As one of the latest mountain bike wheels to go hookless, the Carbonator rim uses a much thicker spoke bed and rim wall for great impact resistance and durability. When head engineer Bill Shook was experimenting with wheels made from carbon and aluminium, he found that aluminium rims can be built with thinner rim walls for an overall lighter weight as the rims can deal with multiple dents and dings without compromising their integrity.
Featuring thicker sidewalls and 1mm wider outside profile than the aluminium Wide Lightnings (33mm vs 32mm outside, 26mm vs 29.3mm inside) to ensure durability, strength and stiffness. That extra material comes at a weight penalty of just 100g, making these one of the lightest, properly wide wheelsets available today at 1676g for the 29" set.
Built with American Classic Disc 130 and 225 hubs, laced to the 32 hole rims using 14/15g DB spokes and aluminium nipples front and rear. The wheels allow for standard QR or 15mm/ 142×12 thru axle configurations, with an XD driver available to run SRAM's 11 speed.
Build quality is top-notch and doing away with the white and gold graphics certainly gives them a more premium look.
On The Trail
I hit the trails already convinced of the benefits of wider rims following my time on the American Classic Wide Lightnings and Derby carbon rims. Noticeably stiffer than the aluminium Wide Lightnings, the Carbonators help keep wheel deflection in check and tracked sketchy terrain well.
Getting them up to speed does not take much effort and they tend to respond best when hammered hard. My only complaint would be the slow engagement of the rear hub. By no means terrible, just not in tune with modern offerings and pedaling up technical single track takes some careful planning and requires consistent pedaling - something that's not always possible on tricky sections. Once up to speed though, there are no complaints.
This set has done duty on more than one bike and are still running true and straight with not a single ding or mark in sight. Fitting tires has proven fairly effortless and various tires used during our test period inflated without hassle.
Whether you're willing to spend good money on a set of carbon mountain bike wheels is for you to decided. What I can say is that these offer good value for money, and should you decided that carbon wheels are the way to go, these will not disappoint. Wide(er) rims are the way of the future making "standard" rims feel archaic and out of place on a modern mountain bike.
The American Classic Carbonator wheels are light, stiff, well made and have excellent local back up. If their Wide Lightnings are anything to go by, they should be durable too.
[spec_list_row=Rims]Carbonator Tubeless All Carbon Disc Rims 27.5 / 29"[/spec_list_row]
[spec_list_row=Spokes]AC 14/15 Gauge Spokes Black / AC Aluminum Nipples Silver 32h 3-Cross Front and Rear[/spec_list_row]
[spec_list_row="Weight 27.5" "] Front 740gr | Rear 855gr | Pair 1595gr[/spec_list_row]
[spec_list_row="Weight 29" "]Front 784gr | Rear 892gr | Pair 1676gr[/spec_list_row]
[spec_list_row=Hubs/Spacing]Front Disc 130 100 mm / 15 mm / Thru Axle Disc 100 mm / 9 mm Thru Axle Disc 100 mm Rear Disc 225 135 mm / 10 mm x 135 mm Thru Axle Disc / 142 mm Thru Axle Disc / Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 or SRAM XX1[/spec_list_row]
[spec_list_row="Brake interface"]6 Bolt International Standard[/spec_list_row]
American Classic MTB tubeless tape installed and tubeless valves included.