Fulcrum Racing 3 Two Way Fit Review

fulcrum racing 3 2 Way Fit Wheelset

The Fulcrum Racing 3s sit at about mid-way through the Fulcrum range and are ideal for cyclists who are keen on training, sportive or even entry level racing. They are called a 2 Way Fit Wheelset because although they have been designed for tubeless tyres, they can still be used with normal clinchers and inner tubes. To clarify this Two Way Fit Wheelset further; these tyres fit directly onto the rim and have no inner tube.

Many people will still be relatively wary about using tubeless wheels on road bikes and this is because they are still quite new in that area, however, people have been using them for many years within the mountain bike world, as they have a huge advantage of being more puncture resistant. Without an inner tube, it is impossible to get pinch flats, or ‘snakebites’ as they are often known, which is especially useful when running wheels across mud or stony ground at a lower pressure.

One of the greatest disadvantages to the Fulcrums 3s is that they are quite difficult to fit, in that it’s
hard to get an airtight seal between the tyre bead and the inner rim and in addition to this, because
the Fulcrum 3s are a different shape from the more traditional clincher rims, they have a narrow and
shallow well so the beads of the tyre have less room to sink into.

To add to the difficulty of fitting these Fulcrum 3s, the tubeless-specific valve also adds additional thickness and because the valve fits to the rim with an airtight seal and has a cube of rubber sitting inside the rim well, this means that the beads then have to fit between the edge of the rim and the cube, so there’s even less space for the tyre beads to slot into. You’ll get there eventually, with perseverance and some washing up liquid to lubricate the area but it can take some time, so be prepared.

However, once fitted you will no doubt forget about the difficulties you had as these wheels feel truly awesome and you’ll be impressed with how responsive they are, which can be attributed to the taut spokes. As far as the spokes on the rear wheel go, Fulcrum have incorporated a pretty unconventional spoke arrangement with 14 on the cassette side and 7 on the other, which, they have stated, means that the wheel will keep its shape, even when under a lot of power. You can’t fault it, as it really seems to work.

The front wheel, despite only having 16 spokes still feels very rigid too and although it never does any harm to look good, and it must be said that these spoke patterns make the wheels look rather stylish, Fulcrum know that performance must live up to the appearance and here they have also been successful.

Some may feel that there is a downside to the wheels being so rigid in that you can feel like you’re on a bit of a stiff ride, which can sometimes be even harsher if roads are particularly bad, however, most accept that sometimes you have to compromise on the comfort side of things when you have wheels that are incredibly responsive. It must be said though, that for people who require wheels for training, sportive or entry level racing, the balance for comfort and responsiveness with the Fulcrum Racing 3 Two Way Fit Wheelset appears to be just about dead-on.

Fulcrum have designed an impressive anti-rotation system, where the spokes and hub housings have created a firm, immovable whole; this means that the spokes will not lose their initial tension, which helps keep the wheelset responsive, as well as centred. This also means that they will have the best aerodynamic penetration that is possible.

Whilst the Fulcrum 3s spoke nipples are conventional, the tubeless fit means that the inside section of the rim is a solid strip, so you cannot fit the nipples in the conventional manner. However, you’re provided with a useful gadget that basically works as a magnet and follows the nipple round the inside of the rim and helps you to replace them should you ever need to. The rims of the Wheelset stand at different depths with the front at 26 mm and the rear at 30 mm.

You won’t find much evidence of sluggishness when you’re accelerating with this 2-Way Wheelset and will perhaps be surprised to find that when pushing hard, there won’t be any sound of the rims touching your brake pads, even on those tougher uphill sections.

Without a doubt, these wheels perform extremely well, whether cycling on pothole ridden roads, over drain covers, rocky ground, as well as when powering up some pretty steep hills and the tyres appear to stay perfectly true, despite all of the terrain that they are put through.

Ultimately, the Fulcrum 3 Two Way Fit Wheelset is an excellent choice to make if you have decided to try out tubeless tyres. They give a great ride and stand out for their responsiveness, strength, are extremely well-made and plus they also look very stylish. At 1600 kg, they may seem on the heavy side at first but rest assured, the weight is nothing when you consider how strong these wheels are.

The Fulcrums 3s provide excellent value for money too, especially when you take their durability into account and when you consider that you can always fit standard tyres and tubes on them if you decide that tubeless is not for you.



Fulcrum Racing 3 Two Way Fit

Rating by Adam Samuel: 4.0 stars
****

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