Fulcrum Racing Speed Wheels Review

Fulcrum Racing Speed Wheelset Fulcrum Racing Speed Wheels Review

Fulcrum Racing Speed Wheelset

Anybody who is getting serious about their road biking will have taken a look at Fulcrum wheels at some point. They haven’t been around as long as some of the old wheelset stalwarts like Zipp or Mavic, but when they entered the market they did it in a big way, with a big range of good quality, affordable wheelsets for just about every budget.  At the lower end of the series, like the Fulcrum Racing 5, the Fulcrum wheelsets are good value and fair quality. Many riders may have been lucky enough to get them issued as stock wheels on a new complete bike purchase – if that includes you, hang onto those wheels as they are fantastic training wheelsets even as you raise your racing game!

Where Fulcrum had been absent was at the very top of the market. In the world of super-light carbon wheelsets, and specialist racing wheels like discs, Fulcrum just couldn’t get noticed. And that’s a shame, because they are really pretty good at making the good stuff, and still without breaking the bank. But all that is changing - enter the Fulcrum Racing Speed wheelset.

These wheels are made for racing!

The Fulcrum Racing Speed wheelset is designed for serious road racers, meaning those moving up the categories or who are ready to make a real bid for the podium. They aren’t Fulcrum’s top of the line wheelset (that’s the Fulcrum racing Speed XLR), but at $2310 RRP these wheels compete in a big market open to most riders getting serious about their racing. But what does that tell us about what these wheels can – and can’t do?

First of all, let’s take a look at what these wheels are meant for – racing. At 1360g, they are just about as light as any of their competitors in the same price bracket.  They are tubular – of course – how else would you keep the weight down? You’ve got 50mm deep section rims for just enough aerodynamics to save effort and slice through the air, but not so much you’ll have to leave these wheels at home on windy days. Like the XLRs, Fulcrum has cleverly adjusted the carbon layers to balance out the weight of the valve stem – that’s right, the valve stem – so there is absolutely no imbalance in the wheels’ roll. It may not sound like much, but when we rode these wheels we really noticed the difference on high speed corners and hairy descents. If you’ve ever had the experience of front wheel shiver on a high speed descent, and you know you don’t ever want to be in that place again, then the Fulcrum Racing Speed wheelset is going to be for you.

Everything else about these wheels is a testament to Fulcrum’s approach to wheel design – it just makes sense. Aero spokes stay aero with a spoke locking system as part of the recessed spoke nipples. A 2 to 1 spoke lacing pattern puts more spokes on the rear drive side to better distribute power to the wheel. There’s really nothing about the Fulcrum Racing Speed wheelset that you’d want to change before you put these wheels on your race bike, and they certainly won’t be an excuse if you don’t make it on the podium.

Is there anything they can’t do?

Well, let’s face it, the Fulcrum Racing Speed wheelset aren’t pro-tour wheels, but they still won the 2008 World Championship Road race.  Unlike their much higher priced sibling, the Racing Speed XLR, they don’t have the ultimate carbon and ceramic hub set-up that is like riding silk, but then they won’t drain your bank balance the same way the XLR’s will. That said, on our rides, while we didn’t notice the hubs, we didn’t notice them. What do we mean? They may not have stood out like the super smooth hubs on the XLR, but they weren’t a problem either. Up hills, the light weight and the spoke balance system combined to take a lot of the effort out of going up. On the way down, the perfect wheel balance made for stability and tight cornering. On the power dash to the streetlight, the wheels carried the power right through to the road and never hinted at a creak or a flex.  So, if you are looking for a great wheelset for racing in the $2000 to $2500 range, then the Fulcrum Racing Speed wheelset really ought to be on your list!

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