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What you need to know before you spend your money

Fulcrum wheels are immensely popular, both as original equipment on complete new bikes and when bought after market. The range is broad and a little complicated so here’s our guide to navigating it.

Fulcrum is a sub-brand of Italian component manufacturer Campagnolo. It makes wheels that are compatible with Shimano/SRAM systems as well as with Campag’s own products.

This isn't a test, although we do reference our reviews where relevant. This is simply an overview of the range to tell you what's what and help you decide what's most suitable for you.

Prices are for wheels with Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehubs

Racing 7 LG — £135

The Racing 7 LG is Fulcrum’s most affordable wheelset, at an RRP of £169.99. It comes with machined aluminium rims that have a 23mm external width and a 17mm internal width, suitable for tyre widths of 25mm to 32mm.

fulcrum-racing7lg-wheelset.jpg

fulcrum-racing7lg-wheelset.jpg

The rear rim is 27.5mm deep while the front one is 24.5mm, the idea being to add extra stiffness at the back without affecting the handling at the front. The rear rim is also asymmetric, designed to allow the better balancing of spoke tensions between the driveside and non driveside. The driveside hub flange is oversized to add more rigidity.

The wheelset weight is a claimed 1,763g.

The Racing 7 CX (£129.49) is similar but it comes with double seals to protect the ball bearing seats from the water and mud associated with cyclocross.

Like all Fulcrum wheels, these are available with either a Shimano/SRAM or a Campagnolo freehub.

Buy if: You’re after a reliable, no-frills wheel for everyday riding and training.

Racing 5 — £184.99

When we reviewed the Racing 5s (RRP £244.99) we said, “They're strong and not too heavy, and have shrugged off months of wet miles with nary a whimper.”

Fulcrum Racing 5 wheelset

Fulcrum Racing 5 wheelset

Rather than round spokes, the Racing 5s come with double-butted steel spokes that are aero profiled – in other words, they’re flattened to reduce drag. They’re also straight-pull – there’s no bend.

Check out our Fulcrum Racing 5 review.

Again, a CX version is available for £199.99 (RRP: £279.99) with double sealing to protect the ball bearing seats.

A £249.99 disc brake version of the Racing 5 (RRP: £349.99) is also available. As well as the ability to take rotors (6 bolt or Fulcrum’s AFS – Axial Fixing System – design), the wheels have disc-specific rims with a 24.5mm external width for the easier fitting of 25mm tyres.

Buy if: You want solid commuting or training wheels that roll well and don't cost the earth.

Racing Quattro — £225 

Racing Quattros (RRP: £299.99) have deeper rims than the cheaper Fulcrum wheels: 35mm. The idea is to improve aerodynamics and “increase torsional and lateral stiffness compared with a conventional profile, for improved high speed stability.”

fulcrum-racing-quattro-lg-wheelset.jpg

fulcrum-racing-quattro-lg-wheelset.jpg

The 21 rear spokes are arranged according to what Fulcrum calls its 2:1 Two-to-One system, with 14 on the driveside and 7 on the non-driveside. Fulcrum says that this limits the loss of rim tension when you pedal.

“Slackening and torsion are limited and the transfer of the athlete’s power is much more effective,” it says.

Fulcrum claims a wheelset weight of 1,725g.

When we reviewed the Racing Quattros we said, “A lot of wheel for not a lot of money. Fast and durable, a great all-rounder.”

Check out our Fulcrum Racing Quattro review.

The double-sealed CX version is £250 (RRP: £340).

Buy if: You’re looking for something that’s strong and durable with a little extra rim depth.

Racing 3 — £319

Racing 3s (RRP: £480) are quite a lot lighter than Quattros (the claimed wheelset weight is 1,550g) partly because of shallower rims – the front is 26mm, the rear is 30mm. They’re narrower too, with an internal rim width of 15mm and an external width of 20.5mm.

