Fulcrum has just released two new sets of carbon wheels, the Speed 42 and the Speed 57, with 42mm and 57mm profile respectively. With the release of this product, Fulcrum is delivering a first taste of a completely reworked aesthetic concept and a long list of newly developed technologies, setting a new direction for the italian brand and reimagining the complete product range ahead. At the Spring Road Connection that took place back in March, from RAW Cycling Magazine we had the opportunity to discuss the development process with Fulcrum’s team and to test in depth the Speed 42.
Speed 42 and 57
The first thing that stands out is the new look and feel of the wheelsets. Fulcrum has always been focused on building technically advanced and aesthetically impeccable products, but this new generation of products with lasered logos and extra thin metallic inserts are specially sober and elegant, ready to match any bike and any colour scheme.
The development is performed in Italy and the mass production is done in Fulcrum’s own facilities in Romania. This allows the brand to control the process and output quality, with the clear objective of reducing maintenance to the minimum.
In addition, the construction philosophy of the Italian manufacturer has not changed a single bit, with a product that is engineered as a complete system with a number of technological improvements working in perfect harmony and delivering high performance.
Fulcrum has made some remarkable improvements, like the increased rim bed width from 19 to 23 mm. Following current trends, the cross-section profile of the rim has also been widened with a radius of 9.5 mm.These new wider rims are ideally paired with 28 mm tires, providing a level of performance without compromises that has been tested to provide optimum aerodynamic penetration, reduced rolling resistance and extra comfort. Compared to the previous 19 mm rims, the average aerodynamic advantage measured in the wind tunnel has been increased by 10%.
Regarding the rest of the parts, the spokes are perfectly aligned between the hub and the rim so that they never touch, to improve performance and increase the lifetime of the wheels. This is one of the key points of the Fulcrum product philosophy, which is applied to all their products.
The core element of the wheels, the hubs, have been completely redesigned to house a more precise and lighter freewheel mechanism than the previous version. The size of the flanges has been reduced by 40% and the central body by 10%, giving the wheel greater endurance capacity with lower aerodynamic drag, without compromising torsional stiffness. Finally, the bearings used in the Speed 42 and 57 are cup and cone and use the USB™system (Ceramic Ultra Smooth Bearings) which provides unparalleled levels of smoothness and a frictionless feeling.
On the road, the overall experience is that of a high-end pair of wheels. They are sturdy and robust, proof of that is that they are commercialised with no rider weight limit. Indeed, they do not classify exactly as super light wheels, however with a contained weight of 1410g (Speed 42) and 1497g (Speed 57) and a very solid construction they provide a very nimble and reactive climbing and sprinting feeling.
On the aerodynamic side, one thing that stands out is that even with considerable cross winds, the turbulence and lateral shaking was very mild and controllable, which provides a very pleasant ride on the flat sections or fast downhills.
Finally, when handling these wheels on tight corners and pushing towards the limit, we must acknowledge that in order to tame them, they require a bit of skill and attention. The same extra stiffness that helps the wheels being reactive and solid, makes them also not very forgiving while cornering.
In conclusion, this is a 360 package with a well thought construction that delivers on Fulcrum’s claim on precision and perfection. They are solid, reliable and high performing wheels without compromises.