Interbike Blog

BikeHugger and Russell the Nippletwister

Arriving back at my cube yesterday morning after a trip to visit a client, I was pleasantly surprised to find a box with the Sun-Ringle logo on it waiting for me. I guess I knew the wheels were coming, I just didn’t know what model to expect. Turns out that the wheels I won at’s Interbike Mobile Social raffle are a set of Sun-Ringle Accelerator X2.0 wheels. In swanky gold, no less!

Sun-Ringle Accelerator X2.0 wheels

I’ve always had good luck with Sun’s rims, so I can’t wait to throw a cassette and some tires on them this weekend and take them out for a spin. SR’s website describes the intended use of this model as “cyclocross or performance commuter riding conditions.” From the tough looking design and build and the kind of riding I do, I’d put them in the “spring classics riding conditions” category. I don’t race any more, but I still like to ride like I do. I also don’t plan on running with a bike over my shoulder anytime soon, so the cross use is out the picture. And having a tougher set of wheels on the bike for when I commute will be very welcome, too.

Sun-Ringle hubs
I can’t say I’m familiar with their hubs, but they look solid and feel smooth.

While I don’t consider their just over 1,800-and-change gram weight unreasonable, I think most reviewers today would fall into the trap of calling them heavy because of the seeming abundance of sub 1,500 gram aluminum rimmed wheels on the market. The X2.0′s look like they’ll be able to take anything you throw their way without complaint: wide rim, eyelets, 32 14gauge db Wheelsmith spokes in a classic reliable lacing pattern. And while I can’t confirm this at the moment, from the hand-written sign included in the box, it looks like the wheels were built by one “Russell the Nippletwister.” A wheelbuilder with a name like that guarantees a quality build, right? Anyways, I like the personal touch, Sun-Ringle.

Russell the Nippletwister

And that’s the kind of component I like on my bike: reliable, reasonably light, attractive and tough. I also like having some insight into the people behind the brand and design (like Russell here). I drool over the cool high end stuff as much as the most passionate bike geek (I still have to post my review of Shimano’s Di2 that I rode at the OutDoor Demo), but I’ve been pretty good at reigning myself back in to what I should be riding. Oh, and it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg (I have two kids and a mortgage, you know?). Come to think of it, before I get a bruise from patting myself on the back too much for my practicality, maybe economics play the biggest role in the selection of parts that I ride.

On a fun note, you can see in the photo that Sun-Ringle include a bunch of stickers with the wheels. This is a nice unexpected touch that I’d recommend to all manufacturers. It’s a small gesture, but adds to the overall experience of buying something in a not too expensive way. They’ll be going right up on my tool chest at home.

Much to my surprise, I was the lucky winner of one of the many raffles that the BikeHugger crew held at their tent at the USA Crits Finals, part of their Mobile Social ride down the Strip from the Sands Expo Center to Mandalay bay. By the time I realized I was free to do the ride, it was too late to secure a bike. I ended up just watching and photographing the start of the ride and then meeting up with them at the crit. Someone handed me a raffle ticket, and lo-and-behold, they called out my number. Can’t rememebr the last time I won anything – much less something as nice as a set of wheels!

2009 Mobile Social gathering at the Sands

Byron and his team at BikeHugger had some great schwag to give away and I came back home with a Breezer Bikes t-shirt and cool mini Swiss Army Knife/USB flash drive along with the promise that they would ship me the wheels I had won. I felt a little funny as the “Interbike Guy” winning a prize, but everyone good naturedly insisted that I accept. As the host of the event, I don’t ask for or get much schwag (everyone there is my customer, essentially, and it’s best reserved for the retailers in attendance), so to actually come away with something like this was a real treat and definitely appreciated. I also remember seeing a set of Hed wheels and a Novara bike raffled off that night to happy attendees.

Despite the somewhat bewildering summary of Interbike 2009 in theirwrap-up story, I like what is trying to do and had a lot of fun the crew at the Mobile Social this year. You should visit their site and read up about their M.S. MoSo events that they piggyback off of various trade shows and conferences around the country like Interbike and South-By-Southwest. As the intersection of social media and riding, they’re a blast and a great way to bring passionate cyclists together.

I’ll end by saying thanks to Byron and the BikeHugger team once more for a great event and a big thanks to Sun-Ringle for supporting the Mobile Social with these wheels – I’m really looking forward to enjoying the fruits of Russell’s handiwork!

Posted In: Gear, Interbike, Photos


  1. I will second your thanks to Byron and the Bike Hugger crew. The MoSo was a great event and I was very impressed with the amount of schwag that they were able to give away. It seemed like everyone who attended left with a handful of great stuff.

    …and enjoy those wheels, Rich. You definitely deserve them.

  2. If we weren’t bewildering the bike industry we wouldn’t be doing our job! Those are nice set of wheels and thanks for the post about the MoSo.