Fulcrum Racing 3 wheelset

Fulcrum Racing 3 wheelset

At £440 the Racing 3 is the cheapest of Fulcrum’s wheelsets to be available in a 2-Way Fit (RRP: £600). That means you can fit either standard clinchers or go tubeless because there are no holes in the rim.

Check out Road Tubeless: Everything You Need To Know and also our Buyer’s Guide To Tubeless Tyres.

When we reviewed the 2-Way Fit version on road.cc, we called it, “A good wheel choice if you're taking the tubeless plunge – responsive, strong and well-made. Stylish too.”

Buy if: You’d like stiff and responsive wheels for training, sportives, and even racing duties.

Read our review of the Fulcrum Racing 3 2-Way Fit wheels

Racing Zero — £660

It’s a large step up in price to the Racing Zero (RRP £799.99), but this is a high-level aluminium wheelset with a 25mm-deep front rim, 30mm-deep rear rim, carbon front hub body, and USB ceramic bearings. Fulcrum claims these are 30% lighter, 40% more resistant, and 50% smoother than standard steel bearings.

The Zero wheelset is lightweight at a claimed 1,440g. The £650 2-Way Fit (RRP £824.99) version is 20g heavier, but it does give you the opportunity to ditch your inner tubes.

Fulcrum has applied a treatment to the rims of the £879.99 Racing Zero Nite (RRP £1,049.99) that was unveiled a couple of years ago.

Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite 04

Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite 04

“The Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation process both hardens the metal, increasing its resistance to wear, [and creates] a surface that improves braking performance in both wet and dry conditions,” says Fulcrum.

Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite 21

Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite 21

Buy if: You’d like a lightweight aluminium wheelset and are prepared to pay for a high performance.

Red Wind — from £701

The Red Wind wheels are an aero lineup with structural carbon rims and an aluminium braking surface, which is always better than braking on carbon.

The most basic Red Wind wheelset (RRP £924.99) comes with 50mm deep rims and so does the £956 XLR 50 (RRP £1,399.99), the difference being that the more expensive wheels come with Fulcrum’s CULT (Ceramic Ultimate Level Technology) bearings. These use corrosion-resistant steel races and no grease in order to keep the rolling resistance low.

fulcrum-red-wind-50-clincher-wheelset.jpg

fulcrum-red-wind-50-clincher-wheelset.jpg

The Red Wind XLR 80 (£1,002, RRP £1,599.99) is a similar design and features the same CULT bearings but, as the name suggests, the rims are 80mm deep. This is a less versatile depth, better for time trials/triathlon than for general road use. The extra depth adds a little weight, the Red Wind XLR 80 being a claimed 1,770g whereas the Red Wind XLR 50 is a claimed 1,590g.

Buy if: You want aero performance and the reliability of aluminium braking surfaces.

Racing Quattro Carbon

The Racing Quattro Carbon wheelset (£850, RRP £999.99) is designed to be aerodynamically efficient and reasonably light, weighing a claimed 1,555g. It has 40mm deep carbon-fibre rims that are 24.2mm wide to support tyres from 25mm to 32mm.

fulcrum-racing-quattro-carbon-clincher-700c-wheelset-black-white-EV252554-8590-1.jpg

fulcrum-racing-quattro-carbon-clincher-700c-wheelset-black-white-EV252554-8590-1.jpg

As with Fulcrum’s other non-disc carbon-rimmed wheels, the Racing Quattro Carbon has a 3Diamant surface treatment on the braking tracks. This is machining that, according to Fulcrum, “Eliminates the imperfections caused by the non-homogenous resin deposits and allows the brake pad to work directly on the woven carbon fibres.” The idea is to improve the braking performance in both wet and dry conditions.

The Racing Quattro Carbon is also available in a disc version (£847.40, RRP £1,199.99). When we reviewed them we described these wheels as “Light, fast, stiff and strong, and very, very versatile.”

Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon DB wheelset.jpg

Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon DB wheelset.jpg

Read our review of Fulcrum Racing Quattro Carbon Disc wheels.

Buy if: You’re after lightweight and stiff wheels in a versatile depth.

Racing Zero Carbon — £1,175

The Racing Zero Carbon Clincher combines 30mm-deep/24.5mm wide carbon rims with aluminium aero spokes and carbon bodied hubs. The bearings are USB ceramic. The wheelset has a claimed weight of just 1,358g but the pair's supposed to cost a hefty £1,599.99.

Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Road Wheels.jpg

Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Road Wheels.jpg

Buy if: You want high-quality carbon wheels in a shallow depth.

Racing Speed — £1,189.99

The Racing Speed (RRP £1,699.99) is a very light tubular wheelset (a claimed 1,260g) that comes with 35mm deep full carbon rims. That makes this a highly versatile race option, suitable for climbing and fast-paced riding on the flat.

fulcrum-racing-speed-wheels.jpg

fulcrum-racing-speed-wheels.jpg

The Racing Speed XLR 35 is built with the same rims and the same aero, straight pull spokes, but it has carbon rather than aluminium hub bodies and CULT ceramic bearings rather than standard steel ones. That drops the weight by a claimed 25g but raises the price to £1.999.99.

Buy if: You want light race wheels for a variety of situations.

Racing Light XLR Tubular — £1,614.99

Fulcrum Racing Light XLR Tubular.jpg

Fulcrum Racing Light XLR Tubular.jpg

Aimed at climbers, this is Fulcrum’s lightest wheelset (£1,899.99), weighing in at just 1,226g. The carbon rims are shallow (19mm front, 21mm rear) and narrow (20.5mm, while the hubs feature carbon bodies, aluminium flanges, and Fulcrum’s CULT ceramic bearings.

Buy if: You’re a climber wanting very light race wheels

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

17 comments

Avatar
dottigirl [556 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

You missed one:

Racing 5.5

The b*stard OEM stepson of the 7, 5, and Something Else. Supplied with many new bikes. Freehub has internal pawls unlike all other Fulcrum products, and when it inevitably packs up (excess play in the bearings - you may assume it's a loose cassette at first), will cost more to replace than the wheels are worth.

 

Avatar
reippuert [67 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

"partly because of shallower rims" - hardly, the main reason for the reduced weight in Racing 3 (Zonda) is the Record hubs with its angular contact ball bearing design and hollow oversize aluminum axles..  Best hubdesign out there even though it dates back to 1999.

Avatar
JumboJuice [34 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

You failed to mention Racing Quattro Carbon DB... complete guide? come on...

edit: my bad, you've got a photo...

Avatar
mylesrants [373 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

or just buy Campag Zondas, £280 atm on wiggle and BOMB proof AND 1550grms!

Avatar
CyberTonTo72 [21 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

But what if I'm 120kg+ and I want to get a good set of wheels?

 

Avatar
srchar [451 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

What about the LG versions of the alloy wheelsets? Wider for your comfort.

Avatar
Vejnemojnen [239 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
CyberTonTo72 wrote:

But what if I'm 120kg+ and I want to get a good set of wheels?

 

get racing 3 or 4.  1 a friend of mine uses Racing1 with 130kgs, since 20k km-s, the only annoyance is to re-set the pre-tensioning of the bearings every 3k km.

Avatar
DrJDog [407 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I've been commuting for over 4 years on a set of Racing 5s and (touch wood) they are bombproof.

 

I'm not sure if that means they are ridiculously overengineered for a set of racing wheels..

