Fulcrum have added the new Racing Speed XLR 35 wheelset to their range, with an all-carbon 35mm rim and 1,230g weight making for a versatile all-rounder wheel. Such 35mm wheelsets have become popular in the professional peloton in recent years, we’ve seen them used in the Classics, on the big mountain climbs and flatter stages, as they offer a good balance of weight, stiffness and aerodynamics.
If you’re spotting similarities with the Campagnolo Bora 35 wheels Mat covered at their launch in May, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, they’re essentially the same. Campagnolo owns Fulcrum, a brand they launched to cater for cyclists running Shimano and SRAM and who want to roll on Campagnolo wheels, but without mixing their componentry brands. It's just not the done thing to pair Campagnolo wheels on a bike with a Shimano groupset you see (or vice versa), it's one of those odd quirks of road cycling. The Fulcrum brand gets around this.
Like the Bora’s the Racing Speed XLR 35 wheels have an all-carbon construction (so it’s tubular only, there’s no word on a clincher version) with the same 3Diamant braking surface treatment. Braking heat buildup is the biggest concern with carbon rims, Fulcrum use a diamond-tipped tool to produce a completely smooth braking surface without any imperfections, removing the resin that they reckon is the big cause of insufficient braking. With their own carbon-specific brake pads, they claim the wheels offer consistent and linear braking in the wet or dry.
The rims have also been balanced with extra carbon placed on the rim opposite the valve, in what they call Rim Dynamic Balance.
At the hubs there’s the same CULT ceramic bearings as the Bora's, which they reckon produces much less rolling resistance. The hubs feature carbon fibre shells and aluminium flanges, with straight pull lacing on the front wheel and in the rear their unique spoke lacing, with the spokes clustered in groups of three, for more even spoke tension.
Weight is 1,230g for the pair, 530g front and 700g rear. We’ve no word on pricing or availability yet. They will be available with the CULT ceramic bearings (XLR) or without. Freehubs will be compatible with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo.
This isn’t the first 35mm wheelset from Fulcrum, there’s the £300 Racing Quattro's which we tested previously on road.cc.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.