American Classic Argent Tubeless Wheels Review
The Argent’s aluminium rims are at 22mm wide and 30mm deep, weigh 390 grams and use ‘bead barb technology’ to secure the tyres and prevent burping. There’s 18 radial spokes upfront and 24 spokes behind in a pattern called ‘Series 3 lacing’ – every three spoke holes have two spokes on the drive side of the wheel to one on the non-drive side – connecting the rim to American Classic’s own hubs.
The set-up works as these wheels are very stiff. I have had no brake rub nor any complaints whilst sprinting uphill or downdale. The rims handle crosswinds well and must surely offer some aero benefit, though I only say that based on their shape, not any data.
The hubs are industrial looking but work superbly. I can’t comment on longevity but their simple design means they are readily upgraded – American Classic offer ceramic upgrade kits – and easily maintained. They are certainly very smooth and help the wheels pick-up speed quickly.
This is also aided by the fact that these wheels are really light at 586g upfront and 786g for the rear, or 1372g for the pair. Once built up, the Argents weigh 967g up front and 1520g for the rear, or 2487g for the pair with Schwalbe One tubeless, skewers, Ultegra cassette and latex added.
If you like the idea of tubeless wheels, you are not going to be at a significant weight disadvantage on these, that’s for sure; my lightest set of tub wheels weigh 2034g for the pair with tubs, skewers and Dura-Ace cassette fitted; the Dura-Ace cassette is 80 grams lighter than the Ultegra, so taking that into account the difference is just over 300 grams. If you wanted to add in some latex to your tubs for added security, as many riders are doing, then the gap closes even more…
The wheels are as fast as they promised as well. The set-up as an overall, the Argents combined with Schwalbe One tyres, feels quick. Modern carbon frames are all much the same in performance terms, but I’ve had the chance to use these wheels in two high-end frames now and each time, these wheels help bring the ride to life in a different way to a set of carbon wheels. It’s a much more energetic, almost springier sensation than with that damped feeling you get from fast carbon wheels. It’s odd, as this reminds me of the ride differences you used to feel between a set of handbuilt, steel spoked wheels and the early deader feeling, aluminium spoked factory built wheels.
The Argents come as standard with a base layer of ‘American Classic fiber tape’ covering the spoke holes overlayed by two layers of American Classic honey colored tape to seal the rim.
My only issue was actually mounting the tyres onto the rims, which took far longer than it should have done. We’ve mounted Schwalbe One tubeless tyres on other rims without the same trouble, so it must be down to the slightly bigger circumference of the Argent rim. However, tight fit is reassuring for a tubeless tyre, so it’s probably worth the hassle and thankfully only has to be done once.
So where does that leave us? We have light, stiff wheels that use the latest, possibly soon to be the dominant, tyre technology. There isn’t really a downside if you can live without carbon rims that is. To me these are among the best all rounders you can buy. In performance terms they are on the money; you can race on them and could win just about anything. You can then train on them worry free, knowing you’ve got the best in terms of puncture protection. They are also tough enough so that you could use them for cyclocross without issue.
They are not cheap but if you want to have the benefits of tubeless, they are a great investment whether upgrading or buying your only pair of do-it-all wheels. They’ve certainly rejuvenated my interest in tubeless.
American Classic Argent Tubeless rrp £899.99 / $1449.00
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