Fulcrum road 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 Fulcrum road wheels with Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehubs.
Fulcrum has dirt riding in mind with the disc-brake version of the Racing 7. It boasts rims with a 19mm internal width to work with tyres up to 62mm wide, and hubs that can be easily adapted to work with the various quick-release and through-axle standards.
Because the rims are shallower than the regular Racing 7's the claimed weight ends up slightly lower at 1,740g. That said, Fulcrum still lists a non-disc Racing 7, but we've been unable to find a dealer that has them in stock.
The 2Way-Fit designation indicates that the Racing 7 DB works with tubeless tyres, but there's a catch: Fulcrum says only Schwalbe Pro One and G-One tyres should be used with any of its 2Way-Fit (Road) wheels. They're great tyres, but Fulcrum really needs to tweak the design for greater flexibility.
There's also a 650B version, Racing 7b (£179.99), as the gravel-bike alternative of smaller wheels with really fat tyres continues to gain traction.
Buy if: You want tough, fairly light wheels for your gravel bike — and you really like Schwalbe tyres
The Racing 6 is very similar to the Racing 7 but has an over-sized, drilled-out, drive-side flange on the rear wheel. Fulcrum's website in fact no longer lists the rim-brake Racing 7 at all, so the Racing 6 looks to effectively replace that model in the range. Like the Racing 7, the rims are 23mm wide (17mm internal) and slightly deeper on the rear wheel: 27.5mm v 24.5mm up front.
Fulcrum claims a pair of Racing 6 wheels weighs 1,760g.
Buy if: You want reliable, no-frills wheels for everyday riding and training.
The disc-brake version of the Racing 6 has a claimed weight of 1,690g a pair, shaving 50g off the Racing 7 DB thanks to 26mm tall rims with 17mm internal width. These are therefore more road-orientated than the Racing 7 DB.
Buy if: You want very sensibly priced disc-brake wheels for the road, and don't mind the Schwalbe-only rule.
When we reviewed the Racing 5s (RRP £289.99) we said, “They're strong and not too heavy, and have shrugged off months of wet miles with nary a whimper.”
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.
A £270 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 fatter tyres. As with other disc-braked, tubeless-compatible Fulcrum road wheels, those tyres will have to be Schwalbe if you're going tubeless.
Buy if: You want solid commuting or training wheels that roll well and don't cost the earth.
Racing 4 is the new name for the wheel formerly known as the Racing Quattro, with 35mm-deep rims and a claimed weight per pair of 1,725g. The idea is to improve aerodynamics and “increase torsional and lateral stiffness compared with a conventional profile, for improved high speed stability.”
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.
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.”
Buy if: You’re looking for something that’s strong and durable with a little extra rim depth.
The disc-brake version of the Racing 4 has 35mm deep disc-specific rims and a claimed weight of 1,690g. Like most of Fulcrum's disc-brake wheels it uses what Fulcrum calls Monoblock Hub For Disc tech, in which stiffening ribs inside the hub convey braking forces to the tangential drive-side spokes to reduce twist on the rotor side.
Buy if: You want semi-aero wheels for your disc-braked bike.
Racing 3s (RRP: £550) are quite a lot lighter than Racing 4s (the claimed wheelset weight is 1,560g) partly because of shallower rims – the front is 26mm, the rear is 30mm. The latest version gets an upgrade to rims with 17mm internal width to accommodate wider tyres.
Fulcrum no longer lists a 2-Way Fit version of the Racing 3, but they're still listed at £425. You can fit either standard clinchers or go tubeless because there are no holes in the rim.
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.”
Disc brakes? Yep, there's a disc brake version of the Racing 3 (£439.99), and it has a 2-Way Fit rim for tubeless tyres.
Buy if: You’d like stiff and responsive wheels for training, sportives, and even racing duties.
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 light at a claimed 1,495g.
Fulcrum no longer lists the 2Way-Fit rim-brake version of the Racing Zero (£824.99), but there are still a few in retailers.
“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.
Buy if: You’d like a lightweight aluminium wheelset and are prepared to pay for high performance.
Here's Fulcrum throwing almost all their technologies at a set of high-end go-faster aluminium wheels. They feature 2Way-Fit, 6082 T6 aluminium rims, hubs with carbon-fibre centre sections, CULT ceramic bearings, plasma-treated freehub body and weigh a claimed 1,475g. The rear rim is 30mm deep, the front 27mm and both have 17mm internal width.