Avatar
graybags [78 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

My racing quattros were junk after a winter and a half, despite always cleaning the braking surface, plus the bearings on the front one were about as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot. And of course they are not economic to repair, so off to the tip they went. Had the same wear issues with a Zonda wheelset on another bike. Just had a nice cheap wheelset built for me by my local cycle mechanic that can be re-built as and when necessary

Avatar
Chasseur Patate [151 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
graybags wrote:

My racing quattros were junk after a winter and a half, despite always cleaning the braking surface, plus the bearings on the front one were about as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot. And of course they are not economic to repair, so off to the tip they went. Had the same wear issues with a Zonda wheelset on another bike. Just had a nice cheap wheelset built for me by my local cycle mechanic that can be re-built as and when necessary

 

What are you doing to them?  I've had a pair of Scirroccos since 2012 that have been raced to death and abused heavily over four winters that are still going strong. Never had a problem of any kind with Fulcrum or Campag wheelsets and I'm not friendly to my kit.

Avatar
DrG82 [129 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Although it's stated in the separate review for the racing 5s people should be reminded about the ridiculous ~100 g difference between the claimed weight and actual weight on the shimano hub.

I thought I was getting a super bargain 1,650 g wheelset when I bought some racing 5s (without having read the road.cc review first  2 ) but only really got average and to add to this the bearings in both wheels were pretty gritty straight out of the box which doesn't bode well for the future.

Fulcrum's responce to my question about the weight claim disparity was piss poor.

 

Avatar
matthewn5 [1004 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

My Fulcrum Racing 5s from 2014 weighed an actual 1720g, but frankly I never notice as they're so stiff that they feel incredibly lively and fast. From 2014 the 5 has the 17mm alloy axle and Record design hubs, though with cartridge bearings. There's more to a wheel than light weight.

 

All Fulcrum Racing 5s and 7s are now LG - they've dropped the narrow rim from the lineup.

 

In my experience Fulcrum/Campag hubs are the best engineered out there. Incredibly easy to service with just a couple of simple tools.

Avatar
LeighNichol [27 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Also missing are Fulcrum Racing Sport, £120 in some places. I had some as the stock wheels on my Supersix. Fair enough that they're not on the list, they're absolute dogshit.

Avatar
daturaman [6 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
dottigirl wrote:

You missed one:

Racing 5.5

The b*stard OEM stepson of the 7, 5, and Something Else. Supplied with many new bikes. Freehub has internal pawls unlike all other Fulcrum products, and when it inevitably packs up (excess play in the bearings - you may assume it's a loose cassette at first), will cost more to replace than the wheels are worth.

 

Now known as the Racing 77.

Avatar
Sub4 [33 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
dottigirl wrote:

You missed one:

Racing 5.5

The b*stard OEM stepson of the 7, 5, and Something Else. Supplied with many new bikes. Freehub has internal pawls unlike all other Fulcrum products, and when it inevitably packs up (excess play in the bearings - you may assume it's a loose cassette at first), will cost more to replace than the wheels are worth.

 

These are Racing Sport variants supplied as OEM

The freehubs are terrible & I've never managed to remove one successfully (which is a pity, since it's my job...)...

Avatar
timtak [55 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
dottigirl wrote:

The freehubs are terrible & I've never managed to remove one successfully (which is a pity, since it's my job...)...

Oh, thank you. There are some racing 7s on sale cheap without a freehub. My racing 5s are at the end of their rim life. I was hoping to move the freehub (compatible between racing 5s and 7s apparently) accross but, it is not my job.

Avatar
dottigirl [556 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
Sub4 wrote:
dottigirl wrote:

You missed one:

Racing 5.5

P

The b*stard OEM stepson of the 7, 5, and Something Else. Supplied with many new bikes. Freehub has internal pawls unlike all other Fulcrum products, and when it inevitably packs up (excess play in the bearings - you may assume it's a loose cassette at first), will cost more to replace than the wheels are worth.

 

These are Racing Sport variants supplied as OEM

The freehubs are terrible & I've never managed to remove one successfully (which is a pity, since it's my job...)...

I have.
One vice, the tyre left on and two rounded off hex keys later though. Made one hell of a noise. I YouTubed it. Got a comment since that you can service/replace the bearings without removing the freehub. Grrr.