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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 — £120

The Racing 7 LG is Fulcrum’s most affordable wheelset, at an RRP of £164.99. 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 (£129.99) 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 — £189.99

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 — £260.59 

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 — £432

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 £460 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 £666.39

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 £1,120 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 (£899, 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 (£880, 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 (£896.30, 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 — £1,159.99

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 — £1,199.99

Fulcrum Racing Light XLR Tubular.jpg

Fulcrum Racing Light XLR Tubular.jpg

Aimed at climbers, this is Fulcrum’s lightest wheelset (£1,999.99), 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

[This article was last updated July 26, 2017]

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight 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.

26 comments

Avatar
dottigirl [798 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

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 [73 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

"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.

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JumboJuice [35 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...

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mylesrants [387 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

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

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CyberTonTo72 [21 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

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

 

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srchar [654 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

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

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Vejnemojnen [258 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
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 [422 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..

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graybags [93 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
4 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 [161 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 [1063 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

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.

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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.

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daturaman [15 posts] 10 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 [48 posts] 5 months 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...)...

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timtak [59 posts] 4 months 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 [798 posts] 4 months 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.

Avatar
alotronic [526 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

As above on the 5.5s....

There is a disc set that is called Racing Sport DB that comes standard OEM on some bikes (like my old Datum). These wheels are strong - and heavy - but they have a very annoying lag in take up which makes them Not Very Pleasant to ride. Avoid if you can, or budget to replace. Mine will go on the commuter now. Replaced with some DT Swiss R24 (cheapest dt disc wheels) and these are a vast improvement.

Had R5 CX and they have been utterly reliable and bombproof. If Fulcrum did a R3 disc then that would be good.

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srchar [654 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Why pay all that for Racing 3s when Zondas are identical and over £100 cheaper?

My Zondas have done 10,000km in all weathers, have never needed truing and still have loads of rim life left.  I've regreased the hubs twice.  Best wheels ever.

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guildwheeler [31 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Am I missing something here but just ordered Campag Vento wheelset with weight claimed to be 1660g for the princely sum of £165. Beginning to think I've secured a bargain when compared to these?

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Dr_Lex [454 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
guildwheeler wrote:

Am I missing something here but just ordered Campag Vento wheelset with weight claimed to be 1660g for the princely sum of £165. Beginning to think I've secured a bargain when compared to these?

 

Sounds like  http://road.cc/content/review/110806-campagnolo-vento-asymmetric-wheels

"Stiff, smooth rolling quality training wheel, soft rims mean that they aren't ideal for winter miles though."

 

 

Oh, and another wheel omitted, but probably not one sold separately- Racing 4: apparently the hub from 5 and the rim from 3. 

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DrG82 [161 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Following up from my coment about my Racing 5s above where I was concerned about the quality of the bearings. It turnes out I was correct in my guess that they wouldn't last long as after relatively little use I've recently had to replace the freehub bearings and the front hub bearings.

It turns out that they use poor quality single side sealed cartridge bearings and really rubbish grease that's no more durable than vaseline so water gets in and the grease is washed out easily and then the bearings corrode.

I've replaced the bearings with ABEC3s and packed them with quality grease so lets see if they last any longer.

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AndrewD [1 post] 2 months ago
0 likes

Great wheels let down by poor build!

I  recently purchased a Fulcrum Quattro LG wheelset as I have been really impressed with my Campag Sirrocco's and wanted a spare setup ready to go with a larger cluster for my hillier rides. The road.cc  Fulcrum review also helped the decision. 

The Fulcrum's have a 17mm internal rim width while my Campags run a narrower 15mm otherwise I would have another set of Campags. The wider rims appear to better seat 25mm tyres. Unfortunately, the Quattro's don't have the cool looking G3 rear spoke pattern, but in all other respects appear built from identical parts.

Right from the outset the wheels didn't feel right. Spinning them on the stand they'd stop after a half dozen or so turns. Spinning the rear seemed to shake the bike far more they I would expect. On the road the bike just didnt run as freely as my Campags and this proved to be the case when, after 3 rides on my regular training routes, the Garmin showed my average speeds were down by 1 to 1.5 kmph. 

Back to the retailer who claimed with great authority that they just needed to be run in and that it was because manufacturers always overload bearings with grease. He reluctantltly agreed to have someone "look" at them but with so little interest I decided to leave it (I didnt feel pursuing consumer rights would achieve any great outcome but posting my story on our cycling club Facebook page did make me fell better and several of their employees are club members so word will get back). Instead I took them to a specialist wheel builder. He spun the wheels up agreeing they didnt run at all smoothly. He quickly removed the bearings, which he said were far too tight, then observed that it appeared there was no sign of "any" lube. 

I picked them up yesterday and "wow" they now spin forever (well nearly) and no wobble after a retentioning of the spokes. On the road thismorning they felt fast and my average speed was actually a little quicker than my Campags which I put down to a better tyre fit which also seemed to add a little to comfort. In all other respects they offer the same stiff feel as the Campags which translates into quick acceleration and no appaerent flexing evident on the factory wheels which originally came with the bike.

The take away is that Fulcrum/Campag are volume manufacturers so builds are likely to be compromised. That said these wheels are now fantastic and even after adding in the cost of the bespoke rebuild they compare favourably with much higher end and significantly more expensive wheel sets.

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drosco [369 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I had poor reliability with the two Fulcrum wheelsets I've owned, some Quattros and Racing 7s. They were used for a commute and both freehubs failed the same way within a year. Granted they had a reasonably tough life, but would have expected better. I won't be buying another set. 

Avatar
Tjuice [241 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I've had some Racing 5s since 2010.  They came on my summer/race bike and when I upgraded to some deep rim Planet X carbons, I put them on my winter bike.  They see lots of miles often in poor weather, on the pothole-filled roads around Oxfordshire and are still fantastic.  Admittedly, I don't have to brake all that much (I choose routes that avoid traffic) and rinse them down with the hose after mucky rides, but they still run smoothly and totally true.  Pretty hard to fault them really.  I expect they will last me many more years.

I was on the verge of buying some racing zeros when I upgraded the wheels on the race bike, but then discovered the sub-1400g planet X 50mm deep tubulars for significantly less money and bought those instead.

I would happily buy Fulcrums again.

Avatar
DrG82 [161 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
Tjuice wrote:

I've had some Racing 5s since 2010.  They came on my summer/race bike and when I upgraded to some deep rim Planet X carbons, I put them on my winter bike.  They see lots of miles often in poor weather, on the pothole-filled roads around Oxfordshire and are still fantastic.  Admittedly, I don't have to brake all that much (I choose routes that avoid traffic) and rinse them down with the hose after mucky rides, but they still run smoothly and totally true.  Pretty hard to fault them really.  I expect they will last me many more years.

I was on the verge of buying some racing zeros when I upgraded the wheels on the race bike, but then discovered the sub-1400g planet X 50mm deep tubulars for significantly less money and bought those instead.

I would happily buy Fulcrums again.

Are your hubs cartridge or cup+cone bearings? I noticed that they have changed at some point as the roadCC review above states they are cup and cone yet mine are certainly cartridge and I was wondering if the older cup and cones were better sealed and more reliable.

My fulcrum wheels with cartridge bearings get a fairly gentle life but have caused trouble, yet the cheap shimano 501s  with cup and cone bearings on my commuter bike get a pasting in all sorts of crap weather and very rarely get any love have been going well for years.