In my last review I wrote about the Fulcrum and covered my experiences, likes and dislikes of the Fulcrum Racing 7s my wheel of choice for training. Over all the Racing 7s are good training wheel set for the money.
I have now had enough mileage on my Fulcrum Racing 3s to give a fair review. I have ridden the 3s like the 7s over a myriad of road conditions. However I must say that most of time riding the 3s has been on more vertical routes.
The Fulcrum Racing 3s are touted as being a Training and Racing wheel set. I am using my Racing 3s for competition only and my Racing 7s for training and pit wheels.
Wheel set features:
- The aluminum rim, with a height of 26 mm, features special milling for lightness
- The rim bed is not drilled. Therefore, in addition to the weight advantage provided by the elimination of the need for rim tape, the undrilled rim bed also features a mechanical advantage: greater torsional rigidity and greater vertical elasticity for the wheel.
- The oversize hubs, with an aluminum body and axle, feature adjustable high-precision loose ball bearings.
- The 2 mm stainless steel aero spokes with 16 spokes for the front and 21 for the rear wheel. The spoking is of the radial type for the front wheel and of the crossed type with doubling of the right-hand spokes for the rear.
- Racing 3 wheels incorporate an exclusive Fulcrum® feature: Dynamic Balance™. The wheel is balanced during rotation thanks to a special rim design that counterbalances the joint section.
- Racing 3 wheels are compatible with Campagnolo®, Shimano and Sram drivetrains and are supplied with the Fulcrum® quick releases.
- Nominal weight*:
- front: 736 g
- rear: 923 g
- Total weight w/o QRs: 1659
* The weight of the wheels does not include the quick release, and it refers to the lightest configuration.
To learn about Fulcrum’s extensive list of features on the Racing 3s such as 2:1 Two-to-One™, Dynamic Balance™ and MoMag™ visit there web site here.
I really like these wheels! My last pair of race wheels were Neuvation R28 Aero 3s with Ceramic Bearings. The Neuvations were great after the ceramic upgrade and sliced through the wind with huge bladed spokes but were overly stiff, painfully stiff. The Fulcrum Racing 3s may actually be stiffer than the Neuvations but with out that back breaking rigidity. How is it possible to be stiffer with out being overly stiff? I am going to attribute it to the fact that the rim bed is not drilled and the spokes on the racing 3s are aero but not overly aero. The racing 3s are not the lightest and that is OK with me as I am not a weight weenie rider and find myself riding more crits than Road Races with long climbs. However I gained a full 1 MPH on one of my favorite climbs when I took them out for the first time. I will gladly recommend the Fulcrums to my teammates.
What I Like:
- Smooth loose ball bearings – feel like ceramic bearings w/o the cost of ceramics
- Silent free hub allows you to sneak through the pace line
- Relatively easy to mount a tire (The Neuvations were a real pain to mount tires on)
- No rim strip needed
- Feel light and spin up very quickly
- Semi aero profile does not make for a cross wind fight
- Stiffness with out the harsh characteristics of other aero/semi aero
What I could live with out:
- Price could be a bit cheaper – Prices range from 600.00 – 900.00! US
- Wheels could also be a bit lighter
- The quick releases that ship with the 2009 wheels are OK (2010 QR may have seen a design change)
The 2010 Fulcrum wheels may also see a price increase across the board as Fulcrum wheels are gaining poplarity due to problems at Mavic and the recent UCI approval of all of their models for racing in UCI events. You can still find some 2009 models online if you hurry. 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. As of the writing of this article I still cannot find any polices with USA Cycling related to wheels. While the cost of the Fulcrum Racing 3s is approaching what you can get entry level Carbon Fiber wheels these days you will not get a hub as nice as Fulcrums.
Get out and ride…