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New wheels...American Classic 420 or Easton EA90 Aero

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

New wheels...American Classic 420 or Easton EA90 Aero

Old 07-25-08, 06:30 AM
  #1  
swalburn
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New wheels...American Classic 420 or Easton EA90 Aero

I'm looking to get a new set of wheels for crit racing, and general road racing. Does anyone have a preference in regard to these two sets of wheels. I'm about 195 lbs, and the wheelset will be generally used for racing. I don't think I will spend the money for a aero set of carbon wheels (1000 dollars) so these two sets appear to be my best options. I can get them for about 400 dollars a pair. I've had very good luck with my Easton wheels in the past (2 sets of circuits) so I'm kind of partial to them. The 420's I'm looking at are the ones with the bladed spokes if it makes a difference. If someone wants to suggest something else I would love to hear it. I'm looking for something in the 1500 to 1550 grams weight range that is semi aero. I'm a larger stronger rider so I don't want something that is ridiculously light.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:33 AM
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Of those two, Easton every time...
AC hubs suck the winky and 420s just aren't stiff wheels if you weigh more than 150.
How about getting something built?

WI or DT Swiss hubs on Nio30 hoops with DB spokes will get you where you want to be and last longer...or go with Sapim CX-Rays and lower the weight and and some aero benefit...
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Old 07-25-08, 06:44 AM
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I actually thought about getting a handbuilt set, but I was spending so much time debating about which hubs and which builder that I cooled on the idea. Everyone has an opinion. I've changed my mind repeatedly. I love my Eastons, but I hear they can be a pain if you have any sort of problem with them. I've never had a problem with them whatsoever. I may end up with a set of carbon wheels, but I worry about durability, the cost, and the pain of swapping brake pads all the time. I even looked at tubulars, but didn't want to hassle gluing tires on the rims. I'm a big fan of simplicity.
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Old 07-25-08, 06:54 AM
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I've got a set of AC's 420 bladded. I'm also at 6'/195lbs.
My 420's do not flex. No brake rub on tough climbs at all.
I've put on 1500km and they are as solid as when I bought them.
I also believe that AC's hub issues are a thing of the past...
At $400, I'd recommend you check them out.

Originally Posted by damocles1 View Post
Of those two, Easton every time...
AC hubs suck the winky and 420s just aren't stiff wheels if you weigh more than 150.
How about getting something built?

WI or DT Swiss hubs on Nio30 hoops with DB spokes will get you where you want to be and last longer...or go with Sapim CX-Rays and lower the weight and and some aero benefit...
^I guess this would be the best option if your budget accounted for it.
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Old 07-25-08, 07:13 AM
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+1 for Easton. I use Easton Vista SL's, I've been happy with them so far.
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Old 07-25-08, 07:35 AM
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As an owner of both brands (Eastons - Circuits, Ascent II; AC - 350, 420 bladed), I would say it's a toss up. My feedback is based on Easton's 3rd gen wheels and not the newer gen.

FWIW - 5'9, 165, and race
Here's my .02:

For the OP comparison, I feel the 420 were just as stiff as my Circuits in sprints and cornering.

Easton
Pro:
Smoother hubs (R - Series) but my AC hubs are not far behind in this category
Con:
Straight-pull spokes (can't tell if they perform +/- but maybe harder to find to replace)

A/C:
Pro:
Excellent Customer Service - you can actually talk to a knowledgeable person on the phone without being transferred. Had a known bad build on my 350 front wheel and they replaced it under warranty. No issues ever since.
Con:
Poor braking surface on both 350/420. The braking surface is narrow which impacts the full contact of brake pad to the brake surface.
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Old 07-25-08, 08:10 AM
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if you get the AC 420, get the model with a higher spoke count. I'm using an older SL model with i think 18 spokes at the front and 20 at the back and it's really flexy laterally even though i only weigh 130ish.
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Old 07-25-08, 08:16 AM
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Niobium 30's, DT Revolution, Speedcific or Formula hubs.

