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review

Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset

7
£449.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Not the lightest or the cheapest, but solid and dependable for all aspects of road riding
Robust
Plenty of stiffness
Tubeless ready
Plenty of freehub options
Lighter and cheaper options out there
Weight: 
1,760g

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Fulcrum's Racing 4 DB wheelset has been updated to become a training/general purpose road wheel with a slight aerodynamic advantage. Not the lightest out there, but solid and durable, it should provide plenty of trouble-free miles, and the wider rim profile over its predecessor means it works better with wider tyres.

The inner rim width of this latest Racing 4 has been increased from 17mm to 19mm, which means they offer a smooth transition between rim and the sidewalls of a 25mm or 28mm tyre.

2022 Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset - rim bed.jpg

Coming fitted with tubeless rim tape, the 4 DBs are set up for tubeless tyres (valves included), or you can run them with standard clincher tyres and inner tubes.

I found fitting either type was surprisingly simple, with only thumb power needed to pop the last of the tyre's bead over the rim.

The tubeless tyres I tried popped easily into position with just the use of a standard track pump.

With rotors fitted using the included Center Lock lockrings and the cassette sliding smoothly into place on the freehub (other options are XDR and N3W), the Fulcrums were ready to ride within a matter of 10 minutes.

2022 Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset - rear hub.jpg

Out on the road I was very impressed with their stiffness. Hammering hard out of a bend or on the climbs there was no noticeable flex, and spoke tension was dialled in right from the start, as in there were no pinging or other noises from the spokes settling down.

Fulcrum has gone for an asymmetric rim, offsetting the spoke holes to increase the dishing (the angle of the spokes in relation to the hub) on the drive side for improved strength, which all helps.

2022 Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset - spoke nipples.jpg

It has also machined the rim bed between the spoke holes to drop a small amount of weight – which also gives the wheels a more expensive look, as do the laser etched graphics.

With 24 spokes front and rear there is plenty of strength in the build, and after thrashing around the rough country lanes over the last four weeks there has been no issue with them going out of true, and the bearings are still running smoothly after plenty of miles in the rain.

2022 Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset - front hub.jpg

They have a 120kg weight limit for rider and bike together.

At 1,760g (including rim tape), the Racing 4 DBs aren't a bad weight considering the 34mm-deep aluminium alloy rim. They don't feel too shabby off the line, and keeping them spinning over rolling terrain is no big deal. The rim isn't quite deep enough to give a true aero advantage, but they still feel like a quick set of wheels when generally riding about.

2022 Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset - rim logo.jpg

The hubs ran smoothly on their sealed bearings, and if you are a fan of a stealthy freehub then you'll like the Racing 4 DBs as they are pretty much silent when freewheeling.

Value

At £449 the Racing 4 DBs are around the right sort of money when compared with the opposition.

They're cheaper than the Halo Devaura Disc RD2, which have a 31mm-deep rim and are the same width and practically the same weight. They've gone up to £599.98 since I tested them in 2020.

> Buyer’s Guide: 41 of the best disc brake road wheelsets

Mavic's Cosmic Elite UST Disc wheels are slightly cheaper, with an RRP of £430, and have the same depth rim but are slightly narrower at 17mm. The weight is much higher, though, at 1,910g.

Scribe's Duty-D wheelset has gone up to £440 since I tested it last year. These also have 31mm-deep rims like the Halos, and are the same width. Weight is in the same ballpark as well at 1,790g including the fitted tape.

Conclusion

Overall, the Fulcrums are a decent set of wheels for the money. They are well built and their performance is good whatever the terrain. I also quite like the understated look of the graphics, too, as they'll suit any bike.

Verdict

Not the lightest or the cheapest, but solid and dependable for all aspects of road riding

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Fulcrum Racing 4 DB wheelset

Size tested: 700C, 34mm deep

Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Fulcrum says, "Thanks to the 34mm medium profile, the new Racing 4 DB wheels achieve the perfect balance between aerodynamics, riding precision and versatility. They are ideal for climbing without sacrificing stability once the speed increases on the descents. In fact these wheels have been chosen by the Cofidis team for their training setup."

Good quality aluminium wheels that remained true throughout the test period. Not the lightest out there, and with a minimal aero advantage over shallower wheels.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Fulcrum lists:

TYRE TYPE: 2-Way Fit™ Ready (Clincher/Tubeless ready)

TYRE SIZE: 700c

DISCIPLINE: Road / Triathlon

RIM MATERIAL: Aluminum Alloy

RIM HEIGHT: Front and rear 34 mm

EXTERNAL RIM WIDTH: 24 mm

INNER RIM WIDTH: 19 mm

BRAKING SYSTEM: Disc brake

FRONT AXLE COMPATIBILITY: HH12-100

REAR AXLE COMPATIBILTY: HH12-142

FRONT WHEEL SPOKES: 24, Left 16 - Right 8

REAR WHEEL SPOKES: 24, Left 8 - Right 16

SPOKES MATERIAL: Stainless steel

NIPPLES: Aluminum

FRONT HUB: Aluminum, Aluminum flanges

REAR HUB: Aluminum, Aluminum flanges

BEARINGS: Sealed cartridge bearings, adjustable

WEIGHT LIMIT (SYSTEM): 120 kg

FWB VERSION: HG11, XDR, N3W

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
5/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Yes, the wheels stayed true throughout the testing period and the build feels very well balanced when it comes to spoke tension.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

The tyres I tried offered a snug fit but weren't overly difficult to get on.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The included tape was stuck down well and other things like the tubeless valves did an admirable job too.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The Fulcrum 4s are decent all-rounders for general road riding and training purposes.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Solid build quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Limited aero advantage for the excess material and weight.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They are priced well, in my opinion. The Halo Devaura Disc RD2 wheels are an excellent build using quality components, but they'll cost you £599.98. Scribe's Race-D wheels aren't quite as deep, and are lighter, but cost £440.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A good all-round wheelset that offers decent reliability and performance for the money.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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