Sun Ringle Charger Pro MTB Wheelset Review

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Not too long ago I did a write up about Sun Ringle and spoke with product manager Scott Boyd. Well I recently got a call from Scott and was stoked to hear that he was sending me a set of the new Charger Pro wheels to take for a spin.

The Sun Ringle Charger Pro wheels will be available for about $650 MSRP and should include just about every adapter you can think of (more on that later). The Charger Pro wheels are a total redesign from last year’s wheels starting with the Stan’s Notube rim profile which comes complete with rim strips, valves, and sealant so you can run these wheels tubeless if you want. The front wheel also comes with all the adapters that you will need: 20mm through axle, QR 15mm, and the QR 9mm. If that’s not enough you can also find the adapters and installation tools (sold seperately) to run 135 x 12mm or the new 142 x 12mm rear axle for just $20 each.

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The new Charger Pro sports a beefy 28mm wide rim with a 22.8mm inner bead which is the perfect balance between high strength and low weight. With the new Stan’s licensed bead lock incorporated into the rim profile and the deep 23.5mm section width you’re looking at one very strong wheel that will take it all season after season. (My wheels have already spent a lot of time on my FR rig). The drop center rim with safety ridges aid in both tire installation and in keeping the tires in position when riding.

Red anodized aluminum spoke nipples from wheelsmith, forged from 7000 series aluminum, keep overall wheel weight low without loosing strength. Compared to other spoke nipples, these babies have been hammered into shape (others tend to be cut) which adds to the durability of the spoke nipple.

Of course the shining star here is the all new, 24 hole hub design that ensures no two spokes will ever come in contact with each other. The Charger Pro hub also features large bearings to support the wheel and can take any abuse you’re willing to give them. The bottom line is these hubs make the wheels stronger, smoother spinning, and longer lasting.

Swapping between axle sizes is a painless experience that nearly anyone can handle themselves. For the rear wheel adapter you’ll need to use the included tool to hold the axle as necessary for removal of the adapters.

Installing a set of ITS 909 DH tires was a piece of cake. I decided to try these tires with the Stan’s fluid and no tubes to see how well the Charger Pro would perform with a non-specific tubeless tire. Using an air compressor I had no problem inflating the tires to the proper pressure; if you don’t have an air compressor, a good quality floor pump will also do the trick (just takes a little extra work).

The great thing about these wheels other than the cool graphics, blood red hubs, and bone white rims is the support that comes along with the wheel. Everything you need is there for you: the Stan’s rim strips and valves, Stan’s fluid, and all the front axle adapters you might need. And for those who have a larger rear axle, the 12 x 135mm or 12 x 142mm axle adapters go for just 20 bucks including the tool!

Performance on the trail

On the trail I found the Charger Pro wheels to be stiff but not overly so. Some wheels that are on the market (particularly those that are mass produced) have a period of adjustment where you can hear the spokes creaking and settling in but I didn’t get that with the Charger Pros. From the second they were on the bike I didn’t hear a thing from them.

Taking the bikes into corners I got a good feel for the trail without a hint of wandering or wobble from the wheel. The wheel mass is low enough that it’s a cinch to change lines quickly but thanks to the strength of these wheels in combination with a larger volume tire you can blast over just about anything. The sturdiness of the rim took rock gardens like a champ without complaints and I was impressed with how straight the rim remained after repeated blows. The overall strength reminds me of a much heavier wheelset that I used not too long ago. The Charger Pro gets high marks for cool looks, decent weight, and toughness all in once package. Nice.

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Although the Charger is marketed as an AM wheel, you could easily consider this for your freeriding days as well. Even if you’re not a freerider, these wheels should also fit the bill perfectly for fairly technical trail riding. The 24 spoke two-cross configuration is the perfect set-up for a wheel that will be changing direction frequently (read: high speed). Now if you’re a straight-line hucker that hits monster gaps (25 foot or larger) you may want to consider something a bit beefier like the ADD wheels from Sun Ringl. But if you’re someone like myself that does hit the FR trails while keeping it to a sane level (drops 15′ foot or less with smooth transitions) then these should be right up there on your short list of high performance wheels.

Specs from Sun Ringl:

  • Stan’s No Tubes BST Tubeless Technology >>
  • Premium Direct Pull Hubs with Japanese Precision Bearings
  • Wheelsmith Double Butted Spokes
  • Lightweight AM Wheel – 1699g / Pair
  • Available in 29er
  • Hubs are easily convertible to today’s axle standards – 20mm, 15mm and QR end caps included*
  • Wheels include Stan’s No Tubes Yellow Sealing Tape, Sealant, and Valves*

I would like to thank the folks at Sun Ringl for providing these wheels for testing and review.

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