Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels



tallrider7

New Member
Feb 11, 2008
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Hi all,
New to the forum and I need some info. I'm currently training and racing on a 14 year old Mondonico with 9sp Chorus and am looking to enter the modern era for this season. It is nice to punish other riders on a 23lb steel classic when they are on their uber cool rigs, but there is a point of diminishing returns.

I am currently considering a Specialized Tarmac Ultegra (I know, I know), but am concerned about the Fulcrum Racing 5 wheel set that is speced on this years model. I know that the Fulcrum wheels are Campy's attempt to penetrate the wheel market and compete with Mavic, Bontrager, etc. I have also read the review from 2005 in Roadbike Review. However, the design for the latest Fulcrum Racing 5 has changed and I am anxious to get feedback from anyone who has had 1st hand experience with the 5's.

Also, if anyone is willing to share impressions about the Tarmac frame I'd appreciate that, too.

I'm 6'4", 205lbs and will be training and racing both road races and crits on this rig. I'm a former mechanic and tend to be very proactive about maintaining my equipment (which is why I'm still riding such an ancient bike... that and $$$$$).

Thanks in advance.
 
Dec 30, 2007
2,111
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tallrider7 said:
Hi all,
New to the forum and I need some info. I'm currently training and racing on a 14 year old Mondonico with 9sp Chorus and am looking to enter the modern era for this season. It is nice to punish other riders on a 23lb steel classic when they are on their uber cool rigs, but there is a point of diminishing returns.

I am currently considering a Specialized Tarmac Ultegra (I know, I know), but am concerned about the Fulcrum Racing 5 wheel set that is speced on this years model. I know that the Fulcrum wheels are Campy's attempt to penetrate the wheel market and compete with Mavic, Bontrager, etc. I have also read the review from 2005 in Roadbike Review. However, the design for the latest Fulcrum Racing 5 has changed and I am anxious to get feedback from anyone who has had 1st hand experience with the 5's.

Also, if anyone is willing to share impressions about the Tarmac frame I'd appreciate that, too.

I'm 6'4", 205lbs and will be training and racing both road races and crits on this rig. I'm a former mechanic and tend to be very proactive about maintaining my equipment (which is why I'm still riding such an ancient bike... that and $$$$$).

Thanks in advance.

As a former mechanic and hopefully wheelbuilder, I would say you would be miles ahead designing and building a custom wheelset specifically for you and your needs. The result would be lighter, more reliable and have components supported for a long time. Oh yes, less expensive also.
Like Record hubs, Velocity rims, DT spokes, type thing. I know it doesn't have the coffee shop points of other flashy wheels but wheels, like the bike, is there to get you there, is all.
 

531Aussie

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2004
12,652
303
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at your size, considering those wheels are just 'normal' wheels, which don't provide any particualr aero or (light) weight benefits, I reckon you might as get normal wheels with more spokes, which will be much stiffer and stronger, and probably more durable........like what I use: DT RR1.2 with 32 spokes. Stiff as bricks, baby.

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I tried a few pairs of 'fancy', deep, carbon wheels recently, and they all flexed like **** compared to my DTs, with the exception of an old pair of 32-spoke FIR Antaras. Unfortunately, the braking surfaces on the FIRs were warped, so i couldn't buy them

The DT RR1.2s are very similar to Velocity Deep Vs, etc.

ciocc_front.jpg
 

sogood

New Member
Aug 24, 2006
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I have a set of the original Racing 5 and have done around 7000km on it. It has been a tough set of wheels with many pot hole hits over that time. There has been no maintenance required and has not given me any troubles. It looked to be one that'll hang around for a while yet. But as you know, it's not a particularly light set of wheels but it certainly seemed pretty durable.
 

tallrider7

New Member
Feb 11, 2008
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Thanks for the responses, guys.

Peter: Yes, I've built a lot of wheels (well, not compared to some people, but certainly more than 100 of them) so at some point I will build a set of bomber race wheels. Don't have any experience yet with Velocity rims, but I will certainly check them out.

