The Bike List

Fulcrum Racing Zero Clincher Wheelset £900

Tested by Christophe Demoulin, tester for The Bike List

Fulcrum are a long standing favourite in the cycling industry, with a reputation for sturdy wheels built to last. Broadly speaking, they have three ranges of wheels: the Racing series which are alloy rims targeted as training wheels or budget racing wheels; the Red Wind series - carbon wheels with alloy brake tracks for racing performance in all conditions; and the Racing Light and Racing Speed series which are top end carbon clincher wheels for high performance.

The TBL team got a hold of a pair of Racing Zero clinchers - the top end from the Racing series. There are two versions of this wheelset either the "Dark Label" with black spokes and hubs, or the "Red Passion" with red spokes and hubs for those more fiery and flashy riders out there. Fulcrum have thrown a whole host of technologies and innovations at this wheelset to deliver a high performance shallow section wheel. Holding true with the popular trend, the front and rear rims differ in depth: 26mm at the front and 30mm at the back. In theory, this offers optimal handling at the front end while increasing stiffness and aerodynamics at the back where you apply the power. This theory is proved on every corner, descent and acceleration - the wheels handle exceptionally well in all conditions over all qualities of road surface.

Fulcrum racing rims are quite unique from their competition in that they are shaped to protrude slightly at the spoke nipple, to remove areas of tension in the rim. In layman's terms they are built to last, and with the triple-milled spoke holes, the rim weight is kept to a minimum. At 1435g claimed weight (ours weighed in at 1470g without tyres, cassette or quick release skewers) for the pair, it's nothing to write home about, but equally, they don't impose any sort of weight penalty. Fortunately, their behaviour is much more akin to a lighter wheelset, providing little resistance on the way up any sort of incline.

The ride offered by these wheels seemed a bit underwhelming at first. Our field tests at constant power outputs didn't dazzle anyone in terms of pure speed and the general feel was solid, but perhaps also a bit harsh over uneven surfaces. Few thoroughbred racing wheels will offer a plush and comfortable ride, so these Racing Zeroes didn't differentiate themselves…at first. However, the moment we attacked the hills with harder out of the saddle efforts, they came into their own.

The combination of the unique Fulcrum lacing pattern on the rear wheel and the new increased flange size offered a huge amount of stiffness. We were able to ride with the brake blocks a mere millimetre off the rim without worrying about any sort of rub - even at 500W efforts on a 10% incline! Over long, hilly days in the saddle, the Racing Zeroes offer a confidence that allows you to attack repeatedly and take the racing line effortlessly, absorbing road imperfections, adverse cambers and tight corners as though they weren't there.

Fulcrum use a 'SHARC' rating mechanism for their wheels to determine their performance in five key areas: Smoothness (9.0); Handling (9.0), Aerodynamics (8.5); Reactivity (9.0) and Comfort (8.0). By and large, this assessment feels right, certainly the three 9.0's and the slightly lower score for comfort. In terms of aerodynamics however, the score seems a bit optimistic especially when considering that some much deeper section Fulcrums score only slightly higher at a 9.0.

We took the brave decision of carrying out some field tests to compare the Fulcrums to a pair of American Classics: the Argent Road Tubeless. I say 'brave' because it is inevitable that such tests can cause a few frowns, but we felt the need to test wheels more objectively. So, we developed a few field tests using power as the constant variable which, with the same tyres (Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 23mm), should offer a reasonable degree of objectivity. However, these are field tests completed on open roads with shop-bought equipment to measure performance that will not be 100% accurate. Wind direction, speed and temperature are simple examples of variables we simply have no control over.

The Fulcrums are a slightly shallower section wheel with 26/30mm front/back, and slightly narrower too at 21mm at the brake track, narrowing to 19mm on the inside of the rim. The Argent Road Tubeless on the other hand were 30mm front and back, and slightly wider too at 22mm. The results were astonishing: at a shade under 300W over 820 flat metres, the Racing Zeroes were on average 8 seconds slower than the Argents, taking both a tailwind and a headwind into account. We also did a similar seated uphill test at 385W over 550m resulting in a similar result: the Argents were 10secs quicker! Wheel weight will come more into play with uphill, and as the claimed weight for the Argents is 1372g with a tubeless system which is lighter than a tyre and tube clincher system, so weight goes some way to explaining the result.

