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The new Fulcrum Wind 40 DB wheels are beautiful to ride. They look classy, and with their rounded profile focusing on aerodynamics they feel fast too. Stiffness is impressive, and with a medium rim height they cover a lot of disciplines.
If you are a quick road rider who likes to dabble in a little bit of everything, blasting along on the flat, climbing, and tackling technical descents, then the 40mm rim depth of these wheels is pretty much the sweet spot. It's not as affected by crosswinds as deeper alternatives, keeps the wheels light enough to attack the hills but still gives that little aerodynamic nudge once your speed is above about 23mph – it's an all-rounder, and it's what makes the Wind 40 DBs so much fun to ride.
A weight of 1,620g isn't exactly chunky for a wheel of this depth, but the Fulcrums feel lighter than that anyway once you have them moving. On rolling terrain, just a little dig on the inclines sees you lose minimal speed, and they feel very responsive.
Even from a standing start I wouldn't describe them as sluggish, helped by the quick engagement of the freehub, and if you were to use them anywhere that demands plenty of accelerations out of corners or standing starts you aren't going to feel frustrated.
The 40 DB really is just a beautiful wheelset to ride – with the tyres at 100psi they feel really comfortable and never harsh, even on dimpled road surfaces.
Fulcrum packs a fair bit of technology into its wheels, and there is a lot of trickle-down spec from the more expensive models in the range, including its 2-Way Fit. With a solid rim bed – no spoke holes, basically – you can fit tubeless tyres on these TR (tubeless ready) rims without the need to faff with tubeless tape, as there is nowhere for the air to escape.
This does mean there are no holes to drop the nipples into, but Fulcrum gets around this by dragging nipples around the inside of the rim by magnet until they fall into place. This means Fulcrum can still use traditional style nipples for easy truing and adjustment.
Each wheel uses 24 spokes, laced in a 2:1 pattern to deal with the braking forces and loads. On the front wheel you get 16 spokes on the braking side, while the rear has the bigger number on the drive-side as it only deals with about 20 per cent of the overall braking.
Keeping the cost down compared to Fulcrum's more extravagant wheels, the Winds use aluminium alloy hubs. They are still beautifully machined by CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, though.
December in the south-west has been damp and mild, and these wheels have seen plenty of rubbish weather. They've had loads of water spray and grit chucked up at them – certainly more than I'd like if I'd just laid down a grand on them – but they have come out unscathed. The sealed cartridge bearings are still running grumble-free, and at the end of testing the freehub body was showing no huge indentations from the cassette biting in.
Things seem to have settled down (for now) on the axle front, so it's no surprise to see that the Wind 40 DBs are set up for 12mm thru-axles, although there are adaptors available for a 15mm front axle and quick releases.
When it comes to fitting rotors, Fulcrum has gone down the Centerlock design rather than the six-bolt option. It makes things much simpler as you can swap discs just by removing what is something similar to a cassette lockring.
Priced at £1,099.99 the Fulcrums are well specced for the money. The quality is very good – holding them in your hands you can just feel that it's a really nice set of wheels, handbuilt, with full traceability, and perfectly true straight out of the box.
Compared to the opposition they mostly hold their own; they're about the same price and weight as the Reynolds AR 41 DB wheels which David liked when he tested them in June last year.
There are cheaper and lighter out there, though, such as the Scribe Aero Wide 50-D wheelset. They're £870 and nearly 200g lighter.
I stand by what I've said about the Fulcrum Wind 40 DBs, though. They look great and are well built, and if it was my money I would be very happy with how well they perform.
Quality wheels, in both build and the way they ride
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fulcrum Wind 40 Disc Brake Wheels
Size tested: 700C, rim height 40 mm
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, "The combination of attention to aerodynamics and versatility creates Wind 40 DB.
"It's natural to point out that the design of the 40 mm rim is the direct descendant of the 55 profile: all the solutions developed for the higher profile have been included here, in a less specialised version.
"So 40 mm, a light rim, created by the superposition of wide, modern unidirectional layers, with a pronounced profile (8 mm radius): innovative shapes, designed to blend with the tyre in a single element capable of eliminating turbulence, avoiding interrupting the flow of air that meets the wheel during the race.
"But 40 mm also means versatility, because it is generally one of the sizes most appreciated by those who do not want to overdo things, but want an excellent wheel uphill, stiff and snappy, precise when riding. The system is completed with aluminium hubs, designed at the CNC, which support 24 "straight pull" spokes, guaranteeing maximum overall rigidity, both in acceleration and when braking, without influences due to the asymmetric nature of the forces coming from the disc and cogset.
"Wind 40 DB is certainly the multi-purpose choice, with a strong focus on aerodynamics, to be fast, very fast, uphill, fast, very fast, on the flat, and just as much so downhill."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Fulcrum lists these details:
TYRE TYPE 2-Way fit (for clincher and tubeless)
TYRE SIZE 28"
DISCIPLINE Road / Triathlon
ASTM CATEGORY 2
WEIGHT 1620 g
RIM MATERIAL Carbon
RIM MATERIAL DETAILS Full carbon, "UD" - carbon fiber finishing
PROFILE HEIGHT Medium
RIM HEIGHT Front and rear: 40 mm
RIM WIDTH 27 mm
INNER RIM WIDTH (CHANNEL) 19 mm
TYRE WIDTH From 23 mm to 50 mm
BRAKING SYSTEM Disc brake
BRAKING SURFACE/BRAKES OPTIONS AFS
FRONT AXLE COMPATIBILITY HH12-100
REAR AXLE COMPATIBILITY HH12-142
FRONT WHEEL SPOKES 24 (16 left - 8 right)
REAR WHEEL SPOKES 24 (8 left - 16 right)
SPOKES: MATERIAL Stainless steel, double butted
SPOKES: PROFILE Rounded, straight pull
FRONT HUB Aluminum, Aluminum flanges
REAR HUB Aluminum, Aluminum flanges
BEARINGS Sealed cartridge bearings
OTHERS Aluminum Axle
WEIGHT LIMIT 109 kg (Cyclist)
FWB OPTIONS HG11, Campy, XDr
A stiff set of wheels that perform well whether you're going up or down.
They respond like much lighter wheels.
There are cheaper/lighter wheels out there from a few brands, but on the whole the Fulcrums are well priced for the quality of the build and how they perform.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yes, no problems with trueness or spoke tension at all.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Tyres fitted very easily, and when set up tubeless they popped onto the rim securely.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A quality set of all-rounders, just as happy in the hills as they are on the flat.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Great quality and I love the look.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
In all honesty there isn't much to dislike.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall I'd say they're very good: a quality wheelset that delivers a great performance for what is a pretty good price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!