Fulcrum Speed 40T & Racing Zero: Threading the Needle
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Fulcrum Speed 40T and Racing Zero offer the most modern wheels from Italian manufacturer.
For a structure so simple, so elegant and so effective, the modern bicycle wheel presents a bewildering array of features that all impact performance in profound ways. Durability, weight, handling, aerodynamics, rolling resistance—all are affected by even minute differences.
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For many years, Fulcrum’s high-end wheels, based on Campagnolo designs, helped set the standard; but as wheel design evolved incredibly quickly, they were found lacking in a few key areas, namely aerodynamics and making the most of a tire—the rims were too narrow. Not anymore. And these two latest Fulcrum designs show just how far the wheels have come.
At only 1,213 grams and 40mm deep, the new Speed 40T checks all of the boxes we expect from Fulcrum—it’s incredibly light, it instantly reacts to power, it brakes as well as any carbon wheel ever has and the durability is exceptional. A host of Fulcrum technologies make all this possible, from CULT ceramic bearings to a new brake-track treatment that ensures resin deposits can’t impede braking. But what is truly special about the new Speed 40T is the 24.5mm rim shape. While not as wide as some on the road, it hits a sweet spot by keeping the weight low, ensuring compatibility with all frames, yet still provides a 22mm or 23mm tubular a generous rim bed upon which to lounge, giving the tire the ability to use every ounce of its volume and suppleness to improve handling.
At the pinnacle of Fulcrum’s clincher line is the Racing Zero—a name that conjures up dreams of solo victories in the mountains. This is the first-ever carbon Racing Zero, but its alloy heritage is not forgotten. The new wheel is the first carbon rim to use alloy spokes. The Fulcrum Racing Zero poses more reactivity and stiffness in shallow carbon, 30mm, than any other wheel in the peloton. It has the new 3Diamant brake track, ceramic bearings and every other cutting-edge piece of Fulcrum technology, but now it is 24.5mm wide. This width again works its wonders on the tire, but allows an overall weight of just 1,358 grams.
Fulcrum, with the Speed 40T and Racing Zero, has managed to thread the rim- width needle flawlessly. Wide enough to make magic with tires, wide enough to improve aerodynamics and crosswind performance, but narrow enough to keep weight ultralow and ensure easy compatibility, especially if you ride narrow training wheels.
$TBD/1,213 g (Fulcrum Speed 40T), $2,272/ 1,358 g (Racing Zero Carbon); gitabike.com