs also have the benefit over delivering predictable grip, even when sliding sideways.
Marginally more aggressive overall, the Udden takes a very different approach to the Aggregate. A lower profile centre tread lends itself to faster straight line rolling speeds, while the more aggressive side knobs are better suited to hooking up hard as you lean into the corners.
Following a similar design, the Wentworth essentially just upsizes the knobbles, with a taller and more widely spaced centre tread and the shoulders getting much the same treatment. This pattern is better suited to trails with deeper dust or loamy forest riding.
Finally, we have the Krumbein, which is AC’s most aggressive gravel tire. The centre and shoulder tread get beefed up again over the Udden, making this tire best suited for loose, rocky conditions. It should also perform better in the mud than any of the other tires.
Just looking at the tread pattern, we’d tend to opt for something with a slightly taller and wider spaced center tread for riding in muddy conditions that best resemble an end of season CX race. After the winter, we’ll post an update on how they fare.
Links to tires on Amazon
For use with eBikes and just general city riding, the Lamplighter boasts “Stage 7 flat protection” which is claimed to make it “nearly impervious to flats”. It’s available in 700x40c, 700x50c and 650x47b and with either Black or Classic Brown sidewalls. Unsurprisingly for a city tire, the casing is Tube Type only and pricing stands at $30 per tire.
Link to tire on Amazon
Visit American Classic’s website here for more information about the tires
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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