A/C 420 Aero 3's vs. Reynolds DV3K Clincher vs. Ritchey WCS 38mm Carbon

Robert Yuras

New Member
Apr 18, 2010
What say you? I'm at a cross road because all of these wheels are basically the same price. I'm a 162 lb. climber/lead out man that is in desperate need of wheels. All of these seem to be nearly identical in weight. I know the American Classics are pretty bomb proof...but is there and advantage I'm not seeing in going carbon?
Who says the AC's are bombproof? They've got tiny bearings in the front hub and an overall lack of lateral rigidity. They're not known for being hardy. The DV3K's will have Reynolds new brake track technology, reducing brake track temperatures under braking. The Ritchies will have the worst braking of the three.
Originally Posted by Robert Yuras ..... I know the American Classics are pretty bomb proof...but is there and advantage I'm not seeing in going carbon?...
As pointed out above the AC 420s aren't necessarily bombproof, the rims are pretty stout but the front hub in particular chews through bearings pretty quickly and personally I wish they'd stuck with the conventional spoking pattern instead of the newer grouped spoking ala Rolf. I've got a set of the older AC 420s and really like them but I've replaced bearings more often than normal for my other wheelsets and do wish the hubs were a bit more reliable. But they're fast wheels and I personally don't have issues with the lateral flex but know folks that claim to suffer from a lot of brake rub when standing and prefer stiffer wheels.

In terms of full carbon rims, do you ride or race in the rain much? Carbon braking surfaces are definitely compromised when wet. Racing in the Pacific Northwet I only ride my full carbon rims in dry races and race on wheels with alloy braking surfaces on wet days which unfortunately are pretty common. Maybe that's not an issue for you, but full carbon rims aren't always the best idea.

Have you looked at the Williams System 30 wheels? Only 5mm less aero depth than the AC 420s, very close in weight, nicer hubs (IMO) and less expensive. Or a set of Kinlin aero rims laced to hubs of your choice, again any number of builders could build you a set on those hoops that would come in less than the wheels you've listed.

+1 to what Daveryanwyoming said.

If you feel like you need/want a deepish rim then a Kinlin XR300 rim (30mm deep) or a Kinlin XR380 rim (38mm deep) laced to any number of hubs (White Industries H3's, DT Swiss 240's, Shimano, Campy--who makes Shimano compatible hubs, or Alchemy ALF and ORC hubs with yours and your builders agreed choice of spokes would make great wheels. My choice would be the Kinlin XR300 rims as they're not as porky as and will have a better ride than the the XR380's. Of the wheels you mentioned, none of them have stellar hubs or even great hubs. An added bonus of working with a wheel builder is getting a wheel set with a spoke count appropriate for you and your needs. You can use the "search" function on this forum to find threads that name a bunch of wheel builders.

I've used Reynolds DV46's in the past (a lighter, different layup than the DV3k's, but same rim cross section.....except mine were tubular) and found them to brake well and acceptably so in the rain. However since I owned that pair, Reynolds has improved braking and as mentioned above, heat management during heavy, extended braking. The hubs I used were ok but nothing special. I used the DV46's as everyday wheels without issue. Given their rather pronounced triangular cross section, they made crosswinds and especially gusty crosswinds a bit more entertaining than low profile rims. The current Reynolds wheels can come with Reynolds extended warranty that helps in the case of crash damage and the like for an extra bill or two. Info is on their site about that extended coverage. I think such coverage is worthwhile, especially if you buy CF rims. That's not to say that CF rims are a liability or fragile, but given their typical expense compared to alloy rimmed wheels, it's worth a paying a hundred or two dollars to be able to replace that set or a wheel for free or for a dramatically reduced price if one day things go all pear shaped. Again, I'm not implying that CF rims are fragile. In fact, with each generation of CF rims that comes out, they tend to become more durable. Witness the explosion in the number of CF rims being sold for MTB and even downhill bikes. Likewise witness the sharply increasing number of CF wheels being used in Paris Roubaix and some of the other bumpy classics.

I've been using a pair of White Industries hubs for a few years now, and they've been stellar hubs: well better than the Reynolds hubs, than Bontrager hubs with DT internals, and at least the equals of DT 240's but with better bracing angles.

A fair number of folks have had good experiences with Williams and ROL wheels.
If you are looking for a source for a builder using Kinlin there are several. I had a good purchase experience with Wheelbuilder. I would use them for carbon wheel build as well if I were to race, but I also have no problem shopping around. I had some DT Swiss wheels built from Excel Sports and they are solid as well. Also a pair built by Joe Young in 2006. I have yet to have a bad experience getting custom built wheels so I am not spamming for Wheelbuilder.

My experience with Kinlin was good enough that I chose to stay with them from a 2008 choice. I am not sure if this guy is still building.

The front hub is White Industries and the rear Powertap SL+, but if it were not for using the PT I would have chosen White Ind. for both front and rear hubs.
The wheels from both builders have been very solid through all sorts of pavement and environmental conditions. I never needed to have these wheels adjusted, execpt for the first PT hub had issues with a strain gauge after a year.

When I bought my C-dale in 2007 I wanted to upgrade the wheels and the shop owner handed me a carbon American Classic. I was amazed how light it felt, but the shop owner then said, "I would not sell you these because they wear out too quickly." He went on to explain the same things the previous posts have mentioned about the flimsy hub. I was very amazed that he was candid about a product in his inventory. I ended up going to a wheel builder in 2008 for my upgrade and now will always go to a wheel builder. I end up getting a good wheel from good components, built for my body weight and style of riding/training at often times cheaper and as light as some of the showroom wheels.
Thanks for the effort and responses! I went with the Reynolds DV3K setup. Based on my shop's recommendations and ya'lls response I think it'll fit my bill. I never ride in the rain, so braking won't be much of an issue.

Problem solved!