The Sun Ringle name always makes me think of a rising sun – a new day, a new adventure. Well for 2010, Sun Ringle has done it again with exciting new XC and AM wheels fit for any epic adventure. And looking forward to 2011, Sun Ringl is working on fresh wheels for the FR / DH / DJ crowd.
I recently got a chance to talk with Scott Boyd, Product Manager from Sun Ringl, about the history of the company and about some exciting new products that will be released this year. I also managed to squeak in a few questions about what we can look forward to in 2011.
Sun Metal Products dates back to 1946 when Ken-Jen Metal Products started producing tricycle seats. In 1948, Ken-Jen became Sun Metal Products and started a wire-spoke wheel line. In the 70s, Sun began production of alloy rims for high performance, off-road motorcycle racing and the technology eventually made its way into high-end bicycle rims in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Sun expanded production facilities in Indiana for high-end alloy rims and built manufacturing plants in China to provide products for the growing Asian bicycle manufacturing industry. Sun Products purchased Ringl Racing Components and in 2005, Hayes acquired the merged company.
Scott, like many of us who are passionate about MTB, started off early enjoying mountain bikes. Like me, Scott worked at a bike shop in high school and college which landed him a position at Hayes starting in 1998. In the early days he provided technical support at NORBA and World Cup events and after a few corporate acquisitions he moved into the role of Product Manager at Sun Ringl, where he’s been for the last two years.
After speaking with Scott for just a few minutes you get the sense that he’s an extremely focused individual which in this line of business is a good thing. At the same time he’s very personable and digs talking about bike products as much as you and I dig riding them.
So what can we expect from Sun Ringl this year?
We have an exciting new tubeless compatible wheel platform and we’ve partnered with Stans No Tubes to license their patented BST (Bead Socket Technology). The line consists of the Black Flag Pro and Expert (XC) and Charger Pro and Expert (AM) models. Each are available in 26 and 29er.
(Our) focus (this year) is on the Pro series: The Black Flag Pro is a sub-1600g cross country wheel set using a 24mm wide rim and the Charger Pro is a sub-1700g all mountain wheel set using a 28mm wide rim. The 26 versions (feature) a 24-hole direct pull lacing pattern and the 29er versions (feature) a 28-hole direct pull lacing pattern. Both wheel sets have two color options to choose from. Additionally, the wheels are available and compatible with todays axle standards. For the front: standard quick release, 15mm, and 20mm. For the rear: standard quick release, 135×12, and the new X12 or 142×12 axle.
The other hot item we are working on is our SRD Carbon wheel. Its a 26mm wide, 1550g wheel set. It utilizes the same hubs as our Black Flag Pro, allowing for the flexibility of all todays axle standards.
Are you aligning the way you name parts like Manitou (Pro, Expert, Comp, Sport)?
Yes. It is a system that is universally understood by cyclists and helps identify the level of the product.
What can we expect to see come April from Sun?
During April, we will be attending the Sea Otter Classic, and the new Black Flag Pro and Charger Pro wheels will be the highlights.
Are there any restrictions as far as (rider) weight is concerned with the SRD Carbon wheels?
The SRD Carbon wheels are still in the development phase. I can say the wheel set has a stout 26mm outer width carbon rim. The wheel isnt meant to be the lightest race day wheel, but (it’s) a 1550g wheel set that is light enough for XC racing and durable enough for everyday AM use.
When I was at the show I noticed many different colored wheels like blue, yellow, black, white, and red. Which ones are you going with?
The wheels at Interbike (actually) showed just a few color options. The Black Flag Series and the SRD Carbon will use a touch of gold (anodized finish). The Charger will use red (anodized) hubs.
I also noticed Sun Ringl offers many 29er wheel models. How many model options are there?
We currently have 5 wheel set offerings and 6 rim offerings. One of our newest 29er offerings is the DH MTX33 model. This is currently being tested by a top World Cup team. Time will tell if they give up the 26 DH bikes for 29ers.
I see you’re offering direct pull wheels, are you using Wheelsmith spokes on those as well?
Yes, the direct pull spokes are Wheelsmith spokes made in our Milwaukee facility.
Tell me a bit more about the Stans technology that you plan on using on the wheels for this year.
SunRingle is the first in the industry to license the Bead Socket Technology from NoTubes.com for both the Black Flag and Charger series.
The rims are wider inside than other designs with similar outside dimensions, meaning a wider base for the tire and improved ride quality. The design also incorporates shorter sidewalls, reducing pinch flats and the risk of denting the rim when using low pressures. In addition, the design allows for the use of NoTubes yellow sealing tape and valve stems for a tubeless application using standard tube-type or tubeless tires and NoTubes tire sealant.
NoTubes yellow sealing tape will be pre-installed on the wheels making the wheels tubeless-ready. The valves and sealant will also be included in the box (with our) aftermarket wheel sets.
I’d like to thank Scott and the folks at Sun Ringl for giving us a glimpse on what’s to come for 2010 and 2011. Goodbye winter – here comes the Sun!