Sun Ringle Pro SL and 650b wheels for 2013

Plus news on Manitou Absolute+ and Hayes Crosshair

Hayes Components have a lot going on among their brands, but Sun Ringle posted the biggest product news during the Deer Valley PressCamp last week. The high-performance, economically priced brand launched an SL line, which includes new Black Flag and Charger models in 26in, 29in and 650b. These are lighter and wider than the basic Pro models, which will stay in the line.

Along with the wheel news, Hayes revisited the plethora of improvements they’ve rolled out this spring. This has included the Crosshair set screw adjustment featured on their hydraulic brake line, the 20/20 Marathon bar from Answer and a new tuning kit for Manitou’s Absolute+ dampers that allows dealers to make a half-dozen terrain- and rider-specific tweaks.

Sun Ringle Black Flag and Charger Pro SL

Sun Ringle’s economical but high-performance Black Flag Pro and Charger Pro wheels have massive axle compatibility and a BST (Bead Socket Technology) rim profile licensed by Stan’s NoTubes. The Hayes engineers have taken these hoops’ massive feature-sets and made them lighter, wider and stronger.

The Black Flag Pro SL and Charger Pro SL wheels use new proprietary 6000 series aluminum alloy rims that are 1.5mm taller and 1mm narrower externally but with the same inner profiles – 23mm for Black Flag and 27mm for Charger. All the top-level Sun Ringle rims used on Black Flag, Charger and the ADD downhill wheels are eyeleted and welded.

The Charger Pro SL 29er wheelset – a 26in version is also available

Both of the new SL wheels will cost under US$900 and lose significant weight from the standard Pro models. The Black Flag Pro SL drops to 1,440g for a 26in wheel and 1,600g for the 29in version. The Charger Pro SL falls to 1,550g in 26in and 1,700g for the 29er. Sun Ringle’s 26in wheels use 24 spokes front and rear, with cross-two lacing, while the 29ers get 28 spokes with a cross-three pattern. The SL models use bladed spokes, which are thicker and add stiffness to the wheels.

The hubs are new, too, and the rear features a wider hub flange for a 30 percent increase in bracing angle, which Sun Ringle say helps increase stiffness for the 29in wheels. The freehub now uses a new four-pawl freehub mechanism, which decreases the engagement 50 percent from 15 degrees to 7.5. 

“As a general rule of thumb, when the engagement drops durability also slightly drops because the teeth are much smaller,” said Luke Musselman, aftermarket sales manager at Hayes. “What we’ve done is increase surface area between the pawl and the teeth [because each pawl engages two teeth]. Since we’ve increased the surface area between the pawls and teeth, durability is actually up on this freehub.”

All the wheels come with an array of end caps for axle compatibility, as well as being tubeless (via Stan’s NoTubes tape) with valve stems. They even come with Stan’s NoTubes sealant. New for 2013, Sun Ringle will include two replacement spokes for each spoke length used, as part of the new wheel package.

Charger Pro and Expert 650b

Also in 2013, Sun Ringle will enter the 650b fray. “We’ve gone with the Charger Pro, with its 28mm wide rim, and an Expert level [Charger] also,” said Musselman. “These will be available by Eurobike. The reason we’ve gone with the Charger 28mm [27mm internal width] rim is because the [650b] bikes are trending right now between 130mm and 160mm trail bikes.”

The Charger Pro 650b set will cost US$675

The new wheels don’t have the new SL hubs, bladed spokes or 6000 series rims but do sport all the features of the standard Pro series wheels. These include the full range of hub axle compatibility, the Stan’s NoTubes BST rim profile, tape and sealant.

The Charger Pro 650b wheels will run at US$675, and the Expert models costing US$525.

Manitou fork developments

“The goal is to make our forks the easiest to service in the industry,” said Scott Struve, Hayes Components marketing director.

Manitou previously had multiple dampers across their range, many of which overlapped in terms of features and function but not design or components. So over the last year or so, Manitou have streamlined their dampers to provide the TPC+ (Dorado Pro only) and Absolute+ with many tuning options.

Manitou’s new Absolute+ tuning kit for dealers

What’s new for 2013 is Manitou’s Absolute+ dealer tuning kit. The Absolute+ uses a shim-based compression circuit, and with this new kit Manitou offer a shim stack tuning guide, as well as all the parts and tools needed for a bike mechanic to modify the shim stack, tuning the fork to different terrains and specific rider preferences.

The Absolute+ tuning kit costs US$200 and comes stocked to tune six to 10 forks. Once a dealer has the kit, each part is labeled for easy reordering. “We’re encouraging riders to be involved,” said Musselman. “The tune you’ll want in Park City [Utah] is going to be different from what you’ll want in Lawrence, Kansas, or Columbia, Missouri. The differing terrain and riding styles dictate a difference in tuning.”

Hayes Crosshair set screw adjustment

Hayes introduced the Crosshair brake centering feature, which is now found on all the manufacturer’s hydraulic models right down to the US$80 Dyno Comp, at Sea Otter. It’s a simple alignment system. All a rider needs to do is follow Hayes’ seven easy steps to align rotors quickly. It’s a five-minute process that generally gets the caliper right where it needs to be and rub free, so long as the rotor is true. But where did it come from?

“The week before Taichung Bike Week last year, our lead brake engineer just got up and headed to the machine shop, put a couple set screws in there and said, ‘Hey guys, check this out,’” said Musselman. “We applied for the patent, and it’s patent pending right now, but we couldn’t talk about it for the first day because we hadn’t received the patent information confirmation yet.”

Even the US$80 Dyno Comp comes with the new Crosshair set screw adjustment

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