Monday, November 30, 2009 4.00pm
By Justin Loretz, What Mountain Bike
Fulcrum’s newest wheels use their key technologies and tweak them with a little more material to give the strength and stiffness hard-hitting trail riders demand.
This tech includes the 2:1 spoke pattern from their top-end cross-country race wheels, which places twice as many spokes on the rear wheel’s chain side for improved drive. The 24 chunky alloy spokes deliver real performance and we’re impressed with how they accelerate, turn and carry speed.
With big, heavy tyres fitted on long-travel bikes and a standard quick-release front hub, it is still possible to induce a small amount of flex in full-bore rock garden attacks. This isn’t always a bad thing, as it communicates information back – usually that a face plant is pending.
You can forgive any slight flex considering the 1XL’s relatively feathery 1,650g total weight (735g front and 915 rear). The stiff tubeless-ready rim is heavily machined between the spoke holes to reduce weight and take mass away from the outside of the wheel, where it’s felt most.
Tubeless and tubeless-ready tyres mount easily, thanks partly to the patented Momag design which avoids unnecessary drilling of the rim bed and creates a well-sealed rim section. The hubs are a lesson in old-school craftsmanship, with traditional cup-and-cone style bearings.
For owners of through-axle cross-country/trail suspension forks, the 1XL front wheels are also available in QR15 or 20mm through-axle fork versions and in splined centrelock or international six-bolt rotor mount configurations.
Using the wheels with the through-axles does increase the steering precision, especially in situations where they’re subject to delective loads from rocks, ruts and roots.
These are a solid performance upgrade for most fast trail bikes, but they are pricey – benchmark equivalents are 280g heavier but half the price (Hope Pro 2s on DT5.1D rims).
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