Charge say they wanted to produce a 29er wheelset that was “light enough to keep the wheels rolling, but tough enough to deal with the extra leverage of a 29er”. We think they’ve managed to do a pretty good job of that.
There are far lighter wheels available, but these deflect less over rough terrain than many of them, and they’re cheaper than most other wheels that are this stiff, too. The 32 stainless steel butted spokes are tightly laced with longer than average nipples, and the 20mm (inside diameter) rim beds have stainless steel eyelets for extra strength in this high-stress area. There’s a choice of gloss black or silver for the rims.
Decent stainless steel quick-release skewers with aluminium levers are included, which is a nice touch (you don’t always get them), while the wheel bearings are all zero-maintenance sealed cartridge units – two in the front and four in the rear to support that (aluminium) cassette body. With QRs fitted the front wheel weighs 1,115g, while the rear comes in at a hefty 1,305g.
So far we’ve only had these fitted for about four hours of riding, but our initial impressions are excellent: they’re well built, and roll and corner as well as many wheels we’ve tested that cost twice as much.
We set them up with Ritchey 2.1in tyres and Stan’s No Tubes rim strips/sealant. We like the conventional three-cross spoke lacing and, while the heavy-gauge spokes add weight, their strength – combined with the tight build – creates solid straight-line tracking with no obvious flex under side loads. This is far more crucial on 29er wheels than on 26ers, as light spokes of such length can otherwise make for a weak wheel structure. These are tough, no-nonsense wheels.