The heavily machined inner face of Fulcrum's Red Metal rim has parallels with Mavic’s CrossMax wheels and does a similar job of removing excess metal between the spokes while leaving the anchor points reinforced.
At 1678g for a pair they’re 100g heavier than the latest CrossMax SLs, but still put a spring in the step of most bikes compared with a stock wheelset. The 19mm internal rim works best with 2.25in or narrower tyres, but it’s sealed as standard and blows up tubeless easily.
Stiffness is decent for slotting through tight gaps or holding reasonably aggressive lines. We’ve dinged ours off rocks and steps without any damage on trail 29ers and cyclocross bikes.
Where they shine is smoothness. The cup and cone bearings are silky even in sets we’ve had for over a year. Allen key lockrings mean simple adjustment if they develop slack.
The titanium freehub is invulnerable to scarring and they’re simple to strip and clean as long as you’re careful with the pawl retaining circlip spring. The carbon centred front hub is switchable between 15mm or QR and you can order the rear in standard or XD freehub format. Rear axle kits are available for 142x12mm. Price is high for an alloy wheelset but worthwhile if you’re into big XC mileage.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.