Buy if: You want light, fast wheels with a splash of colour.
With 19mm internal-width rims and a claimed weight of just £1,590g these are Fulcrum's entry in the high-end do-everything wheels category. The rims are made from high-strength 6082 T6 aluminium, joined to the hubs with aluminium spokes, and like the rim-brake version they roll on USB ceramic bearings.
Buy if: You want light, modern tubeless-compatible disc-braked wheels
The Racing Quattro Carbon wheelset (RRP £1,099.99) 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 no longer lists them, but there are still a few in the shops.
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 (£850-£890, RRP £1,199.99). When we reviewed them we described these wheels as “Light, fast, stiff and strong, and very, very versatile.” However, unlike other disc-brake Fulcrum wheels they're not tubeless compatible.
Buy if: You’re after lightweight and stiff wheels in a versatile depth.
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 £1,799.99.
Buy if: You want high-quality carbon wheels in a shallow depth.
Fulcrum's top-end hoops, the Speed wheelsets have all-carbon aero rims for racing and against-the-clock efforts. There are five models of spoked wheel, plus the Speed 360 one-piece disc rear wheel.
The Fulcrum Speed 40C wheels offer buttery smooth ceramic bearings, stable rims and brilliant braking thanks to a what Fulcrum calls AC3 — All Conditions Carbon Control. They spin up effortlessly, handle well on windy days and weigh just 1,420g a pair. The only thing not to like is the price.
Buy if: you're racing or going fast really matters to you, and it's hilly or windy
As above, but with 55mm deep rims for better aerodynamics. At a claimed 1,470g they don't surrender much to the Speed 40C wheels though we'd expect them to be a bit more susceptible to getting knocked off course in side-winds.
You can also get the 55C rear wheel in a pair with a 40C front for £1,584.62. Claimed weight is 1,450g.
If you prefer to glue on your tyres, there's a tubular version for £1,499 — Speed 55T — which weighs a claimed 1,280g a pair.
Disc brakes and tubulars? No problem. You want the Speed 55T DB you do. New stopping tech meets traditional tyres will set you back £1,711.32 and the pair is claimed to weigh 1395g.
Buy if: You're racing
If you're doing a time trial or the bike leg of a triathlon, it's a calm day and you've a serious need for speed, then you want the deepest rims possible.
Buy if: You're racing against the clock
Finally, for those whose need for speed is only outstripped by the depth of their pockets, there's the 360T rear disc.
Buy if: You're racing against the clock and want to be ready for that perfect float morning
Fulcrum calls its cheaper deep-rim aero wheels 'Wind' rather than 'Speed'. They have 2Way-Fit carbon fibre rims for tubeless compatibility.
Like its deeper sibling the Wind 40 has a rim with a 19mm channel to provide support for fatter tyres. That's the most obvious difference between the Wind and Speed wheels; the latter have 17mm rims, so the Wind wheels reflect the trend to fatter tyres. In fact Fulcrum says these wheels will take tyres up to 50mm wide, which opens up the possibility of using them on some gnarly-looking monstercross bikes as well as various go-faster applications. Claimed weight is 1,620g.
Buy if: You want to run tubeless tyres on a disc-braked race bike
As you can no doubt guess from the name the Wind 55 DB has a 55mm-deep rim, which is about as deep as you can go and still get decent handling in moderate crosswinds. The extra rim depth costs just 60g over the Wind 40DB for a claimed weight of 1,680g.
Buy if: You want to run tubeless tyres on a disc-braked race bike and you want every last aero advantage
When it comes to wheels for drop-handlebar bikes, it's a stretch to call Fulcrum's solitary gravel bike pair a series, though the Red designation is shared with Fulcum's mountain bike wheels so arguably they're part of a wheels-for-dirt-riding series.
Buy if: You're heading for the dirt
Fulcrum says the Rapid Red 5's 23mm-wide 2Way-Fit rim is suitable for 33-46 mm wide tyres. The 1,700g weight for a air is decent for wheels with wide aluminium rims, and you can have them with standard Shimano 11-speed freehub body or SRAM XDr body.
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Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.