Interbike: The wheel deal from FSA, Shimano, American Classic and HED

FSA K-Force

FSA’s top tier carbon K-Force comes in 29er and 27.5 and as such FSA says these are more than just two mountain bike options, they are actually perfect for four different disciplines crossing over into road use. The 29 is perfect for cross-country as well as doubling as a 700c wheel for gravel riding and ‘cross.The 27.5 can easily double as a 650b, which is popular for randonneuring.


An asymmetric rim profile has a 4mm offset, which according to FSA allows for 80-percent of the 24 spokes per wheel to be at maximum high tension. The hubs have a unique Preload Reduction Assembly (PRA), a trickle down from its high-end Vision road wheelset. PRA allows you to preload bearing tension with a tiny lock ring so no matter how tight you crank the skewer it won’t crush the bearings and increase rolling resistance.

K Force wheels are tubeless ready, wrapped with Stan’s NoTube’s tape. Retail price is $2,049, just below that is the carbon SLK at $1,799 and the aluminum Afterburner for $649.

Shimano XTR Trail


Shimano’s XTR Trail offering is a carbon laminated, aluminum rim that meets UST standards with a tape backing to cover spoke holes. Choices are 29 and 27.5 with a wider, 24mm internal diameter width compared to last year. New hubs have a larger axle for 142×12 rear and 15mm front. Retail is $1,500. And in case you’re wondering, Shimano still offers a tubular carbon 29er mountain bike wheel for a mere $3,500.

American Classic Carbonator


American Classic’s Bill Shook is a believer in wider is better. His new carbon rim, designed not for cross-country but specific to all-mountain riding and enduro racing has a 26mm inner diameter width and 33 outer width. Shook also choose to go the no bead hook way, saying that tubeless tires don’t need a bead hook to stay put. By doing this he could use the material to make thick, 3.5mm wide sidewalls that resist cracking without a weight penalty. Weight is 1,595 grams per set, good but not weight weenie light because they’re built for durability with 32, 14/15-gauge spokes per wheel.


American Classic is also introducing fat bike hubs.


American Classic was quick to get to work on a hub for the RockShox RS-1 fork.



HED was showing this sweet carbon B.F.D. (Big Fat Deal) carbon rim. It’s 100mm wide and weighs a mere 550 grams.