About 5 weeks ago I pulled the trigger on set of wheels that I use for training rides and pit wheels. These wheels had to be tough enough to manage the roads I ride on, comfortable enough to ward off “Monkey Butt” and pretty cheap as I was also going to be buying dedicated race wheels to0. I had one more request form my cycling coach, “Make them heavy!”
So I went to my LBS and purchased a set of the 2009 Red, Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels. Without Quick Releases, Tires and tubes. The set weighs in at 1930 grams! I added some no name butyl tubes and a set Michelin Krylion Carbon Tires and use the QRs that came with the wheels. The Krylions are an excellent no worries training tire that are some what light and supple.
Fulcrum in name is a recent new comer to the bike racing component market but one that is already making a name for itself.
“Fulcrum Wheels s.r.l. was founded in July 2004 from an idea and from the passion for bikes of three aerospace engineers.The strong points of the young company are: the use of unique patents, continuous technological research and attractive youthful design.”
“Fulcrum wheels gained the trust of great champions right from the beginning and have already crossed the world championship finishing line thrice in just three years: with Tom Boonen in 2005 and with Paolo Bettini in 2006 and 2007. Also the Olympic and world champion Julien Absalon chose Fulcrum wheels and in the year 2007 he awarded the world championship.”
Pretty nice pedigree!
I picked up the super blingy’ red anodized wheels and I caution anyone ordering these online, that photos do not do the Red set justice at all! They are very bright wheels with indoor light. In the sun they can be a bit muted and even look a little darker. As you can see in the photos below even the hubs have been anodized to match. It use to be to get this kind of color matching you had to purchase the components individually and build your own wheels. Not any more!
I have ridden these wheels over all kinds of terrain and they have held up admirably. I have ridden several brands of wheels from several different manufacturers since my return to cycling. While I am no expert when it comes to wheels I know what I like. I like these wheels and here is why:
What I Like:
- Relatively inexpensive for Italian Hardware. Prices range from 300.00 – 400.00 US
- The anodized finish on these wheels is excellent. Not a blemish anywhere from the hub to the rims and the spokes are consistent shade of black.
- While these wheels should be considered heavy they don’t feel heavy and really hold their speed, especially in pace lines.
- While I ride a carbon fiber bike certain road conditions will still beat you to death. I have found that straight pull spokes with the 7s have really helped with road dampening.
- While these wheels are comfortable they are relatively stiff. I have felt zero flex in climbing steep rollers or racing for the county line sprints.
- The hub design makes it easy to service the bearings even for a novice wheel mechanic such as myself.
What I could live with out:
- While the anodized finish is amazing the stickers are bubbling something horrible. I don’t like stickers on wheels very much but I actually like the Fulcrum graphics.
- I have read about several complaints about the hoop connection where the ends meet being rough and cheap looking. I honestly don’t think it looks that bad compared to other wheels in this price range. I tried to take a picture but the seam would never pop like some say it does to the eye.
- The Free Hub is loud! By now I am sure you have read this comment else where if you to are looking to buy these. I actually had a teammate jerk out of position in a pace line when he heard me coasting, a bit behind him as he said “Holly Crap that’s loud”.
- It’s taking a bit longer to break in the sealed bearings than I expected. At least this is what I hope is going on or I may be use to smoother bearings.
- The Fulcrum Racing 7s are the only wheels in there line up that use cartridge bearings. All others use loose ball bearings which are much smoother and cheaper to upgrade to hybrid ceramic bearings.
- While I like the price I also think they could be cheaper. There are several other wheel sets in the 200-250 range that would be just as useful and bomb proof as this wheel set.
The 2009 Fulcrum Racing 7s in Red were not as popular as the black anodized so you may still be able to pick up a set as the 2010 models are coming out soon. I have been told by my LBS that the 7s will still be available in Red for 2010 but that other Fulcrum wheel models may not. The 2010 models may also see a price increase across the board as Fulcrum wheels are gaining popularity due to problems at Mavic and the recent UCI approval of all of their models for racing in UCI events. No word yet if USA Cycling will be passing the same wheel rules that the UCI and other countries are passing in an effort to keep racing safe.
I also purchased a set of Fulcrum Racing 3s which I will review at a later date. Thanks for taking the time to read I hope this review was helpful leave a comment if you have questions.
Keep the wheels spinning.