Fulcrum are rolling its professional-level wheels out of the WorldTour and under the bars of a wider audience.
There are a few elements of being ‘pro’ and obeying ‘the rules’ that Cyclist respects. Keeping our shoes clean shoes and avoiding white knicks but when it comes to practicality, we ride clinchers, repair our own punctures, and keep tubulars for race day. Some may swear by them but if you’ve ever waited while one of your group has punctured a tubular and the sealant hasn’t worked, you can’t deny there wasn’t a feeling of relief that you had an inner tube and tyre as they called for an Uber.
The SPEED series sits atop of Fulcrum’s technology tree, the same wheels Vincenzo Nibali is riding right now during La Vuelta but unlike the Shark, the everyday rider doesn’t have a team car following them now a service course full of glued tubulars. So, Fulcrum has introduced clinchers into their SPEED range.
This isn’t a watered down version of the peloton’s wheelset, the componentry and build remain the same. Fulcrum have redesigned the rim to accommodate an inner tube and hook the bead of a clincher tyre. Two models are offered, the difference being depth, 40C (40mm) and 55C (55mm).
40mm may appear to start in the deep end but gone are the days of low profile climbing specific rims, Nibali proved this taking La Vuelta’s mountainous Stage 3 aboard 40mm SPEEDs. The 40C weighs in at 1,420 grams and the 55C at 1,470 grams. While the weights differences may be small, the 40C handles crosswinds significantly better and the 55C – which is intended more for flat and fast riding. The 40C is roughly 200 grams more than Nibali’s ultralight 40T (40mm tubular) but with the weight penalty comes a financial gain, although exact AUD prices are to be confirmed, the clinchers will be significantly more affordable.
The lightweight package comes courtesy of a full carbon rim with a ’twill weave’ pattern, keeping the layup responsive whilst dampening road vibration. The beauty of the weave is evident through the clear gloss resin. Any blemishes on the brake track are given laser treatment, eliminating surface imperfections, claiming up to 30% better braking performance than previous models.
With this new SPEED C option available, could it provide the winning edge for Bahrain-Merida? Clinchers certainly worked for Tony Martin. All eyes are now on Nibali.