Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Fulcrum Speed 40T Carbon Tubular



Solidly built, lightweight all-rounders that'll enhance any bike's ride

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

At north of £2,000, the Fulcrum Speed 40T wheelset is one of the most expensive we've tested at, and at 1,213g, one of the lightest too. There is so much more to it than that, though, and why I think the price is – arguably – justified.

With a 40mm rim depth, the 40T is designed as an all-round race wheel to tackle anything from slapping out the pace on the flats, to sprinting for the line or climbing an Alpine pass, and it excels pretty much at each. Well, okay, I can't verify the Alpine pass bit, but they're pretty good on my local climbs.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The stiffness is pretty amazing from the full carbon fibre rim, and even full-beans, out-of-the-saddle sprinting won't see the rim flex to touch the brake front or rear. It's very impressive for a rim so light.

This stiffness comes into play again on the descents, with the Fulcrums feeling solid beneath you, along with the 3Diamant braking surface giving consistent braking performance even when it is wet. Fulcrum machines the braking surface with a diamond tipped cutter to skim off the finish layer of resin, allowing the carbon fibres themselves to make up part of the brake track. It also means that the braking surface is running true, so the pads have a uniform surface to apply pressure to.

Fulcrum Speed 40T Road Bike Wheel - rim.jpg

The stopping performance near rivals that of an alloy rim, with none of the grabiness associated with carbon braking surfaces as the heat builds. It's always consistent and, as I've said, even pretty impressive in the wet, with none of that 'am I going to slow down or not?' kind of uncertainty.

The wheels come with Fulcrum pads which work well and are just as good as the Swiss Stop Yellow pads I also tried (and, as far as I can tell, only a little better than stock Shimano pads).

As far as the rim design itself goes, Fulcrum has followed the current trend and gone wide, 24.2mm in fact, for which it recommends using tyres ranging from 25mm to 32mm wide. I used some 27mm Zipp tubulars which suited the wheel perfectly in terms of a smooth transition between tyre and rim.

Fulcrum Speed 40T Road Bike Wheel - rim bed.jpg

The hubs are both carbon fibre bodied to reduce weight, with aluminium flanges. That at the rear is oversized and laced with 21 straight-pull stainless steel aero spokes in a radial pattern on the non-drive side, two-cross on the drive side. Up front it's a radial setup for the 18 spokes. Both front and rear wheels use alloy nipples.

Fulcrum Speed 40T Road Bike Wheel - rear hub.jpg

On flat roads the 40Ts just spin and spin, thanks in part to how unbelievably smooth the ceramic bearings are. There is lots of conflicting evidence out there about whether ceramics are worth the financial outlay, but give these wheels a spin in mid-air and I challenge you to sit there watching it until it stops revolving. I bet you'd get bored first.

Fulcrum Speed 40T Road Bike Wheel - front hub.jpg

And if things are a little lumpy or rolling, the light weight of the 40Ts means you only need to give the pedals a little nudge to accelerate over the crest.

The only criticism I have is that they catch a sidewind quite regularly – more often than some wheels of a deeper persuasion, I've found – but they are easily brought back under control when it does happen.

The build quality is another high point, and makes the Fulcrums feel like a wheelset that can take some abuse. I rode them in a much more reckless way than I'd ever do if they were my own £2,200 wheels and they stood up to it with ease. I crashed through a couple of potholes, rode through heavy rain and flew through rough sections of broken, back lane tarmac without the slightest let up, and everything remained as true and tight as when I took them out of the box.

The beauty of the 40Ts is that they don't feel like a set of super-light, expensive wheels. They aren't skittish at speed and don't rattle and buzz when you hit a rough surface. They are quiet and just feel solid like a good alloy wheel.

> Read our buyer's guide to road bike wheels

There is also a clincher version, the 40C, which adds nearly 200g for the hooked rim but obviously does away with the faff of using tubulars.

Overall, it's a stunning set of wheels, but then there's that tricky value-for-money ratio, and no doubt we'll all have our own opinions.

My twopence worth is that if I laid out £2,199.99 on a set of wheels then this is exactly what I'd expect in return. A stiff, lightweight, well-built pair that make riding your bike an absolute joy no matter what event you're doing.

They're noticeable on every revolution, not just in terms of performance but by just how planted and stable they feel. And you won't have to cringe either every time you hit a pothole.


Solidly built, lightweight all-rounders that'll enhance any bike's ride

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website test report

Make and model: Fulcrum Speed 40T Carbon Tubular

Size tested: 40mm deep, 24.5mm wide

Tell us what the wheel 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?

Fulcrum says: "Created to give maximum results when racing: for this reason every single detail of these road bike wheels has been studied to make the difference.

"Lightness, smoothness, ease of handling: Speed 40T sets new limits. Ready to perform just as you to sprint towards your goal: the finish line!"

With their impressive lack of weight, the 40Ts are unbelievably responsive and very stiff to boot.

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




RIM MATERIAL DETAILS Full carbon, 3K - carbon fiber finishing


RIM HEIGHT Front and rear 40 mm

RIM WIDTH 24,2 mm

TYRE WIDTH (SUGGESTED) From 25 mm to 32 mm


BRAKING SURFACE/BRAKING OPTIONS 3K carbon fiber braking surface. 3Diamant treatment on braking surface



FRONT WHEEL SPOKES 18 (9 left + 9 right)

REAR WHEEL SPOKES 21, Two to one (9 left + 9 right)

SPOKES MATERIAL Stainless steel, double butted


NIPPLES Aluminum

FRONT HUB Carbon, Aluminum flanges

REAR HUB Carbon, Aluminum oversize flange

BEARINGS CULT ceramic bearings. Adjustable Cup & Cones bearing system

OTHERS Plasma treated HG freewheel. Aluminum Axle

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
Rate the wheel for performance:
Rate the wheel for durability:
Rate the wheel for weight
Rate the wheel for value:

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Absolutely no issues with anything.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

No issues with gluing the tubs on.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The skewers held firm and the brake pads offered stopping power parallel to that of Swiss Stop Yellow.

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

It's a fast set of wheels, solid enough to be used daily.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The high level of build quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

They could catch a side wind at times.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? It depends if my legs could justify the price...

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The Fulcrum Speed 40T wheels are brilliant, but then they'd need to be to justify that price tag – and to be honest they pretty much do. Carbon wheelsets this light tend to feel a little fragile and often skittish but these are as solid and easy to ride as any alloy wheel I've ever ridden.

With an impressive braking surface and excellent build quality, they are really what I'd expect a high end wheelset to resemble.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

Latest Comments