Wheels have changed in the last 6-7 years and with most of the focus on deeper carbon aero wheels the low profile alloy clincher wheel has not seen much innovation. The good news for anyone looking for a reliable, reasonably priced, low profile wheel is that Fulcrum have made a wheel that's full of innovation and is going to knock your socks off.
The Racing 3 has a fantastically smooth ride quality and presents itself as the go to wheel for almost everything but high level racing. At 1550 grams the set is reasonably light for it's stiffens, strength and expected reliability. Granted they don't make the bike look fast but they could be a good race choice for a heavier rider where sprinting and hard cornering are involved.
Fulcrum wheels are made by Campagnolo and benefit from Campagnolo hub technology. The Racing 3 has lightweight alloy hubs with "cup and cone" bearings. The guts of the Racing 3 hubs are for the most part Campagnolo Record and can be expected to outlast even the most frugal cyclist interest in these wheels. The additional advantage here is that cup and cone makes for a wheel that not only rolls fast but has a stiff feeling out of the saddle. Don't want to throw anyone under the bus here but Mavic, Easton, DT Swiss hubs don't have this characteristic and it's something that I feel sets Campagnolo and Shimano (they use cup and cone as well) wheels apart.
Rims and spokes borrow some technologies developed by Mavic. No rim tape required as the rim has no holes in it for spoke access. This allows Fulcrum to use thinner alloy for a lighter rim without losing stiffens Nipples pass through the valve hole when the wheel is build using a magnet to direct it to the spoke hole. I would not expect to see many if any broken spokes with these wheels. The reason for this is the higher tension straight pull spokes. How this works is that the higher tension keeps rider weight distributed more evenly over all the spokes of the wheel and not hanging only only the top 4 spokes as the wheel rotates. This is one of the biggest issues with handbuilt wheels, the slight jerk on the spoke as it takes up strain each time the wheel rotates eventually snaps the spoke. Not the case with the Racing 3
Rounding out the overall performance of the Racing 3 is the aero spokes and a unique way the rear wheel is built. The front wheel has 16 radial laced aero spokes and the rim has a lower profile to the rear. This adds to the smooth feel of the front wheel.
The rear rim is taller than the front and has a 2:1 spoke pattern. By having 2 spokes on the drive side for every one on the non-drive brings the spoke tension on both sides closer to even which makes for a stiffer and more reliable wheel. Also makes for a unique looking rear wheel. 7 spokes on the non drive and 14 on the drive.
Also available in 2-way fit to accommodate road tubeless tires the Racing 3 2-way promises to be something very special. The wheels I had for demo were regular clinchers but I think it's worth the extra few $$ for the tubeless. The wheels are no different only the shape of the rims bead hook and the pre-installed tubeless valves which can be easily removed.
Hubs for 2013 are white and the rear has a much larger drive side flange than the previous model. Looks cool and according to Fulcrum adds 9% stiffness. On the right bike the white hubs are a real standout. New 2013 Shimano/SRAM wheels are both 10 and 11 speed compatible so the racing 3 becomes a excellent candidate for anyone looking for a 11 speed Shimano do it all wheel.
The new 2013 quick release skewers are very solid and have a very smooth yet sure closure, they are heavy but perfect for these wheels. Not a foot out of place for the Racing 3 - if they these came stock on your bike it's going to take a small fortune to find something better.
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