Fulcrum have announced their latest 29" carbon and aluminum wheel sets, the Red Zone Carbon and Red Zone 3. Hinted at by a suggested tire size of 2.2 to 2.4", both sets are on the lighter duty side of the mountain segment, and are aimed at the XC/marathon and downcountry crowds. The aluminum option comes in at a significant cost savings, but will incur a 165 gram weight penalty over the 1445 gram carbon sibling. There's also a 125 kg (276 pound) weight limit.
The Red Zone Carbon have a unique look with an asymmetrical wave pattern to the rim, and like plenty of carbon rims they claim to be the best balance between vertical compliance and lateral stiffness. After twelve different prototypes, Fulcrum say they found the right mixture for the ride qualities they were looking for.
The Red Zone Carbon rim measures 26mm in external height and 28mm internally. That's slightly larger than the aluminum counterpart of 19 and 25mm, respectively, even though the machined alloy rims are said to tailored for a wider audience of riders, not limited to gravel and bikepacking genres. Red Zone Carbon
"NipForce", short for "Nipple Force", (no, I'm not making up those names) is said to be the key advantage in the carbon rim construction. Fulcrum states, "The main advantage of this solution is a wheel that provides a homogenous, uniform and reliable feel, as well as greater resistance to lateral stresses. This is achieved with a double asymmetry of 6 mm, which alternates at every spoke with one of 3.5 mm."
The offset optimizes the dish of the wheel to keep all the spokes under the same tension and angle and they go on to explain, "...excessive asymmetries can render the forces applied (spoke pull) misaligned in relation to the geometric centre of the section, generating a rotation moment that stresses the structure of the carbon. This second asymmetry is therefore specifically designed to decrease this twisting moment typical of asymmetric MTB rims."
The Red Zone Carbon wheels use straight 1.6mm double butted straight pull spokes that are all the same length for easy replacement sourcing, with a count of 24 up front and 28 at the rear. The Boost spacing hubs roll on a cup and cone style system to adjust the tension on the bearings with all of the free hub options; SRAM's XD, and Shimano's classic HG 11-speed or Micro Spline 12-speed configuration.Red Zone 3
Red Zone Carbon Details :
Weight: 1445 grams
HG11 - $1,717 USD, € 1,378
XD - $1,717 USD, € 1,378
MS12 - $1,734 USD, € 1,390
Red Zone 3 Detail :
Weight: 1660 grams
HG11 - $760 USD, € 635
XD - $760 USD, € 635
MS12 - $779 USD, € 649
Both Red Zone wheels are available to for pre-order at Fulcrum dealers, which can be found, along with more details here
. Red Zone 3 aluminum wheels are available very soon with the Red Zone Carbon option arriving in March 2022.