Fulcrum Announces New Red Zone Carbon & Red Zone 3 Alloy Wheels

Jan 25, 2022 at 13:34
by Matt Beer  

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.


  • 42 0
 These are the wheels for Levy, his NipForce is strong as we saw in the XC field test.
  • 18 2
 When the marketing launch pictures contain dry fibers on the sidewall and porosity on the hook makes me wonder what the rest of the rim looks like.
  • 1 0
 Oof. Are those wrinkles/voids by the valve stem?!
  • 11 2
 I'm actually in the market for a carbon XC wheelset at the moment so was quite interested in these. But there's not a single word on the warranty policy on their site. In a world with "no questions asked" warranty replacements from most companies these don't really inspire confidence.
  • 43 0
 do you need a single word besides nipforce my man
  • 5 1
 Fulcrum used to be known for freehubs blowing up and no spares whatsoever being available...would definitely avoid.
  • 3 1
 No warranty + weight limit = Me no buy
  • 5 1
 I say this as someone who just shopped around for an XC wheelset....w/o knowing the warranty on these, WeAreOne has lifetime warranty w/ I9 Hydra hubs for $1,700 roughly US. I ended up getting a pair from IndustryNine once I found out WeAreOne makes their hoops. SantaCruz was comparable in price with a lifetime warranty as well and I think they sell builds with I9 hubs or DT Swiss (though go w/ I9 hubs if you can get them).
  • 2 1
 @cerealkilla: 1445 grams for a full wheel set is pretty damn light
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: yeah I think I'm set on some Reserve 28XC's for the warranty and DT Swiss hubs to keep the price down. Really interesting that WeAreOne make rims for i9 though, seems like a really good combo! The Roval XC wheelset looks really good on price/weight, but had some mixed luck with their road wheelset's warranty (just took a really long time) and they're not compatible with inserts
  • 1 0
 @Paluzas: I almost bought the Santa Cruz Reserve 28's w/ DT Swiss, great wheels at a nice price point; had I not been able to secure the I9 wheels, I would have gone with the Reserves
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: I ordered I9 Ultralights over the Reserve 28s... mostly for the bling, but also because I have Hydra hubs on my enduro bike and they're really really good
  • 1 0
 @PAmtbiker: the engagement on the Hydras going up technical uphills or rock gardens has completely changed my riding. I'm hitting stuff so much faster that I now need to upgrade my brakes (which I'm doing next week)
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: Lace them up with some BERD spokes and that'll be crazy light. Close to 1200g
  • 11 1
 NipForce? Really?! It's like they made the name specifically for the PB comments section.
  • 4 1
 Jennifer’s always had good nipforce
  • 10 0
 Good to see that NipForce will mitigate NipTwist and make for a better RimJob.
  • 12 3
 $760 for a cup and cone alloy wheelset?
  • 37 1
 I believe you neglected to notice that these have NIPFORCE
  • 5 0
 That's not a fair comment. Can you put a $ value on NipForce? I don't know of anyone else who has that advanced technology.
  • 7 0
 @Ryawesomerpm: I knew a girl...
  • 5 0
 Dura Ace and XTR are still using cup and cone. When executed correctly it works very well, and it's more serviceable.
  • 3 1
 @harryhood: I'm well aware, but your average rider is going to end up pitting the cones, and then they're f*cked. Whereas poorly maintained cartridge hubs can just get new bearings
  • 3 1
 So, NipForce ....is a wheel that provides a homogenous, uniform and reliable feel, as well as greater resistance to lateral stresses. NIP can be defined as a complete theory "T" where you can't use the NIP formula to get data from an arbitrarily large data set. Say field tests. FORCE = M*A. Lots of force during field test crashes. So I guess this means there is no way to use NipForce to verify greater resistance to lateral stresses?

For math geeks out there, yes I know I only skimmed the highlights of model theory.
  • 5 0
  • 4 1
 I was all set to dismiss these as warmed over gravel bike wheels, but……..

  • 5 2
 Who is buying these wheels, when you can get Hope Pro 4's on Stans handbuilt at your local shop.
  • 2 0
 this company legitimately has 0 customer support and service. you will never get an email or phone call back once their bearings go out on you in a couple months
  • 3 0
 NipForce... Where have I heard that before?
  • 3 0
 May the Force be with......your nips.
  • 2 0
 I had a nice Fulcrum (Campy) xc wheel set way back when. Absolutely dependable and smooth hubs.
  • 1 0
 Had two sets about 10 years ago. Were great.
  • 4 1
 Ive got nipple force, can you milk me Greg?
  • 4 1
 What are those huge voids in the bead?
  • 2 0
 I was surprised to see this in marketing pictures! And also surprised you are the only one to spot this. I assume you mean in this image:


I have seen similar before:


Looks like de-lamination between rim wall and tire bed sections of the rim. At a minimum, really poorly finished hoops? Hard to tell for sure, but it doesn't look right.
  • 2 0
 It's nice to see Campagnolo playing around in the MTB market again. Fulcrum wheels generally work really well.
  • 3 2
 What are the hubs they're using? Since no mention, is it safe to assume some cup/cone with low engagement or what?
  • 1 0
 Nothing on engagement count and the link took me to a site written in Italian.
  • 3 2
 #WhipYourNipsOut #FreeTheNip
  • 2 1
 Hilarious name to match hilarious pricing.
  • 1 0
 Hell no.
The rim "drilling" pattern reduces bracing angle.
  • 2 2
 Im rocking alumin WTB i29s...no need for Carbon on my ride. Pricing is a joke.
  • 1 0
 These will be on clearance for 50%+ off at ProBikeKit in 12 months.
  • 1 0
 Mmm NipForce
  • 4 5
 my wife likes a bit of Nipple Force

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