Sun Ringle Black Flag Expert 26in wheelset, £369.99
These wheels have been on my photographic workhorse for nearly a year now, so they’ve been thoroughly put through the grinder.
Impressively, they still spin freely and the bearings are silent. On top of that, both front and rear wheels are true, however, the lone silver spoke on the rear gives a clue to past problems. On a particularly fast and rocky bit of trail, riding with the added burden of a camera bag, a spoke snapped at the rim. Thankfully these wheels are built with standard spokes so it was no problem to replace it. Apparently all of next year’s Sun Ringlé wheels switch to straight-pull spokes, making replacements harder to source.
In terms of ride quality, the wheels are surprisingly stiff under vertical compression but square-off a berm hard and there is noticeable flex from the rear wheel. The weight is a slight issue as, at 1,760g, there are lighter wheels for similar money and cheaper wheels at the same weight. The saving grace for these is the bearing quality; in gritty conditions it’s encouraging to have a wheelset that shrugs it off.
I ran a QR front but conversion cups can be used for 15mm and 20mm axles. The cups sit snugly into the hub so removing the wheel never results in the adapters dropping out. For UK trail riding, these are a solid choice. Roo Fowler
MBR rating: 8
Weight: 782g front, 978g rear
24-spoke front and rear
QR, 15mm or 20mm compatible front, QR rear
24mm external width