Fulcrum Racing Chrono Disc Wheel Review
Disc wheels have a pretty specific and often misunderstood market. It sometimes seems like every time trialist or triathlete wants to put a disc on, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Disc wheels are – in the absence of crosswinds - more aerodynamic than any other wheel design, but even a slight wind at as little as a 30 degree angle can slow a disc down to where you’d be much faster on a deep section or a tri-spoke. Disc wheels are, pretty much without exception, heavier than their comparable deep section aero counterparts, so if your course is hilly, or you are a light rider that doesn’t put out a lot of power, then you are better off forgoing the disc for a 50 to 80mm deep section wheelset.
However, if the conditions are perfect for fast riding – the wind is still, the course is flat, and you can pump out the watts, then yes, put a disc wheel on and win. How often does that happen? Often enough to splash out thousands on the ultimate disc? That decision is yours, but if you are a powerhouse time trialist or triathlete, and you have made the decision to get the very best disc on the market, then you’d be foolish not to consider the Fulcrum Racing Chrono disc wheel.
Is it the fastest?
At $3350 you will be spending a lot of money – and you’ll still need a front wheel! The Fulcrum Racing Chrono disc wheel had better be good at this price; in my opinion, it really ought to come with an engine. Only the most serious time trialists and triathletes will be considering this wheel at this money, so what it does come with though is some pretty impressive technology, all designed to move you and your bike as fast as possible.
The first thing you’ll notice is it isn’t carbon. It’s polyaramide, which is an organic fiber compound you also find in Kevlar. That certainly makes the wheel strong – and a strong composite means a thinner composite, and that means less weight. At 1010g, this is one seriously light disc wheel. The addition of aluminum braking surface means you don’t need to mess around with manufacturer-required carbon- friendly brake pads and super-gentle levers - what your bike came with will do.
Rolling resistance is everything when every second counts, and the Cronitect steel ball bearings are super smooth, and last a lot longer than ceramic. If the wind suddenly drops – or picks up as you line up, and you change your mind about the wheels you’ve picked, the Fulcrum Racing Chrono disc wheel has a standard Fulcrum quick release, so you can swap this for a deep section quickly if the wind changes!
Should you buy this disc?
If you only race time trials as part of an occasional stage race attempt, or you are moving up a level in your triathlons, then no; for this money there are a hundred other things you could do to your bike that will make you go faster than putting on this disc. But if you are a serious – maybe even pro or close to it – time trialist, or hoping for a record at Kona, and everything else about your bike is state of the art, then yes. The Fulcrum Racing Chrono disc wheel is definitely one of the very best disc wheels on the market, and it will be appearing on quite a few podium finisher’s bikes when the race is all about every single second – one of them might as well be yours!
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