The Sun-Ringle Charger Pro Wheelset is billed as an tubeless compatible wheelset for all mountain riders with an XC light weight. With the proliferation of new carbon wheelsets in the market place, I’m not sure the XC light part is still as accurate with the bar for XC light raised that much higher. However, after a full season of thrashing I’ve found the Charger Pros are more than living up to their reputation as a durable, all around wheelset —light for its class and price point—suitable for the majority of riders looking for a solid, tubeless compatible set of hoops that can hold up to aggressive trail riding.
Initial Problems… somewhat easy to resolve
After my first few rides on the wheel, I have to confess, I wasn’t as stoked as you might have expected. Turns out the wheels I received where part of a batch that didn’t have spoke prep applied to the threads, resulting in spokes coming unthreaded during the first few rides. To their credit, I didn’t even notice it was happening, as the wheels continued to spin true, with a minimal of side to side wobble. It wasn’t until I heard a pinging of a loose spoke bouncing around that I realized there even was an issue. Fortunately, an email to Sun remedied the issue, and a care package with replacement spokes and nipples (as well as replacement tubeless tape, as I had to redo the tubeless setup) arrived a few days later. Other than the inconvenience of having to reinstall my tubeless tires, the wheels were unharmed. After adding green loctite to the rest of the spoke nipples on both wheels, I haven’t experience any further issues with spokes de-tensioning, although now I’m a bit paranoid and check them more regularly than normal. (regular inspection of our gear is something a performance rider should do anyway)
Installing WTB TCS Tubeless Tires
I came into the Tubeless game pretty late. I bought a Stans Tubeless kit several seasons ago with every intention of installing it on a set of wheels to try it out. I’m pretty sure it is still in the bottom of one of my parts bins. However, with these wheels, making the switch was an incredibly easy affair. Stans Tape comes preinstalled on the rims, so it was just a matter of mounting the tires up, seating them, then adding sealant. While I’m unable to comment on how well the wheels work with other tubeless tire offerings, I’ve found that paired with WTB TCS tires going tubeless was simple with a minimal amount of sweat and elbow grease. Installing the tires, seating the bead and getting an air tight seal was a piece of cake.
Provided of course, you follow the directions properly. My first install with WTB Bronson tires went smoothly as I followed the directions to a T. When I changed my tires out to the new Motos, I initially forgot to swab the tires with soapy water. Forgetting this crucial step in tire installation left me frustrated for a few minutes, as the tire wouldn’t seat properly and get air tight. However, once I remembered to sponge on warm soapy water, the casing did a much better job of easing its way to the bead. I also found the tires to consistently “pop” into place around 40-50psi.
The rims themselves are drilled with conventional eyelets and use standard spoke nipples. To make them air tight, special rim tape (provided) is required. While some find this a bit annoying, I am a fan as it gives you a lot more options while traveling. If you blow a spoke or damage the wheels in a crash, it is completely serviceable, and if you don’t carry extra tape, the only penalty is that you have to stick a standard tube in to get home or continue riding. Which you have to do in the event of a tire casing puncture anyway. I found that Stan’s sealant worked well for me until I hit a rock just right tore a hole large enough the sealant couldn’t save it. Installing a tube and a boot let me finish the ride. (Scratch one not inexpensive tubeless tire) While some find this a negative, serviceability is always a positive in my book.
Also of note is that I’ve never installed these with anything other than a floor pump since I don’t keep an air compresser in my apartment. If going tubeless was so easy, I would have done it years ago. (from my days in the trenches in bike shops, I can tell you it wasn’t always so easy)
Compatible with all the forks you own
One of the best parts of this wheel set is that it is easily converted to fit 15mm, 20mm and quick release forks. (the bearings appear to be easily serviceable as well, although I haven’t had the need to address this yet) All the adaptors are included with the wheels and the change over is simple. The 20mm hub caps have a retaining ring that is pressed on, but if you’re changing the wheels back and forth say between a 20mm axle and 15mm axle fork, I’ve found that the wheels work just fine without the piece. (although the hub adapters can then be easily misplaced or lost if you aren’t paying attention) Sun Ringle also offers additional rear axle options. (sold separately) With a few swapped axle caps you can covert the rear to run 135×12 or 142×12, making the wheels an upgrade you won’t regret when you upgrade or swap your frame/ fork for something new.
I’ve been running these wheels on a 6″ travel Santa Cruz Nomad and riding them hard. Occasionally I’ve swapped the wheels out for heavier wheels equipped with DH tires for dirt jumping and hucking abuse, but for the most part I’ve been beating the wheels pretty consistently. They’ve held up well under a lot of aggressive riding. The only obvious wear would be in the tire decals, which I’ve heard from other users as well. Fortunately, they are easily removed once they get too scratched up.
The Charger Pros list for about $600, which is pretty dang reasonable for a high end set of wheels. They weigh in 50 grams more than comparable models from Easton, but for $600, you’ll only be able to afford a rear wheel and tires from the competition. (we’ve also experienced issues with our Easton wheels with play in the bearings, making it hard to recommend them) Sun Ringle has done a great job of making a premium offering and somehow is able to offer it at a price point the competition isn’t able to match. Although I had initial issues with a lack of spoke prep on my spokes, once that was resolved, the only nagging complaint is the decals, and they will likely just get pulled at some point. Overall these wheels stand out as one of the best products for your buck and a recommended upgrade.
Having ridden a number of wheels, they all do a great job when they’re new. The real test comes a season or two later after they’ve been banged off rocks and roots from here to the high plains. I’m still riding on the Chargers, the hubs still spin freely, haven’t required much in maintenance, and have required a minimal amount of truing. Not all wheels can attest to this. (for example, I have an Easton Havoc DH rear wheel that is sitting in my closet that needs a new bearing kit to resolve issues with play that I can’t adjust out. No bueno. )
- Stan’s No Tubes™ BST Technology (W/Rim Tape)
- 28mm Rim Width
- Available in 26″, 29er
- Premium, Cartridge Bearing, Straight-Pull Hubs
- Quick Release, QR15, 20mm Thru-Axle Front Axle Options
- (All end caps included)
- Quick Release, 135×12, 142×12 Rear Axle Options
- (12mm axle end caps sold separately)
- Wheelsmith Straight-Pull, Double-Butted Spokes
- Wheelsmith Alloy Nipples
- 24/24 (28/28 for 29er) Hole Count
- Cro-moly skewers
- 26″-1699g , 29er-1850g
Check them out: Sun Ringle Charger Pro Wheelset