Fulcrum have built up a good reputation for wheels that are both dependable and offer good levels of performance, but generally they’ve come at a premium. These new Red Winds hopefully set a new trend of offering very good wheels at very good prices.
These are the base model Red Winds, with an aluminium alloy braking surface mated to a structural carbon ﬁbre rim section, laced up with aero steel spokes on basic but very well made hubs. Although Fulcrum are keen on their acronyms and labelling any tiny bit of tech as a selling point, the basics of these wheels are really quite simple.
50mm deep aero section rims, easily replaced spokes in a length that's becoming quite common, alloy braking surface, serviceable and adjustable hub bearings that spin buttery smooth out of the box, a weight of 1,858g for the pair (103g more than claimed), and all for under £1,000. They’re available with either a Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo freehub.
Tyre fit is just on the right side of tight, without needing fingers the Hulk would be proud of. Out on the road, though, is where the real eye-opener is – these things perform like wheels costing a whole lot more.
There’s a lot of rubbish talked about aero wheels, and a lot of it comes from wind tunnel data and computational ﬂuid dynamics. Well, we don’t ride in wind tunnels much, and a mathematical simulation of a wheel won’t get you out on a ride either. There’s even more nonsense bandied around about wheel weight and rim weight, or more correctly, mass.
Something that's spoken about far less often is just how a wheel rides, and this is where the Red Winds excel. They handle sidewinds very well, are nice and stiff without feeling harsh, and generally behave like good wheels should. If you can ignore all the technical ramblings and debates about wind cheating and rotating mass, the Red Winds will reward you with a quick and precise ride that can transform the feel of a bike.
You get little extra touches with the wheels too, like a good pair of wheel bags and a quality pair of quick-releases. They’re die-straight out of the box, and even if they do need straightening you can just use a regular spoke key. At this price, they’re best summed up as being just a little bit awesome.