Range-topping Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon wheels mix carbon rims and aluminium spokes to create a brilliant blend of speed and durability
Fulcrum’s wheelset is a carbon/aluminium hybrid with a UD carbon rim and aero straight-pull spokes. This is said to be a stiff and agile combination that should improve the performance of any ride. Effectively these carbon hoops are an update to the original Fulcrum Racing Zero wheelset, which is all aluminium and nearly £1,000 cheaper than the Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon wheels being tested here.
The Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbons weigh in at 1,358 grams. They have a 30mm-deep rim, resulting in a potential aero benefit (albeit very small) without losing climbing prowess. The ride feel is very direct, offering a playful amount of zip and responsiveness. The urgency is nice and at no point have I felt these to be sluggish.
Descending is a joy on the Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon wheels. They feel planted, very well balanced and with a decent brake feel means they are predictable and stable when pushed. The front wheel does tend to catch the wind a little, detracting slightly from the overall experience – but more on that below.
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The rim features Fulcrum’s 3Diamant surface treatment to help braking. This basically removes resin from the braking surface to allow the specially developed Fulcrum pads to bite into the woven carbon better. And it works very well indeed in the dry, even in warmer conditions of Majorca.
Braking is instant, predictable and I didn’t feel any fade. However, as with many – if not all – carbon rims I’ve ridden in rainy conditions, braking leaves something to be desired in the wet. However, it isn’t the worst we’ve tested.
At 30mm deep the rims shouldn’t really be a problem in crosswinds. But to our surprise the Fulcrums seemed to be affected by buffeting from the wind. It catches frequently at the front, and although it is by no means in danger of flinging you off your bike, it does have an impact on confidence especially when pushing on descents. The chunky-looking rim and those large bladed spokes may play a part in this.
The super-smooth ceramic bearings limit any resistance in the hubs while the oversized nature of the driveside flange offers a visual reminder of the stiffness these wheels offer. Hard sprint efforts don’t seem to force much flex and neither does climbing out of the saddle on steep descents, spinning up nicely to speed. And once up to cruising speed these Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon wheels glide nicely.
The rear hub doesn’t have the ratchet engagement click, which is usually something reassuring to hear, though engagement is quick and precise. This all helps the wheelset to perform admirably – you don’t really need to look beyond these Fulcrum Racing Zero carbon wheels for a race wheel upgrade.
Fulcrum has done a great job at improving its aluminium Racing Zeros with this carbon offering. Although a little pricey you get a lot of performance. Braking in the dry is brilliant and the wheels feel great and agile. This can be really felt when pushing the descents, which made my recent Majorca trip a true joy. The only downside is that they catch the wind more than other 30mm deep section wheels I've tested.