Fulcrum Racing 5 CX wheels review
The CX version of Fulcrum’s Racing 5 is aimed at the cyclo-cross rider, and includes double gasket seals to help keep water, mud and dust out of the bearings, extending their lifespan and reducing service intervals. This extra protection also makes them an ideal training wheel, particularly for wet and filthy winter riding.
Highs: Price, rigidity, performance
Lows: Slight unevenness at rim joint
Fulcrum claims its 2014 Racing 5 CX wheels are 115g lighter than the previous version, with four per cent greater response, or ‘reactivity’ as it puts it. We’re not sure you’d notice that in the real world, but their weight – 770g front, 1010g rear (with rim tapes, but not skewers) – puts them firmly in training or starter race wheel territory.
In spite of the price Fulcrum hasn’t skimped on features. An asymmetric rear rim is matched to a hub with an oversized driveside flange accommodating 14 of the 21 spokes, which are laced using Fulcrum’s 2:1 pattern. Each wheel has an oversized pair of spokes, opposite the non-welded rim joint, to better balance rotation.
The front rim is 25mm deep, the rear 28mm, but both are 22mm wide. This equates to a taut rear wheel with great response – reactivity even – to power demands, the asymmetric rim and spoking pattern effectively transferring your pedalling input to your chosen rubber. The 5 CXs are willing and effective climbers too, offering a notable advantage over entry-level hoops.
Their lateral rigidity results in a stable ride with no noticeable deflection. The only minor negative on our test set was a slight imperfection in a rim joint, causing a ‘tick’ when braking.
For a versatile, robust and reliable wheelset, the Racing 5 CX is great value. Their extra protection against the elements makes perfect sense for cyclo-cross, or to extend the lifespan of your best wheels by giving them the winter off.