24/28, radial front, 2x rear.
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Old 07-25-08, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by damocles1 View Post
AC hubs suck the winky and 420s just aren't stiff wheels if you weigh more than 150.
Kind of a sweeping statement.....any evidence for this post 2005?

A few ppl I know think they are great hubs including some who weigh 200+ lbs
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Old 07-25-08, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BananaTugger View Post
Niobium 30's, DT Revolution, Speedcific or Formula hubs.

24/28, radial front, 2x rear.
Never be a stiff wheel...
Revos are noodles and the spoke count is way too low for a guy @ 195!

As for the AC wheels...
The hubs just aren't constructed in a manner that allows for a stiff wheel. The flanges are very close together, therefore the bracing angle of the spokes is small. The Low spoke count doesn't help either.
The bearings still go bad pretty quick simply because they are so small.
Anyone that says the are stiff hasn't ridden a stiff wheel...! As much as the R-SYS wheels suck and could kill you, go ride a demo pair and some AC420s back to back. You'll quickly tell the difference...
A guy I ride with is 180 and I can hear his brand new 420s creaking and rubbing when he stands to go hard.

A set of Nio30 hoops with WI or DT hubs and CX-Rays will be light, fast and stiff. And you'll get out for less than most boutiquey wheelsets.

Or buy some ROL Race SL wheels...1550 grams, stiff, aero and less than $600...
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Old 07-25-08, 09:53 AM
  #11  
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A word of caution on the Easton wheels...one that negates the con of the straight pull spokes. If you have anyone other than Easton true the wheel you void the warranty.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by damocles1 View Post
Never be a stiff wheel...
Revos are noodles and the spoke count is way too low for a guy @ 195!

As for the AC wheels...
The hubs just aren't constructed in a manner that allows for a stiff wheel. The flanges are very close together, therefore the bracing angle of the spokes is small. The Low spoke count doesn't help either.
The bearings still go bad pretty quick simply because they are so small.
Anyone that says the are stiff hasn't ridden a stiff wheel...! As much as the R-SYS wheels suck and could kill you, go ride a demo pair and some AC420s back to back. You'll quickly tell the difference...
A guy I ride with is 180 and I can hear his brand new 420s creaking and rubbing when he stands to go hard.

A set of Nio30 hoops with WI or DT hubs and CX-Rays will be light, fast and stiff. And you'll get out for less than most boutiquey wheelsets.

Or buy some ROL Race SL wheels...1550 grams, stiff, aero and less than $600...
Spokes don't get "noodled" when they are in the wheel, they get pulled on.

How easy they bend in your hand has no bearing on how they perform once they are built into a wheel.

Sapim CX-Rays are more likely to break when heavily stressed than DT Revolutions or Aerolites are. CX-Rays, although very strong, lack the spectacular resilience that DT spokes have.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:13 AM
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williams cycling wheel system 30.

1520g, $479, Nio30 rims, ceramic bearings, bladed steel spokes. I'm really fond of my set - although at 195# you may want to go with the 30x which is $10 more, has 4 extra spokes per wheel and comes in 75g heavier. Great customer service to boot.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by damocles1 View Post
Of those two, Easton every time...
AC hubs suck the winky and 420s just aren't stiff wheels if you weigh more than 150.
How about getting something built?

WI or DT Swiss hubs on Nio30 hoops with DB spokes will get you where you want to be and last longer...or go with Sapim CX-Rays and lower the weight and and some aero benefit...
winky sucking is old news with the ACs. They redesigned the hubs a few years back. The ACs are also a great all around wheel, so not just for racing IMO. If you want a race only wheel, maybe you can find a set of Rolf Elan Aeros. I saw a pair on CL Denver recently for about $500. I don't think you can go wrong with either of your choices, but the ACs a fine wheel, especially at $400.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:41 AM
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A/C:
Con:
Poor braking surface on both 350/420. The braking surface is narrow which impacts the full contact of brake pad to the brake surface.[/QUOTE]

This is true. Your best bet, as AC recommends, is kool stop salmon for the 420's - about 10 bucks.
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Old 07-25-08, 12:36 PM
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I looked at the Williams, but several people have said they weigh more than they are advertised. The cross model is very similar in spoke count and weight to my circuits. The people who have them do seem to like them though. I'm really lusting after there 50 mm clincher though.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by hocker View Post
A/C:
Con:
Poor braking surface on both 350/420. The braking surface is narrow which impacts the full contact of brake pad to the brake surface.

