With all of the media hubbub constantly surrounding carbon components, we tend to forget the traditional materials. SUNringle has not forgotten, and has continued to produce lighter and lighter aluminum wheels. For those who are interested in aggressive trail riding, enduro, or all mountain riding, the new Charger Pro SL may be the perfect wheelset for you.
Charger Pro SL Specs
I reviewed the Charger Pro wheelset back in 2010, and the Charger Pro SL has changed significantly. For starters, the rim is 27mm and not 28mm wide. Another major change is the deeper rim profile of 24mm vs the 22mm profile of the Charger Pro.
Along with the redesign of the over all shape, the Charger Pro SLs use Stan’s BST technology and come tubeless ready. That is, the tape is installed: all you have to do is install the valve stems, sealant, and tires.
BST technology is a redesign of the bead nip, so the interface now holds the bead more securely compared to the previous rim bead design. Overall, a reduction of 2-4mm in height is what it took to effect this change.
The wheels I am reviewing are the 26in version, but the Charger Pro SLs also come in 27.5in and 29in. The wheels are available with quick release, QR15, and 20mm thru-axle front options (all end caps included).
In the rear, the wheels are available with quick release, 135×12mm, and 142×12mm axle options (12mm axle end caps sold separately).
The Pro SL wheels use a straight-pull spoke design, with 24 bladed Wheelsmith spokes and alloy nipples front and back.
The gorgeous hubs use premium cartridge bearings. I had a friend come over and spin one of the wheels while it was on a bike stand, and it was almost getting weird waiting for the wheel to come to a stop.
As for weight, the Charger Pro SL come in at 1550g. For comparison, Mavic sells the Crossmax SX wheels, and they weigh 1755g. The Crossmax ST wheels, on the other hand, weigh 1590g. Both of those wheelsets are in the same category as the Charger Pro SL, but the wheels reviewed here weigh the least!
Setting up the Charger Pro SL was a snap. I had no issues installing the provided Stan’s valves. When installing the valve, I suggest pressing the valve in as well as tightening the lock nut to prevent any leaks down the road. With the exception of that bit of advice, following all the instructions provided and using copious amounts of soapy water, I was able to snap on my favorite tubeless-ready tire easily with very little pressure and a floor pump. I ran my favorite set of Fat Alberts for the duration of the review.
As far as the adapters were concerned, I had to change up the front a few times, since I switched between 20mm and 15mm forks. That wasn’t too much fun. The 20mm adapter uses fixing rings which are pressed in. It’s easy enough to get them in, but taking them out requires some finesse.
Riding a mixed bag of terrain, I hoped to get in as many different trail conditions as I could. After all, these are considered a trail / enduro / all-mountain wheelset.
Right off the batt, I noticed these are different from the original Charger Pros mechanically: the cassette engagement is tighter. The use of four twin-toothed cam pawls, all with their own springs, makes for a 50% improvement in engagement resolution. Cassette engagement was one of the things I wasn’t happy with on the Charger Pros, but when getting into the technical stuff on the Charger Pro SLs, I have better pedal control over the bike.
Riding trails like Bent Rim in Hilton Falls, and even Fresh Air and Raisin Run at Blue Mountain, I had no issues with snapping spokes or dings. When pitching the bike in corners, I was happy to note that I couldn’t tell if the wheel was flexing: I still had great control. Over many rides, I still have had no issues with bearings, and they still feel as new as the day they were installed.
With a price tag of $900 for the pair, the Charger Pro SLs provide all you need to get yourself rolling on a fast set of hoops that satisfy performance, light weight, and durability requirements.
A big thanks to Scott from SUNringle for sending up these wheels for review!