We got a teaser of these new wheels at Sea Otter, along with a carbon rimmed wheelset that’s conspicuoisly absent from their PressCamp display. The new Black Flag Pro SL and Charger Pro SL will come in 26″ and 29er and are lighter and stiffer/stronger than the standard Pro and Expert versions.
The current Black Flags have 24mm wide and Chargers are 28mm. Both use the same 6000-series alloy.
The new Black Flag Pro SL wheels will be 23mm wide and Charger Pro SL rims are 27mm wide. Both are made of a new proprietary blend of 6000 series alloy that’s stronger. That lets them use less material without sacrificing strength, so they’re lighter.
The extrusion and rim shape is new, too. It’s 1.5mm taller, which adds stiffness. Rims are eyeletted and they use bladed spokes, both of which let them run higher spoke tension, which adds torsional stiffness. Despite being 1mm narrower on the outside for both Chargers and Black Flags, the inner bead seat width is the same as the Pro models.
Rims continue to license Stan’s tubeless bead profile.
They get new hubs, too. The rear’s non-drive side flange is moved outward, which increased the bracing angle 30%. This improves torsional rigidity, letting the wheel stay in plane with the bike better during hard cornering.
Front hub also has an increased bracing angle, and both front and rear hubshells are more machined out.
Internally, there’s a new four-pawl engagement system they jokingly called Cougar – mature technology, fast and easy engagement. Engagement has decreased from 15° to 7.5° without sacrificing durability because the new pawls provide more surface contact area. How did they add surface area while decreasing engagement angle? Wider pawls. It also gives the wheels a wicked sound.
Both models use straight pull. The 26″ wheels get 24 spokes with 2-cross spoke lacing, and 29ers get 28 spokes in a 3-cross lacing.
All models will be under $900 and start shipping early fall. They’ll ship with 9/15/20 axle end caps for the front and 135QR/12×142 for the rear, plus Stan’s sealant. Rims come pre-taped with Stan’s rim tape, and extra spokes will come with them, too. They’ll be available in all black only.
We tested the Black Flag Pro 29er wheels a while back and continue to ride them. They’ve proven to be incredible durable despite the light weight, and they’re a steal. We’re lolling forward to testing a pair of these out a soon as they’re available.
End caps are easily swapped, just pop them on and off for the front. Rear requires a cone wrench, but it’s still pretty easy.
Sample weights from our own scale:
Black Flag ProSL 26″
Front (668g) rear (773g) = 1440g
Charger ProSL 29″
Front (804g) rear (910g) = 1714g
Charger Pro 650B
Front (864g) Rear (970g) = 1834g
These were preproduction without the correct spokes. Target is 1790g.
The Expert and Pro Charger wheels will now come in 650B size starting late August. Retail is $524 and $670. Pictured at top left in the first photo.
They’re also offering 650B ankle socks. Not too short, not too tall.