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New Gravel-Specific Wheels From Fulcrum – Rapid Red Carbon

The rise and rise of all-road cycling is showing no sign of slowing with a major manufacturer adding a new gravel-specific carbon wheelset to their range.

Fulcrum’s Rapid Red Carbon features a versatile 30mm depth, the company describe the wheel as ‘reactive, light and reliable … for gravel and for whatever gravel means to you’.

At 1490grams, they follow the trend of wider, more versatile gravel wheels with a 25mm internal width.

With an S-Shape asymmetrical profile carbon rim, Fulcrum say their is improved balance between the tension of the spokes, decreasing the difference in the dish angle between the spokes on both sides of the wheel. 

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The 1490gram wheels feature a 25mm internal width, perfect for wider gravel tyres such as Schwalbe’e G-One in 35mm.

“This difference is due to the presence of the disc on the front and the cassette on the rear, along with the chain pull,” they say. “The optimised balance ensures long term performance levels.”

This rim profile increases stiffness by 2.5% compared to a traditional U-shaped profile, say Fulcrum.

To achieve the maximum performance with tubeless tyres, the Rapid Red Carbon feature a tubeless- specific non-drilled bridge – a weight saving solution to allow tubeless tyres to be fitted without rim tape. 

 The new carbon version of the Rapid Red range have been thoroughly tested including at the Badlands ultra Endurace gravel race. 

The non-drilled bridge has a polished finish to help make it easier to fit tyres.

The rim has a 30 mm high profile with a mini-hook system that extends its compatibility with a wider range of pressures.

This solution increases the choice of tyres that you can use, seeing that not all tyre manufacturers are hookless compatible. 

Similarly to hookless technology the mini-hooks ensure lightness and stiffness as well ease of installation, which is further aided by the humpless design.

The wheels feature Fulcrum branding that incorporates subtle carbon graphics .

Matt Finish For Less Weight

With a matt finishing, Fulcrum say their ‘Direct Inmold Matt Finish (DIMF)’ achieves the external finish on the rim directly from the mould, therefore not requiring painting or a coating.

As far as the hubs are concerned, Fulcrum have opted for a straight-pull setup to optimise weights and obtain ‘a perfect radial assembly of the spokes’. 

“By creating the holes for the nipples directly in the mould and perfectly angled with the hub, thanks also to the S-Shape technology, we achieve the optimal alignment with the hub,” say Fulcrum.

There are cup and cone bearings for improved smoothness and performance can be further enhanced with a replacement kit of ceramic coated bearings.

Thoroughly tested, the wheels were used at the in the Gorafe and Tabernas deserts at this year’s Badlands, an unsupported ultracycling gravel event. 

Ridden over the 746 km route with 16,216 m of climbing, Mattia De Marchi rode tjhe wheels to first place overall and Marion Dziwnik, the first placed woman, also used the wheels. Bicycling Australia have requested a test set for a comprehensive review.

The Rapid Red Carbon wheels are available now from Fulcrum dealers. Prices are listed at around $AU2450. 

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