Monday, March 15, 2010

Review: Fulcrum Racing Zero 2-way fit wheels with Hutchinson Fusion 3 tires

Review: Fulcrum Racing Zero 2-way fit wheels with Hutchinson Fusion 3 tires

I pretty much expect everyone to be riding these by the end of the season. If not, you are really missing out. I cannot speak highly enough of these wheels. The tires corner like they are made out of sticky glue, they climb like they have been inflated with helium, they handle bumps like they are made of gel. I know it sounds like a lot in this economy, but for less than $1400 total including tires, I think this is the best upgrade you can possibly do to your bike. Tubeless is awesome!

For those of you who don't know, tubeless is the next generation technology for road wheels. It has been around for a while in the MTB scene, but is now moving over to the road crowd. It is the perfect upgrade path because you can still use your old clinchers/tubes on them. If you get a flat, pull out the valve stem and put a tube in it. If it is a small enough hole, you can also carry a bottle of tire sealant with you (or just put it in the tire in advance and you probably won't even know you have had a flat!). You can also attempt to super glue the tire too using the Hutchinson Rep'Air kit. Just pinch the tire at the hole, put the glue in the hole, let go of the pinch and let it dry. Thing is that you really won't get flats because you also run the tires at a lower pressure. I rode at 90psi for the last two days, one 20 mile hilly road race and a 50 mile hilly team ride. Oh, one more thing about lower pressure, without a tube, there is no possibility to get a pinch flat.

Putting the tires on is super simple. It is just like a clincher, but you don't have to deal with a stupid $5 tube. Think of the environment and the money you will save! The tires aren't even that hard to get over the rim, I did it with one plastic tire iron. After they are on, you just start to inflate them. Piece of cake.

The wheels themselves are bomber. The spokes are nice and thick, yet aerodynamic. The wheels can be trued and come with the tools to do it. They are also a cool red color and definitely stand out. The rims have had all the weight carefully removed from them, but the strength has been left in all the right places. They are also perfectly balanced with a bit of extra weight opposite the valve hole. The hubs are made out of carbon fiber and appear to be really well sealed against water/grime.

The Fusion 3 tires are brand new and the Fusion 2 have been discontinued. I was caught in the middle of the switchover so it took me a bit longer to get my F3's. This should be pretty much cleared up by now and dealers should have the F3's in stock. I'm not really sure what the difference is in the tires, but the F3's are all black and the F2's had grey stripes on the sides. I personally like the all black better.

I've looked at every single wheel manufacturer's website that I could find online (I'm OCD like that). These are the lightest tubeless wheels you can get today for the price and features (these also have the latest rage, ceramic bearings, whatever that is worth). They are lighter (1460g) than most of the carbon rim wheels I've found and you don't even get tubeless with those. Also consider that Fulcrum is a subsidiary company to Campagnolo, so you are getting a set of fine italian engineering wheels for like half the price.

Ship to a business address. I think it is slightly cheaper that way. When you make your order, send them an email with a copy of your drivers license and credit card that you used to make the purchase. Otherwise, it will delay your order cause they won't ship it until they have that information due to issues they have had with fraud. Much less expensive than competitivecyclist @ $1660!

Tires: (fusion 3 tubeless) @ $50.50 /ea
For your first order, this place will only ship to the billing address. If you want less weight, go with the atom's, but you risk more flats cause they are a thinner tire. I'm more than happy with the f3's. You can pay $80 @ cc if you want... NOT!

I don't get any sort of deal with these companies, but please mention this blog post in the comments section of these websites so they know who sent you.


Unknown said...

So, are you replacing pron with cycling in your header?

Bubba said...

I wish I could contact you...I'd LOVE to know how you got your Fusion 3 tires on the rims...I have Campy Shamal Ultra 2-way rims (which is Fulcrum) and I can't get a Fusion 3 tire on the rim. My local LBS broke two tools and declared the 2-ways incompatible with the Fusion 3.

Unknown said...

You just did contact me. ;-) I don't really know what to say, I just use a thin'ish tire lever ( and it goes on not quite as easily as a clincher. I make sure that as I'm putting it on, the bead is in the part of the rim that dips down so that is the smallest circumference.

MBV said...

Do the Hutchinson Fusion 3 tires need to be glued to the Racing Zeros? If so, is the hassle worth the switch from clinchers?

Unknown said...

Tubeless != Tubulars. There is no glue! The seal between the tire and the rim is entirely from friction. I'm still riding these same wheels and love them. I've done a whole season of racing on them.

I recommend the stan's no tube sealant inside the tires. With that, I've been riding the same tires since January with zero flats. I've put about 3k miles on them and they are still holding strong.

Highly recommended.