Over long stretches of road, especially descents, the Fulcrums did sometimes feel like they didn't reward us with as much as much speed as we wanted or felt we deserved for the amount of input. But, after several brutal rides in the Ardennes on some less than perfect roads, both front and back were still true as an arrow. Not a single hairpin was overcooked and handling was perfect all the way through. The area in which the wheels really excelled though, was stiffness. Those riders familiar with the Ardennes will know the likes of the Mur d'Huy, a 20+% incline for over a kilometre - a real stinger! But the Fulcrums swallowed up the Mur easily, along with every other climb thrown in their path. Out of the saddle efforts were never hampered with any sort of flex at any gradient or effort.

For the sake of big distances and reliability, the Fulcrum Racing Zero is an excellent wheelset that will give you mile after mile of solid, confident handling. As such, they are more of a 'go-further' wheelset rather than a 'go-faster' - if you're looking for an extra few seconds in a time trial or a race, other wheels are more suited to such demands. But if you're headed to the mountains and want some stiff reliable wheels, you're onto a winner.

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At a glance

Verdict Fulcrum’s Racing Zero wheelset is a reliable and solid wheelset, built to last and at a reasonable weight, but not the fastest around for the price.

Fulcrum says:

Weight pair

Claimed 1435 (610gF/825gR) - Actual 1470g (620gF/870gR)

Spokes front


Spoke count rear


Spoke type

Radial Aero

Rim depth

26mm F / 30mm R

Rider weight limit



USB Ceramic

Weight with Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 23mm tyres & tubes

2005g (900F/1.15R) - each tyre + tube = 280g

Cassette compatibility (Shimano)

10 and 11 speed compatible

Quick release

125g (61gF/64gR)


Racing Zero Clincher and Tubular

Unrivaled in the peloton: extraordinary performance and high impact aesthetics make this wheel the point of reference for cyclists.

Race after race, Zero wheels have become synonymous with excellence, quality, performance, reliability… and victory!

The new Oversize flange revolutionises the performance of what was already the class-beating aluminium wheel and raises the bar even higher.

The Patented technical solutions, the materials used and the wheel geometries make it the ideal partner for competition.

Racing ZeroTM clincher is also available in the "Dark Label" version with black hubs as well as in the new "Red Passion" version with red spokes.

Racing Zero with Shimano Inc. FW body is compatible with 10 and 11 speed sprockets.

The Racing Zero wheel is entirely hand-assembled by a specialised Fulcrum® technician and is checked in every tiny detail with electronic instrumentation. This ensures maximum performance and reliability for all Fulcrum® wheels.


  • Smoothness:9.0
  • Handling:9.0
  • Aerodynamics:8.5
  • Reactivity:9.0
  • Comfort: 8.0



This special milling makes it possible to reduce the peripheral weight of the rim and to increase the reactivity of the wheel


26mm at the front for optimal manoeuvrability; 30mm at the back to transfer all the power to the wheel


Allows to obtain a perfectly even structure and to remove tension areas in the rim


Enables the maximum aerodynamic penetration and, thanks to the material used, less weight and greater reactivity


Make it possible to reduce the peripheral mass of the wheel to the minimum, thus increasing its reactivity


Provides a high level of lateral stiffness and reduces the weight to a minimum


Reduces the overall weight of the wheel


8% more torsional stiffness. Greater reactivity to each change in pedalling tempo and more efficient power transmission to the wheel.


Steel spine and eccentric, lever with drill lightening and aluminum die. Eccentric-closure system allows cyclist to modulate the pressure necessary for heightened sensitivity to find the proper closure for the block. Easy to use, with a material resistant to wear and tear, rust, and pressure.

Supplier: Jim Walker and Co Ltd, +44 (0)1444 243000,