Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels  £239.99

7/10

Solid commuting or training wheels that roll well and don't cost the earth

Weight 1743g   Contact  www.i-ride.co.uk

by Dave Atkinson   April 7, 2014  

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Fulcrum Racing 5s are solid winter and training wheels that are just the ticket if you're saving your best wheels for sunny weather, or race days. They're strong and not too heavy, and have shrugged off months of wet miles with nary a whimper.

Fulcrum have done a bit of work on the Racing 5 since its last incarnation and there are some design points to note. The rear rim is now asymetric – moving the spoke holes away from the drive side to even out spoke tension. The rear rim is also a touch deeper than the front (27.5mm versus 24mm) to better cope with the stresses and strains of laying down the power.

Both hubs feature cup and cone bearings, and the rear drive side flange is enlarged which shortens the drive side spokes for better torsional stiffness under load. The Racing 5 doesn't use the 2:1 spoke ratio on the rear wheel that Fulcrum use further up the range: there are 18 bladed spokes in the front wheel and 20 to the rear, equally divided. Campagnolo and Shimano freehub patterns are available, both will take up to an 11-speed cassette.

Fulcrum claim a weight of 1,645g for these wheels; ours weighed in at 1,743g with the rim tape but without the skewers. They're not especially light, but neither are they heavy for a wheelset that you can buy widely for less than £200.

Out on the road they've proved to be reliable and well-made wheels, perfect for sticking on your bike through the grotty months while your posh wheels sit it out in the shed. If you have posh wheels.

For a commuting or training bike the spoke count is high enough that you shouldn't have many worries about them taking the hits out on the rough UK tarmac. Lateral stiffness at the rim is pretty good; I could push the rim into contact with the brake pad if I tried hard enough, but in the normal course of riding it was never an issue.

Our wheels arrived true. We had one issue during testing, which was a spoke that unwound in the first couple of weeks. Once that was sorted there were no further problems and the Racing 5s ran flawlessly for the rest of our test miles.

The hubs appear to be well sealed and we had no water getting to the bearings in spite of some pretty filthy rides. If you're planning to be especially hard on your wheels over winter then the super-sealed CX version might be a better bet. There's a bit of wear noticeable on the rim, about what I'd expect for the ride they've had.

Fulcrum call the Racing 5 a 'race ready' wheel and if you were doing a bit of racing on the cheap it'd probably serve you well enough. It's really a training and winter wheel though, and a very decent one at that.

Verdict

Solid commuting or training wheels that roll well and don't cost the earth.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fulcrum Racing 5 wheelset (2014)

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The already best-in-class Racing 5 wheelset goes from high to higher performance thanks to its new design.

The same qualities that have made the RACING 5 such a popular wheelset in the past combine with new elements to make an affordable but race ready wheel.

The new 20 spoke design in addition to the asymmetric rear rim profile offers notable performance increases in terms of both increased lateral and torsional rigidity as well as increased reactivity.

The new design allows for more homogenous spoke tensions and makes for a sturdier, higher performing wheelset that weighs in at over 100 grams less than its previous version.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

DIFFERENTIATED RIM HEIGHT

24 mm at the front to provide optimal handling; 27,5 mm at the rear for transmitting all your power to the wheel.

NEW ASYMMETRIC RIM PROFILE

asymmetrical rear rim profile allows for better balancing of spoke tensions between drive and non drive side, giving better symetry to an asymmetric component. Increased efficiency and reactivity are sure to be noted.

DOUBLE-BUTTED STEEL SPOKES WITH AERO PROFILE

enable maximum aerodynamic penetration.

OVERSIZED HUBS

increase wheel stiffness and reactivity

HIGH GRADE, TOP QUALITY STEEL BEARINGS WITH CUP AND CONE CONSTRUCTION

reduce friction and ensure consistent performance over time.

OVERSIZED FLANGE ON THE DRIVE SIDE

provides greater torsional stiffness, increases reactivity at each change in rhythm of the pedal stroke.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Good all-round wheelset for winter and beyond

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Solid performance, well sealed hubs

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

One issue with loosening spoke

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 190cm  Weight: 102kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium 853

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I rode the Essex Spring Lambs yesterday using a set of these on my Genesis Equilibrium 853 and they and the bike performed better than I did. Smile

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [137 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:27

412 Likes

I make no bones about the fact that 5s are my best wheels, fitted to my best bike. And they look lovely, at least with the foul decals removed, perform exceedingly well and have been no trouble over the last fifteen months. What more could a man want?

