Is this the last pair of 26” wheels that I’ll ever review? Probably not, but the way things are going, it may not be far fetched. Fortunately for Sun Ringle, they offer most of their wheels including the Charger Pro SLs in both 27.5” and 29” as well.
Just what are the Charger Pro SLs? Think Enduro before it was an industry buzz word. The Charger Pro SLs are the lighter, fancier version of the burly Chargers that challenge the notion of “light, strong, and cheap – pick two.”
Are the Charger Pro SLs the bargain they seem? Check it out, next.
Sun Ringle has done a great job of preparing their wheels, so that nearly whatever setup you want to run, everything is included in the box. With QR, 15mm and 20mm end caps for the front hub, and QR, 135×12 and 142×12 endcaps for the rear the wheels are prepped for just about any modern mountain bike short of DH bikes. Running the wheels tubeless is as easy as mounting the tires to the already taped-with-Stan’s-rim –tape rims, adding the included bottle of Stan’s sealant, and inflating the already installed valve core. Should things get sideways, there are even replacement spokes in the box.
In my case, the initial ride proved to be a bit concerning as hard efforts were met with what felt like the freehub body slipping. This turned out to be nothing more than the pawl drive ring not being properly torqued from the factory, and after the first ride it tightened itself up and hasn’t been an issue since. Sun Ringle confirmed that this was an issue for the very first pre-production run , and that it was not an issue once the ring had self tightened. Sun Ringle also mentioned the rings were all properly tightened for production runs.
With that little hiccup out of the way, the wheels were free to fly, which is exactly what they did. For fairly burly aluminum wheels, the Charger Pro SLs are impressively agile while retaining the stiffness to push deep into the corners or through rock gardens. More than once I thought I had flat spotted the rim for sure, only to continue down the trail without a scratch. From a performance to $ ratio, these wheels have limited company retailing for $899 and weighing in at 1570g with tape and valve stems.
If I had to find a weakness, it would probably be the rear hub cone wanting to loosen up – though this was fixed with a bit of blue loc-tite. In order to change to 142×12, you have to remove the QR cap which was loc-tited as well, and if you neglect a little loc-tite when reassembling, it will loosen slightly under hard riding. I think these days, it would be safe to ship the wheels in 142×12 form since that is fairly common and would prevent the issue in the first place.
Some riders may be put off by the noise of the freehub as well, but it’s not something I ever took notice of. It’s audible while riding, without being annoying.
Otherwise, the Charger Pro SLs have proven to be every bit as good as anticipated. The wheels haven’t seen a spoke wrench to date, and after a bit of loc-tite on the rear hub cone, the hubs are free of any play after many miles. They might lack the panache of a pricey pair of carbon hoops, but if you’re looking for performance and value, don’t over look Sun Ringle.
- Everything included in the box short of tires to get you rolling ASAP
- Wide compatibility of axle standards included
- XD Driver Body will be available mid September
- Stiff, strong, wide, and light
- Highly flat spot resistant
- Tubeless ready
- Freehub drive ring may not be properly tightened if you got one of the earliest shipments (riding it will snug it up)
- Audible freehub (only a low if you don’t like hearing your hub)