By Lars Hundley
Italian wheel manufacturer Fulcrum, has revealed their latest redesigned Speed 42 and 57 bicycle wheels.
The development process reportedly included over 4,000 hours of testing in wind tunnels, laboratories, and open-road conditions. The result, according to Fulcrum, is an improved product in terms of aerodynamics, rolling resistance, lightness, and handling. The Speed 42 wheelset has a claimed weight of 1,410 grams, and the Speed 57 tips the scale at a claimed 1,495 grams.
Fulcrum has increased the rim’s inner width from 19mm to 23mm and introduced a new rim profile, which is higher, wider, and more aerodynamic. The company says that this combination, when paired with 28mm tires, enhances the wheels’ performance.
According to Fulcrum’s data, the new Speed wheelsets showcase a significant improvement in handling, with a 17% improvement compared to the previous generation. Furthermore, the wheels are compatible with both tubed and tubeless tires.
In particular, Fulcrum’s new Speed 42 and 57 wheelsets feature an innovative design that eliminates the need for tubeless rim tape. The company’s assembly technology and tubeless rim result in an undrilled inner rim channel, providing a seamless surface for tubeless tire installation. Additionally, the wheels maintain a traditional hooked design, which enhances safety and compatibility with both tubed and tubeless tires available on the market. This combination of features aims to provide cyclists with a reliable and hassle-free tubeless experience. If you’ve ever struggled with tubeless tape leaks, you will appreciate the significance of an undrilled rim.
In terms of the hub design, Fulcrum states that it has been completely reworked to house a lighter and more precise freewheel mechanism. The reduction in the size of the flanges and the central body, according to Fulcrum, provides better aerodynamics and torsional stiffness. The Speed 42 and 57 wheelsets also employ the USB system (Ceramic Ultra Smooth Bearings), promising unparalleled smoothness.
The redesigned spokes use a Two-to-One system, doubling the spokes in areas subject to greater mechanical stress. Fulcrum claims that this construction, combined with ideal spoke tensioning, ensures maximum power transfer. The front wheel therefore has 16 spokes on the disc side and 8 on the other side, while the rear wheel is built in the opposite way to contrast the forces developed by the transmission. This specific construction, along with the perfect tensioning of the spokes, provides the wheels with the torsional stiffness which they claim provides a maximum transfer of power.
The Speed 42 wheels are currently available, with prices starting at $2,692. The Speed 57 model is slated for a June 2023 release.
For more information, visit Fulcrum’s website at fulcrumwheels.com.