SUN-Ringl has be around for a long time now but these days they’re delivering some especially sweet products. Recently the good folks down at SUN-Ringl sent me perhaps one of their best kept secrets (pssstt – listen up weight weenies). At just 1421 grams for the set (including quick release skewers), the Black Flag Ceramic Diskis a super lightweight MTB wheel set, especially compared to similar Mavic and Easton sets that weigh 1550+ grams.
Looking at these wheels I got all goose-bumpy – well not literally but I don’t know how else to describe the feeling of unboxing such an artfully crafted wheel set. The build quality of the Black Flag wheels is incredible – the spoke line was dead straight (which contributes to a longer lasting wheel build) and all the spokes were tensioned precisely. Overall the Black Flag wheels have relatively high tension at the spokes (though not as high as others like the Easton XC-Ones) which sets the overall feel and performance characteristics of the wheels. Spinning the wheel in free air I could really see how smooth the ceramic bearings were and just how true this wheel set was right out of the box. Can you say butter?
Placing a set of XC tires on the Black Flags was bit of a chore, though that probably had something to do with my tire choice. Other than that installation was a snap – just bolted on my rotors (160mm front and 140mm rear) and a cassette and I was off to the trails.
Talk about lightweight! At first I was a little worried that the Blag Flag wheels were really a set of road wheels in disguise because they felt so light. On the XC trails I was floored at how much faster and how many taller gears I could push with these wheels and I found that I was riding the large front ring a whole lot more than on my typical training ride. Putting the power down, these wheels just went – the low rotational mass combined with the ceramic bearings make for a super fast rolling wheel set. For such a light set of wheels I was impressed by the amount of control these babies offered in tight, twisty turns. I found these wheels to be stiff enough to keep them pointed where I wanted without being so stiff that they knocked my teeth loose.
Overall the Sun-Ringle Black Flag Ceramic wheel set is great for its intended purpose – fast XC trail riding. While you won’t want to use these if you plan on hucking around, the Black Flag wheels are the perfect set to use for race day. If you’re on the heavier side of 180lb these wheels may not be a good fit but running a slightly higher volume tire (2.1″ vs. 1.95″) can give you some added protection against heavy hits. The Black Flags Ceramic wheels are certainly an impressive and lightweight XC wheelset – give them a try!
The Sun-Ringl Black Flag Ceramic wheel set is sold at most great local bike shops for around $840 MSRP (some dealers may sell for less). Fortunately these wheels are not ber-expensive, especially compared to wheel sets with MSRP’s over $1100 for essentially the same thing.
Specifications from Sun-Ringle:
For XC race conditions
Black anodized, welded Equalizer 21 rims disc brake only
Black anodized Dirty Flea hub set with sealed ceramic bearings
Hole Count: Front 28 and rear 28
Wheelsmith high performance spokes black finish
Wheelsmith alloy nipples black ano
New SUN-Ringle alloy QR with hollow chromoly axles