Fulcrum overhauls well-priced Racing 4, 5 and 6 disc brake wheels
Fulcrum’s Racing range has long offered reliable and often good value options for the road rider. The Italian brand has just announced an update to its Racing 4 DB, 5 DB and 6 DB (disc brake) wheels in an effort to bring a little more versatility to its entry-level offerings.
With slightly wider rims and tubeless compatibility, these new alloy wheels look well suited for use on attainable-budget disc brake road bikes or as an affordable second wheelset for gravel bikes.
A summary of what’s new
All three models receive wider and “2-Way Fit” tubeless-ready rims (tape and valves included) that can be run as either clincher or tubeless. And as is usually the case for Fulcrum wheels, they’re built as a system with a two-to-one spoke lacing pattern (e.g. the rear wheel has 16 spokes on the drive side and eight on the left). All new models here offer 24 spokes front and rear, using round straight-pull spokes. The recommended rider weight limits are 120 kg.
The freehubs jump up to a faster 36T (10º) engagement from the previous 30T design. And these freehubs are now offered to suit Shimano (HG 11), SRAM (XDR), or Campagnolo N3W. The hubs are designed for use with centerlock rotors (adapters can be used for six-bolt rotors). They roll on sealed bearings with a threaded adjustment collar to remove bearing play (6 DB excluded).
However, it is worth noting that the increased rim widths and tubeless compatability mean that each model carries a little more weight than before. Additionally, the previous generation could be converted to fit a few different axle types, whereas these new wheels are locked into the almost standard thru-axles sizes of 100×12 mm for the front and 142×12 mm for the rear.
Racing 4 DB
The new Racing 4 DB features a 34 mm deep truncated V-shape rim that earns a little CNC machining after extrusion to further relieve weight. The internal rim width has gone up to 19 mm from the previous 17 mm, while the external width is a modest 24 mm figure. And the rims are now treated to laser-etched graphics in addition to the red decals.
Fulcrum quotes a 1,710 g figure for these wheels, a modest 20 g increase from the previous version that was released in 2018. The deeper rim of this wheelset means it’s likely the stiffest and most durable of the three new models released.
This mid-depth alloy wheelset retails at US$596 / €449 / £450 in a Shimano HG11 configuration, with pricing slightly higher for other freehubs.
Racing 5 DB
As the lightest and likely most comfortable of the three new wheels, the new Racing 5 DB is likely to get the most attention. These feature a lower-profile 24 mm U-shaped rim profile where the internal width has grown by 3 mm to 20 mm. The external width sits at 25 mm. Like the Racing 4 DB, these feature laser-etched graphics.
Fulcrum says these wheels weigh 1,660 g for the pair, a 50 g increase from the previous generation. Retail is set at US$522 / £400 / €399 in a Shimano HG11 configuration.
Racing 6 DB
The Racing 6 DB is now the entry-level model in the disc brake range – the previous-cheapest Racing 7 DB is being phased out. The 6 DB features the same 24 mm-deep rim with a 20 mm internal width rim as the 5s, although the laser-etched graphics are replaced with stickers.
The weight of these increases to 1,780 g for the pair. Compared to the 5s, the extra weight comes from a move to brass nipples (the models above feature lighter alloy), straight gauge spokes over double-butted, heavier hub shells, and a steel internal bearing spacer (rear hub) instead of the alloy spacer found in the 4 and 5 DB wheels. Also, the 6 DB does away with the bearing preload adjustment and instead relies on a tolerance fit.
Retail is set at US$442 / £340 / €339 in a Shimano HG11 configuration.