By: kiritozhang Translator: alanyu
There were two focusing point in the early years of the development of the carbon wheels: the deep wheels for lower drag and the shallow wheels for lower weight. The weight difference between the deep wheels and the shallow wheels was quite large due to the technology at that time, and thus riders tended to choose deep wheels on the flat while to choose shallow wheels in the hilly aera.
In my opinion, those wheels with no more than 30mm rim can be regarded as the shallow climbing wheel. For example, Campagnolo hyperon, Fulcrum Racing Light XLR, Shimano Dura Ace C24.
With the pace of the age, most brands released their medium profile wheelsets in 2013 such as Campagnolo Bora 35, Fulcrum Racing Speed 35 and Shimano Dura Ace C35. The medium profile wheels have a close weight to the shallow wheels thanks to the development of the technology, but they have a better aerodynamics, which makes them a sweet point for both flat and hill.
The medium profile wheels had quickly taken a large part of the market when it was first released. As a result, the sales of the shallow wheels dropped a further step while it was not so popular before. Only those who are aimed at KOM were still using shallow wheelsets.
As a consequence, most brands stopped producing shallow carbon wheels. Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra 2 and Fulcrum Racing Light XLR were stopped before the age of AC3 wide rim, and Shimano Dura Ace C24 TU was stopped at Dura Ace 9000.
Thus, Fulcrum released R0 Carbon as the successor after 2017. The wheelset I bought was the second generation R0 Carbon. There were three different profiles before Fulcrum released Wind series in 2019: 30mm R0 Carbon, 40/55mm Speed series, which makes a bit different with Campagnolo Bora 35/50.
The difference between the two generations of R0 carbon is the AC3 brake track. The AC3 tech can improve the brake power in wet. However, because the groove is very shallow, it will be smoothed after a long time of use, resulting in a lower brake power. It wouldn’t improve the brake power in dry. The resin around the track itself has been polished, remaining the rough 3k carbon surface, which could produce a good brake power if you use Campy’s red pad.
Fulcrum is the subsidiary of Campagnolo and shares the same technology of the brake track and the pad.
R0 carbon is the carbon rim version of Fulcrum Racing Zero as its name. The hub and spokes are exactly the same, and the 2:1 pattern, oversized flange, super stiff alu spokes.
Now the freehub is updated to the white aluminum oxide one, which is harder than the normal alu alloy one. However, it cannot avoid the slight bite marks, which is not a problem as long as you can take off the cassette. I replaced it with the original steel freehub on my own Fulcrum Racing Speed 35, which is heavier.
The sturdy alu spokes make people recognize R0 series at the first glance. However, the alu spoke has its own advantages and disadvantages. The front wheel has 16 spokes and rear has 21 spokes with 2:1 pattern, but Fulcrum has added the thread lock at each nipple, which makes it difficult to true the wheel again. You can easily break an alu spoke. Not many bike shops have the skill to and are not willing to Fulcrum R0 or Campagnolo Shamal (in China).
I tested my R0 carbon on the wheel stand and used a tension meter. The wheels were under 0.2mm deflection, but the tension of the rear wheel was not uniform. Since they are alu spokes, I have no conversion table for calculating the actual tension.
There is no hole on the rim bed, but Fulcrum claims that it is not suitable for tubeless. Don’t believe some bike shops who claim that it can be fitted with tubeless as there is no hole on the rim bed. If you mounted the tubeless on R0 carbon, there could be any unexpected problem, especially this shallow rim + alu spokes unusual combo.
Fulcrum wheels which can be fitted with tubeless are only R0 Carbon Disc and Wind series, while normal R0 and R3 alu wheels can not. (Translator’s note: Now all disc brake wheels and 2-way fit can be fitted with tubeless)
There is a small stage for the valve lock ring and a plastic spacer under the stage, to avoid the creak. The rim height is 30mm, external width 24.5mm and internal width 17mm. Fulcrum suggest 25mm – 50mm tires on this wheelset. However, it’s hard to mount a tire more than 30mm on a rim brake bike and it is not suggested to use 23c tire on a 17mm internal width rim. (Translator’s note: You can fit a tire at 32mm width after inflation with the direct mount brake such as DA9010 and ee brake if your frameset allows, and you can also use a 23c tire on a 17mm internal width rim under the ETRTO 2020)
The accessories include brake pad and quick release skewers, which are around 120g/pair. It’s a bit heavy, but easy to use.
Weight is very important for the shallow carbon wheel. My trustful scale shows: The front wheel 607g, the rear wheel 767g, so 1374g in total. It’s claimed 1340g.
For example, Roval CLX32 is claimed only 1280g, as one of its main competitors. It is compatible with tubeless and has a wider and deeper rim. The weight of R0 Carbon is on par with that of Roval CLX50, which is not ideal.
However, the price of R0 Carbon is not low at all. MSRP is 1911 euro.
It’s quite, uhm, quite low key. The slim light weight frame equipped with a pair of shallow carbon wheels is very harmonic. I like the paint of R0 Carbon, which is simple enough but not that boring. The paint of Zipp, Enve and Farsports is only their logo, which is too boring in my opinion.
Fulcrum R0 Carbon is not satisfying in price and weight, and if the performance were not that good, it would be too disappointing.
To be honest, the performance is damn good.
I can feel the strong acceleration and stiffness at my first down stroke. Its response is fast not only on climbing but also on flat. Either fast on a gentle hill or slow on a steep hill, R0 carbon can always give me a lively feeling as long as I can hold my cadence and power. As one of my friends’ remark, it is so lively that I feel like I’m pedaling air. It is king of exaggeration, but I really what a tubular version of R0 Carbon, which can be more light weight. It’s a shame that Campagnolo stopped producing Hyperon.
The performance on flat is similar to Campagnolo Bora 35. The difference of 5mm rim height won’t bring too much difference of drag. Remember that 70% of the drag is due to your body. If you ride in a group at 40 km/h, you will only need a bit more that 100W. However, if you are the one leading the group, it will be a bit tired at over 38 km/h. Thus, I used this wheelset for climbing and undulating route, as an all-rounder, but it is a no-go for a flat crit race when you need to ride over 45 km/h.
You will feel harsher compared to the normal steel spoke wheels due to the alu spoke of R0. However, the compliance of Merida Scultura is good, and I have tried Continental GP5000 and Veloflex with Tubolito, which is acceptable after a period of break-in.
There is no more pro other than its performance, but only those who really know what they need are recommended to buy this wheelset.
Pros: Fast acceleration, high stiffness, good brake performance.
Cons: hard to maintenance, low value of price, low comfort, not compatible with tubeless, weight.
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