Mike

mike the bike's picture

posted by mike the bike [132 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:33

390 Likes

indeed, I use the 5s on my best (only) road bike and think they are great (even with the decals left on) Cool

posted by gthornton101 [55 posts]
7th April 2014 - 17:10

2 Likes

Just ordered some zeros hope they are of as high quality pound for pounds as the fives appear to be

HMCC

Beefy's picture

posted by Beefy [118 posts]
7th April 2014 - 17:10

397 Likes

I've had a pair on my hybrid for two years of all weather commuting, and they have been faultless over at least 5,000 miles (and I have done no maintenance whatsoever on them). For less than £150 (from Germany) I imagine there can't be much better in that range. I bought a pair of Zondas (Campagnolo branded 3s) last year because these have been so good, but unfortunately that bike got stolen about 1000 miles in.

posted by DrJDog [122 posts]
7th April 2014 - 17:56

395 Likes

So, it's Vento again. Next time some Sciroccos (Fulcrum4) or Khamsins (F7). Seriously, what's the difference?

These wheels cost about 150 bucks here, so definitely a bargain (though sometimes the Fulcrum Racing 7s are sold for 110 pounds which is also a great price)

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [23 posts]
7th April 2014 - 18:22

391 Likes

Had these wheels for almost a year now done over 5000km on them and still run superbly true. Unbelievable for the price.

posted by hallamhash [5 posts]
7th April 2014 - 20:35

392 Likes

+1 for fulcrum 5's on my best bike. Given I am closer to 90kgs and they have given me no problems over several thousand miles, they're pretty durable

posted by arfa [495 posts]
7th April 2014 - 21:26

383 Likes

Anyone able to compare these to Mavic Aksium?

Thinking

posted by AnalogueAndy [25 posts]
7th April 2014 - 22:47

392 Likes

A friend has these; the wheels are solid enough but the bearings had to be replaced after only a few months.

If I had to choose between the Fulcrum 5 and Aksium, I would go with the 5.

Have a nice day.

DavidC's picture

posted by DavidC [49 posts]
8th April 2014 - 4:19

395 Likes

Thanks David Smile

posted by AnalogueAndy [25 posts]
8th April 2014 - 8:14

384 Likes

Had a pair of Racing 7s since 2007 - front rim has worn out and I just picked up a pair of the OLD model Racing 5s for £130 - saved 42% and they look lovely. I am guessing the 2014 incarnation is a little lighter and lovelier still, but first impressions on my old model are VERY good indeed. Handful of KOMs already, so can't be too sluggish, either Party

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [209 posts]
8th April 2014 - 9:18

379 Likes

Fulcrum 5s came stock on my Pinarello Marvel and handle great on turns and crappy roads with gravel and potholes thrown in on a regular basis. Decent on climbs with no flex with standing up and hard acceleration (I only weigh 125 lbs tho). No probs riding them through the dirty, wet winter. They spin up faster than the 2008 Mavic Aksiums I had on my old Kestrel Talon and seem to be less of a struggle on steeper climbs but they're also 6 years of technology newer on a stiffer, more responsive bike so ... I must say that I was happy with the Aksiums while I road them and for 5 years on bad roads they stayed true not matter how many potholes and choppy descents I put them through.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

movingtarget's picture

posted by movingtarget [134 posts]
10th April 2014 - 1:56

381 Likes

Rode into the side of a car with my 5s today and the front wheel is fine.

posted by DrJDog [122 posts]
10th April 2014 - 18:03

387 Likes

DrJDog wrote:
Rode into the side of a car with my 5s today and the front wheel is fine.

thanks, i don't normally include that in my testing routine so good to know Wink

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7379 posts]
10th April 2014 - 19:31

384 Likes

And the car now knows its place in the pecking order Wink

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

movingtarget's picture

posted by movingtarget [134 posts]
10th April 2014 - 20:04

382 Likes

these are my best wheels too and although I haven't crashed into anything ( I save the cheap ones for that) they have survived some grim weather, lousy roads and lots of miles and remained in good shape.

Northernbike's picture

posted by Northernbike [140 posts]
10th April 2014 - 20:45

385 Likes

AnalogueAndy wrote:
Anyone able to compare these to Mavic Aksium?

Thinking

Had both and there is not much to choose between them to be honest. I think wear/tear/issues are just as likely with either but, for the price, both are an excellent choice for reasonably priced factory wheels.

Bobbinogs's picture

posted by Bobbinogs [55 posts]
15th April 2014 - 12:15

379 Likes

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