Fulcrum Red Metal XRP 29 wheels review£999.00

A smooth, durable wheelset for high mileage fans

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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.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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