Wheel Diameter: 26”
28mm External Rim Width
23mm Internal Rim Width
Intended Use: All-Mountain
Premium, Cartridge Bearing, Straight-Pull Hubs
Wheelsmith Straight-Pull, Double-Butted Spokes
Wheelsmith Alloy Nipples
Bolted to: Pivot Firebird
Rider: 150 lbs., thinks he has more finesse than he actually does.
Duration of Test: About 5 months
Where: A bit of everything: Loam and roots in Fernie, B.C.; dust and rocks on Teton Pass, WY; gravel and braking bumps in Winter Park, CO.
[Editor's Note: We've updated this review, which originally ran Sept. 7, 2012, with a section about the wheelset's long-term durability.]
The SUNringlé Charger Pros offer a lot of attractive selling points on paper, which is why I bought them. I was looking for a wheelset that would give a nice tire profile without weighing so much that it was a pig on climbs, and the Charger Pros are precisely that. But the benefits of the Charger Pros don’t stop there: they come tubeless ready (and even include two servings of Stan’s), they come with adaptors to fit most frames and forks, and they do all that at a fairly attractive price point (MSRP: $600, and they can be easily found for less).
The rims on the Charger Pros are essentially just re-branded Stan’s rims, but there are some noteworthy differences. The rims measure a bit over 28mm wide externally, which yields an internal width of around 23mm. This gives you a nicely squared-off tire profile when running most 2.3” tires, and there would be no issue going up to a 2.5” or down to a 2.1”. The rims are also eyeleted, which is a change from Stan’s branded rims. In theory, the addition of eyelets allows for higher spoke tension, which in turn yields a stiffer wheel.
Working our way inward, each wheel is laced to the hub with 24 double-butted Wheelsmith spokes and aluminum nipples. While straight-pull spokes can be more difficult to find if a replacement is needed (more on this later), they save a bit of weight and remove one area where normal spokes are especially prone to fatigue: the “J” bend. Straight-pull spokes also have the benefit of being much easier to lace when a replacement is needed—no removal of disc rotors or cassettes is necessary.
As noted earlier, the wheels include adaptors to convert both the front and rear hubs to most common trail bike configurations. The front hub includes adaptors for 20mm, 15mm, and standard quick release, while the rear includes adaptors for 142×12, 135×12, and standard 135. The wheels also come with quick releases for both hubs. The only common frames / forks that these won’t fit on are those with 150mm rear ends or strange forks—Lefties, DUC32s, etc. On my bike, I’m using the 20mm front and standard 135 rear. My only (very) minor gripe is that the 20mm front adaptors shift around a bit while slapping the wheel into the fork, requiring some attention to make sure everything lines up. This isn’t a big deal, and doesn’t in any way affect the wheel’s performance once mounted. The quick release I’m using in the rear works fine, although it’s not as smooth (or light) as some of the nicer quick releases out there, such as the Shimano XTR’s.
Both hubs use a standard 6-bolt disc mount, and the rear hub features a relatively unexciting freehub body with 24 points of engagement, which is what most common hubs have, though there are plenty of options (Chris King, Industry Nine, etc.) that offer both quicker engagement and correspondingly higher price tags. For those who care, the freehub has a very audible buzz, but it’s not as absurdly loud as some other aftermarket offerings.
The sum of all these parts is a wheelset that weighs in at an entirely respectable 1,700 grams. This is lighter than most of the other comparable wheelsets out there, and you’ll most likely have to throw down a substantial chunk of change to build yourself a wheelset with a similar rim width and weight.
While the Charger Pros come with either white or black rims, the hubs and nipples are always anodized red. The anodization doesn’t look to be of the quality of some higher priced components (i.e. Chris King); while this is tricky to describe, the anodizing looks a bit “cheap.” It just doesn’t quite have the luster of nice anodizing. That said, no one is going to notice once the bike is moving.
The Mavic Crossmax SX wheels offer excellent stiffness, durability, and performance for all-mountain XC and freeriders, especially if you can tolerate a little maintenance.
Time to go tubeless? Marshal Olson thinks so.