I finally managed to get out and do some miles on the new Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG wheels, [unboxed here] its only 30 miles but I found a route with a bit of everything. It was a solo effort starting in town traffic with the usual mixture of roundabouts and red lights to practice wheel stands and accelerating away from the lights. We then have a few longer climbs out into the country for ten miles of broken tarmack, mud and tractors on the back roads. A fast run into Felixstowe and a coffee stop before heading back to Ipswich on the seven miles of “TT” track. Back in Ipswich we have a few miles of traffic and a short cobbled section. All in, its a reasonable test route on roads I know.
I am riding my usual 2012 Ribble Sportive Racing and I even have my usual 23mm Continental GrandPrix IIs rubber on the new rims. The sky is clear, the sun is trying to shine but the temperature is only just above freezing.
The Test Route
The first section of this route is with the traffic and most of my concentration is on not being killed by the sunday drivers. Within two miles I am wondering if I should head back to base and get some more layers but I decide to press on and hope to get some feeling in my fingers before I get out of town.
These first few miles are mostly uneventful but the ride is feeling harsh and my frozen hands are complaining, I pull over and drop the tyre pressures down to about 80psi before setting off again, its a little better and I now have circulation in my fingers so I press on.
The last time I rode this bike was a week ago, on the same route but with Bontrager Aeolius 5.0 rims and these same tyres. I have ridden the carbon clinchers for the last six months and was growing to love them so these Fulcrums have a lot of convincing to do before I accept them into my fold.
After five miles or so I am leaving the traffic and weaving my way through the country lanes, this is more like it, the road surface is broken and loose and we are rolling through the short sharp climbs and following rapid descents with their hair pin bends at the bottom. I know the road so I am pushing quite hard.
Everything on the bike is buzzing and ratting.
Up to this point I have been trying not to hate the Fulcrums. Fact; they have a harsh ride compared to my old carbons and its spoiling my fun. But now im into the sharp climbs and suddenly I am aware of how well these wheels power up hills. I am pushing hard on the pedals and the bike is just flying up the hills. As it flattens out I find myself thinking more positively about these ally clinchers. Ten miles in and its level betting.
We now have a few miles of well sheltered flat roads so I get in the drops and start driving the speed up. I dont use a bar mounted cycle computer so at this stage my legs are the gauge and they are feeling good.
I catch and pass a couple of other riders with ease.
Dropping in to Felixstowe the bike is feeling fast and responsive. Now I have a little confidence in the wheels and my legs have warmed up I am accelerating harder and throwing the bike around. Braking is getting better as my blocks bed in to the nicely machined surface on the rims. I did notice when I unpacked them they have stickers warning about keeping an eye on brake surface wear but as far as I can see there is no way of visually assessing the condition of the surface; No dimples or radial grove, we must ask Fulcrum how we are supposed to asses the wear?
I lean the bike against a lamp post and stop for a coffee and a ponder. The coffee is good and the wheels are not so bad. They look good on the bike but the quality of the stickers betrays their low price, I have a feeling they are going to look tatty quite quickly.
A couple have joined me; he is riding a no name frame with 100mm deep section rims, I look at the Fulcrums 35mm and decide they look a lot more sensible than the sails on my new friends bike. Its a windy day today, gusting 20mph and a lot of it has been side and head winds so far, the 35mm profile of the Racing Quattros have behaved very well, only once reminding me of their ‘aero’ profile and that wasnt dramatic. I think the Bonts’ 50mm would have been more apparent and those 100mm sails would have been a nightmare.
Refueled and back on the road Im on the long[ish] climb out of Felixstowe, the wind is on the nose and my legs have forgotten how to turn the pedals. Ease up a little, re focus and compose myself. I turn left and im out of the wind. There is now seven miles of nearly flat tarmack ahead, 70ft of climbing in total and I average 19.4mph without much effort. If I had someone pacing me it would have been significantly faster but this is an individual effort and I am now having fun.
As I get on to the only climb on this section, about 400yards of 2.5% I get out of the saddle and hang over the front of the bike to keep the power on and the speed up and for the first time on this ride I am close enough to the front wheel to hear it buzzing.
Dropping back in to Ipswich there is only one more test; the cobbles and after a couple more miles of traffic surfing I am on them and blasting through without a care. I actually came off the cobbles and set a KOM in the next section.
So what did I think of the new Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG wheels?
I like them. They are harsh compared to my older carbon rims and I am not used to having numb hands and feet at the end of a relatively short ride but that could have been the cold as much as the wheels. I am also conscious that the new Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG wheels have been designed for a 25mm tyre and I am running a 23mm, I am going to keep these wheels, run some wider rubber and put some more miles on them. I also know they may be a bad match for the Ribble frame but I can’t imagine they will get less harsh with an ally frame?
They dont feel heavy and they accelerate well. The clever 2:1 spoke pattern and wide drive side flange on the rear hub really do live up to the claims Fulcrum make for them delivering the power without any discernible flex. On my scales the rear came in at 951g, exactly the same as the Bonty and the front at 806g is just 80g heavier than the Bonty. The hubs run well straight out of the box so we will see what they are like after a couple of hundred dirty road miles. I loved the detail in the front hub, especially the steel inserts to grip the dropouts.
The supplied skewers are just odd; their quick release lever stands out 10mm further than any other skewers I have recently played with. I used them as they came with the wheels, they do up nicely and they held the wheels in place without any drama so on a functional level they pass but on an aesthetic level they are a big fail.
The Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG Wheel Set sell at £299 and is available now for £269 in our store.
The route; https://www.strava.com/activities/504312206