An American Classic….
After much thought I have upgraded the wheels on my Orbea. I have been looking to improve on the old standard hoops for a while now, as they are clearly a part whose cheapness is dictated by the marketing department’s desire to keep the price point competitive.
So, after looking at a variety of wheels such as the Easton EA50 and the Fulcrum Racing 5, I have gone for a slightly different choice, which is my nature.
American Classics are a Florida-based high-end MTB manufacturer, and their Victory wheels are the ones chose. I bought them from Elmy Cycles in Ipswich, who have just moved to a bigger premises and now have quite an impressive road bike section upstairs.
So, first off, the techie stuff. These are very stiff road wheels with a combined weight of Front 718 gr Rear 930 gr Pair 1648 gr. This puts them slightly ahead of the EA50 / Racing5’s. They run with 24 spokes front and 28 rear, and mine are Shimano spline. They have the added advantage of four sealed bearings in the rear hub, and the ratchets in the drive have a system of six over sized ‘pawls’ making for a very smooth ride. They also have a single red spoke on each wheel, to ease the location of the valve when repairing during a race.
So, with my chain puller and lock nut tool, I set to work and both were in place, with fresh inner tubes, in half an hour. So how did they ride?
There is only one way to describe the difference – awesome! A suitably American word, but the lightness and stiffness began to manifest itself over the first couple of miles. The Orbea began to behave like the bike it has always been capable of being.
Well on a 36 mile ride this afternoon, the stats are – 36 miles travelled. 18.6 mph average (29.93 km/h). 1:53 time. That’s roughly a 1 mph increase in my riding average speed, over a fairly demanding and varied ride. In fact, where the photo above was taken, I had to stop as I got cramp in both calves due to my higher cadence!!
My view is that these are a wheelset that, at £299 the pair, are well worth considering if you’re looking for your first wheel upgrade.