INTERBIKE 2009 – You may recall Manitou’s MRD skunkworks development program launched years ago Ã‚Â to develop race-level products and upgrades. Ã‚Â Well, Hayes Bicycle GroupÃ‚Â (Manitou, Sun-Ringle, Answer and Hayes are all owned by Hayes Bicycle Group) is carrying the “Racing Development” program over to their other brands, too, and the first to get the super-elite treatment is Sun-Ringle.
Their new top of the line wheels get the SRD (Sun-Ringle Racing Development) treatment in the guise of carbon fiber rims and new hubs for the SRD Carbon Wheels. Ã‚Â In addition to this, they’ve completely redesigned their Black Flag and Charger wheelsetsÃ‚Â (both 26″ and 29er for each) with better rims and hubs and flashy new looks.
** UPDATED 10/1/09 – Weights for all Black Flag and Charger Models added to post **
Hit ‘more’ to see them all with specs and pricing…
The Sun-Ringle SRD Carbon wheels have a nice matte carbon finish juxtaposed with shiny gold hubs and incognito black spokes. Ã‚Â Like the weight, all the bling is kept at the center of the wheel.
These things are hot off the mold. Ã‚Â HBG’s marketing guy, Denny, said he didn’t even know these wheels would be shown because they weren’t sure they’d be ready in time for Interbike. Ã‚Â Notice the woven carbon fiber on the interior rim wall and center line (exterior, see top photo) while the sidewalls are UD fibers to match current frame styles. Ã‚Â And these come in at a nice wide 26mm rim to help spread the tire out for better traction.
The SRD wheelset will share the hubs with the new Black Flags. Ã‚Â Specs include: Weight (1550g/set), price ($1,500), 26″ clincher only at launch, and they’ll be available in January.
Sun-Ringle’s fresh new Black Flag wheelsets get two models, the Expert and Pro, both available in either Black or Gold and 26″ or 29er.
There are a couple of big changes for the Black Flag line beyond the cosmetics. Ã‚Â First, the rim width goes up to 24mm from the very, very skinny 20-ish mm of the originals. Ã‚Â This should help a lot with traction and ease of tire mounting. Ã‚Â Second, they’re the first company to license Stan’s NoTubes internal rim profile, making them all Tubeless compatible based on one of the leading designs. Ã‚Â All you need is the normal yellow sealing tape to cover the spoke holes and you’re good to go with tubeless tires.
The trademark of Stan’s rims is a very low sidewall profile, which we discussed the advantages of with Stan himself in this interview. Ã‚Â Because Stan didn’t want Sun-Ringle competing on rim sales, the Black Flags are available as full wheelsets only.
The Expert gets black hubs with normal flanges and J-bend spokes (below), and the Pros get Gold or Black with straight pull spokes (both photos above).
The only downside to the new Black Flags is they’ve done away with a Ceramic Bearing option. Ã‚Â We’ve been testing one of the current versions with Ceramic for a few months and they are aaaawesome.
Specs on the Black Flags are:
- Pro 26″ – 1620 1585g
- Pro 29er – 1685g
- Expert 26″ – 1825 1785g
- Expert 29er – 1885g
- Spoke Count – Pro: Ã‚Â 24 (26″) or 28 (29er) spokes, 3-cross, Wheelsmith DB14
- Spoke Count – Expert: 24 (26″) or 28 (29er) spokes, 2-cross, Wheelsmith SS14
The new Sun-Ringle Chargers are also available in Pro and Expert models, and both are available in 26″ and 29er and come in either black or white.
The Chargers fall into the All-Mountain performance category and get beefier 28mm rims, which is really about all that separates them from the Black Flags. Ã‚Â They also get the Stan’s NoTubes rim treatment. Ã‚Â The rims between the Pro and Expert models are the same, giving you a welded rim at a $450 (per set) pricepoint on the Charger Experts…pretty good.
The hub options are the same, either fancy Direct Pull on the Charger Pro (in Red only) or the black flanged hub with J-bend spokes on the Expert.
The end caps on the hubs are interchangeable, allowing you to run either standard 9mm QR or 15mm or 20mm thru-axles on the front. Ã‚Â On the rear, you can run 135mm QR or 12mm axles or the new X-12 standard 142mm wide. Ã‚Â Whether or not they’ll provide all end-cap options with the wheelset is TBD. Ã‚Â Weights are:
- Charger Pro 26″ – Ã‚Â 1699g ($599)
- Charger Pro 29er – 1799g
- Charger Expert 26″ – 1899g ($450)
- Charger Expert 29er – 1999g
* Sun-Ringle’s product manager said the weights on the “Expert” level Black Flags and Chargers are for current prototypes but that they’re working to remove a little more weight before production begins in January. Ã‚Â We’ll update when they’re closer to launch.
** Pricing for other models is not determined yet.