Carbon clinchers have flourished over the past 5 years; show up at a bike race on 32 hole, three-cross, aluminium, box rim clinchers and prepare to be mocked. Most riders in most categories race around on 40-80 millimeter depth carbon wheels with 18-24 spokes laced in a variety of creative ways. Sitting at the starting line, looking at the wheels they all appear similar, but small differences in design and materials make for dramatic differences in performance. We’ve ridden the Fulcrum Red Wind XLR Dark Labels over the past several months of the racing season to understand what separates these hoops from the rest of the field.
We’ve tested Fulcrum wheels in the past. We were impressed with the compliant ride and responsive acceleration of both the Fulcrum Racing 5 and the Fulcrum Racing Quattro. Like the Quattros and the Racing 5s, the Red Wind XLRs use the Fulcrum-specific 2:1 spoke design and are handbuilt. The 2:1 design doubles the spoke count on the rear wheel drive side vs the rear wheel non-drive side. According to Fulcrum, this ensures a more responsive wheel when accelerating, without compromising weight or vertical compliance. Most of the time deep section, carbon-rimmed wheelsets are stiffer, both laterally and vertically, than normal aluminium wheels due to a shorter spoke length and a more rigid rim, courtesy of the rim depth as well as the material. We were interested to see how the unique spoke composition of the rear wheel would impact the ride…. Read More >
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