Indeed. Personally, I'm tempted to get rid of the ACs - for this reason alone.
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Old 07-25-08, 02:07 PM
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Neuvation R28 SL $330 1490 Grams

6' 195 Sprinter. Stiff, great brake surface, good looking, removable decals, GREAT service.

5000+ miles on two sets. Not one broken spoke or hub problem.

If they weigh 1550 out of the box thats still less than half the price of the AC 420's with a great reputation and excellent customer service.
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Old 07-26-08, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bike4More View Post
Neuvation R28 SL $330 1490 Grams

6' 195 Sprinter. Stiff, great brake surface, good looking, removable decals, GREAT service.

5000+ miles on two sets. Not one broken spoke or hub problem.

If they weigh 1550 out of the box thats still less than half the price of the AC 420's with a great reputation and excellent customer service.
I have put around 4,000 km EACH on pairs of Neuvation R28SLs and AC 420s. I can't tell the difference between them while riding, though the ACs look MUCH nicer (even after de-sticker-ing the Neuvations). I had the Neuvations trued at around 2,500 km but so far the ACs are still true. In case this is relevant, I am 165 lb.
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Old 07-26-08, 05:48 AM
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+1 on Neuvation R28's. I have a set on my Tommaso with 1700 miles at 6 ft. 192 lbs. Function flawlessly.
Other bike has Mavic Aksiums, which are on par with the R28's.
Tried Shimano 550's which were a little whippy and not as tuff as the other two.
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Old 07-26-08, 07:20 AM
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Eastons, especially if you are over 185 or so.
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Old 07-26-08, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by damocles1 View Post
Anyone that says the are stiff hasn't ridden a stiff wheel...! As much as the R-SYS wheels suck and could kill you, go ride a demo pair and some AC420s back to back. You'll quickly tell the difference...
In comparing the two sets of wheels the OP was looking at (Easton vs. AC), I was comparing just those two wheels (stiffness being relative to those two wheels). Now my Ksyrium SL, otoh, are several notches above those two in stiffness that can be felt during sprints and cornering.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:00 PM
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I just got some AC 420 wheels mostly out or curiosity since they were really cheap, new on ebay. The hubs spin incredibly well. Compared to my Chris King hubs on the other wheelset there is no comparison, especially the rear wheel.

They supposedly weigh about 200 grams lighter than the other wheelset but I can't tell any difference when riding although I did score 2 minutes faster than my best on a little time trial I do over ~40 minutes through mostly rolling hills. Of course I'm not going to say the wheels are what made me faster.

My other wheelset is a 32H 3x cross dt swiss revolution laced to dt swiss r1.1 rims. I can't tell a difference in stiffness but I'm not sprinting around corners. I just ride really far.

Like a few others said, the braking surface is narrow but I feel it's sufficient as my pads (stock kool-stop on cane creek SL brakes) fit exactly on the braking area with no overlap. I stop fine although I do feel they are not as consistent feeling as the dt swiss rims. I could care less though as long as they stop me decently

I weigh about 165lb.

Last edited by Spookykinkajou; 07-26-08 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:29 PM
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I appreciate the input. I'm leaning toward getting the Eastons, but I may save my dollars and spring for the Williams clinchers next year. I just hate the idea of having to swap my brake pads constantly. The AC 420's are intriguing to me. A 34 mm deep aluminum rim that is pretty light. Most people have indicated the 2008's are improved over some of the previous models. The AC isn't much heavier than something like the reynolds attack, it has a deeper rim, and I wouldn't need to use carbon specific pads whem I want to use them.
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