Sun Ringle Lightens Up: Black Flag Pro SL 29 and Charger Pro SL 26 Wheels Unboxed, Weighed
What could be better than Sun Ringle’s current line of wheels? Even lighter version of Sun Ringle’s wheels, of course. Specifically, the new Pro SL variant which is being offered on both 26″ and 29″ options on both the Black Flag XC wheelset, and the Charger AM wheelset. We’ve been told that 27.5″ options are in the pipeline as well.
This latest line of wheels from Sun Ringle combines the proven durability of their previous wheels with new rims, spokes, and some tweaks of the hub to make them even lighter, stronger, and more stiff. We received a pair of Black Flag Pro SL 29s and Charger Pro SL 26s to put through the ringer, in order to make sure the reduction in weight hasn’t reduced any durability. How much weight reduction? Continue on to find out.
Take the wheels out of the box, and it’s clear why Sun Ringle wheels may be one of the best bargains going – inside you will find everything short of a pump that you would need to set up the wheels. Wheelsets are shipped with adapters for nearly ever axle standard with QR, 15mm, and 20mm thru axle for the front hub, and 135mm QR and 142×12 thru axle caps for the rear. If you choose to run the quick release options, skewers are also included.
Due to the fact that Sun Ringle licenses Stan’s tubeless technology and rim design, the rims come pre-taped with Stan’s rim tape, and in the box you will find tubeless valve stems and two bottles of Stan’s sealant. To cap it all off, 4 spokes and 4 nipples are included should you need to make any repairs. All of this means that you just have to open the box and you’re pretty much ready to go, no need to order additional parts just to make the wheels fit your current bike.
Shown from left to right are the different axle adapters included with the wheels – 20mm thru axle ft, 15mm thru axle ft, QR ft, QR rr, 142×12 rr. Our wheelsets didn’t include instructions for the hub adapters, so if you need a reference the top row is the left or non-drive side adapter, and the bottom row is the right, drive-side adapter.
All of the front wheel adapter utilize o-rings to stay in place with the exception of the 20mm adapter. Shown on the top two photos, the adapters sit in the hub shell and then the two rings that are included are press fit into the hub shell holding the adapter in place. Ours had an extremely tight fit, so make sure you have everything oriented properly before installing. The bottom two photos show a 15mm thru axle being installed with the simple o-ring fitment.
The rear hub however, uses a thread on cap for the drive side with a press fit cap on the non drive side. To swap them out, first remove the non-drive cap by giving it a tug with your hands, and then unscrew the drive-side cap. To do this you will need to keep the axle from turning – which is why the non-drive axle face has a slot in it. On the Chargers though, the bond between the drive-side cap and the blue Loctite was strong enough that I had to use an axle vice to gently clamp the axle in place and keep it from turning – worth noting so you don’t chew up the axle trying to get it undone. The QR cap will use a 5mm allen wrench, and you will need a 17mm cone wrench for the 142×12 cap.
Inside you will find the new freehub body that provides 50% faster engagement than the standard Black Flag and Charger wheels. There are 4 pawls with , each with a dedicated, captured spring.
In order to reduce the weight as much as possible, the hubs has been machined down in order to accept straight pull bladed spokes and remove every unnecessary gram.
Reducing weight was definitely important with the Pro SL line, but it wasn’t at the expense of performance. Between the straight pull, bladed Wheelsmith spokes, and rims constructed from stronger alloys with a taller profile, Sun Ringle says the new wheels are lighter, stronger, better, faster. The SL versions’ rims are 1mm narrower than the previous options making the Black Flag rim 23mm and the Charger rim 27mm.
About those weights, you’re looking at 1631g for the set of Black Flag Pro SL 29s, and 1570g for the Charger Pro SL 26s with valve cores installed – meaning both wheelsets came in under Sun Ringle’s claimed weights. If the durability claims turn out to be true, these wheels are looking pretty good for under a grand ($899.99 for 26″ models, and $924.99 for 29″ models)
If you’re really concerned about weight, we have the small parts covered for you too. Stay tuned as we put Sun Ringle’s newest wheels through the paces.