531: Your DT's look interesting and I will have to add those to the list of wheel products I need to research. By the way, sweet Ciocc. I've obviously got a woodie for Italian stuff and although I've never owned one, I have fond memories of numerous Ciocc's I've seen over the years. They have "presence".

sogood: I'm relieved to hear from someone who actually has miles on the Racing 5's and had good luck with them. The fact is that if I buy the bike I will probably keep the wheels as training/foul-weather/spare race wheels. Besides, I will likely want to feed back my impressions of them as a product to my shop and to Specialized.

Here's the scoop: I work part time in a local dealer, after 11 years out of the industry, and would be getting the bike on an employee discount. Basically half price. I'm currently riding Chorus hubs, Open Pro 32h, 3X, 14g wheels and have done so for a while now. Hell, I don't even know what that wheel set weighs because I don't weigh parts, quite honestly. I go with what works. I tend to be a traditionalist without being a complete retro grouch. I do tend to be unforgiving of stuff that DOESN'T work. So while I am trying to expand my technical horizons, if the wheels suck I will let the appropriate parties know. Likewise, if they do the job, I will communicate that as well. Either way they will be getting feedback from me.

Every factory bike has weaknesses in the way it is speced and my impression is that these wheels may be just that. Sogood, I hope you are right. By the way, are you a large bloke like me? What kind of riding do you do?

thanks again to all

Happy Trails
 

ScienceIsCool

New Member
Jun 25, 2006
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I ride and race Fulcrum 5's. They are capable of handling whatever I throw at them because of their burly design and are not at a big disadvantage when it comes to performance (aerodynamics, weight, bearing design). I would easily recommend them.

However, in terms of raw performance at the same price I would go for something made by Shimano. Everything I've measured has had great (no... awesome) aerodynamics, decent weight, and a solid bearing design. The only thing I can't speak to is their durability. How well they hold up to heavy training and racing in all kinds of weather.

John Swanson
www.bikephysics.com
 

tallrider7

New Member
Feb 11, 2008
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John,

That is, indeed, nice to hear. It also appears that you have some empirical data (OK, a lot of empirical data) to support your assertion. A few things I noticed in your paper, though:
  • The Fulcrums were near the bottom in all categories, as were most of the Campy manufactured wheels.
  • Question: what is the difference between parameter "a" and "b"? Some are vastly different for the same wheel. I expect you are subjecting them to a load in one vs. the other.
  • It's been my experience as a shop mechanic that seals are a vastly underestimated source of friction in hubs. Also, bearing adjustment for a hub can be quite dramatically affected once you close the quick release skewer. I know a trick for testing that.
  • What was the custom wheel configuration?
  • Why were there so few rear wheels tested?
  • Why am I asking you so many questions when I haven't sent you money for your efforts. ;)
Seriously, you are a math and science geek and we are indebted to you for being so. I am no math wizard so I was inclined to skip to the Results section. It appears to me that based on your data it would be a good idea to select wheels based on a riders needs, riding characteristics and budget. I suppose that sounds obvious so let me explain.

If a rider is a sprinter who mostly rides crits they probably need a stiff wheel that is fairly light, to reduce moment of inertia during hard acceleration.

If a rider is more of a stayer, someone who is going to try to get into or start a break, they probably want a more aerodynamic wheelset.

If a rider is a pure climber they should consider the lightest wheels that will survive to the end of their most poorly surfaced road race.

If a rider is heavy, or just hard on equipment in general, then overall strength, durability (rims and hubs) as well as servicability are all desirable at the expense of light weight.

If a rider has a lot of money they can afford Zip wheels or such and get the best of all worlds.

I'm thinking that the Racing 5 wheels will take me through the first couple months of the season and then I can worry about robbing a liquor store to build some more serious wheels.

Neat stuff. I'm glad I found this site.
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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tallrider7 said:
Sogood, I hope you are right. By the way, are you a large bloke like me? What kind of riding do you do?
No, I am nowhere near your weight. So YMMV. But given it is the same level as Vento in the Campy range, I have a lot of confidence in them. I am currently using them as my training wheels.