As Stealthy as the Nite

NICK EE | 17th Aug 2015 | PRODUCT REVIEWS

Cyclists are really spoilt for choice when it comes to wheel upgrades, especially when there is a huge number of manufacturers that are always coming up with new ideas and technologies to be able to just stay in the forefront of the bicycle wheel market. Wheel manufacturers therefore have to constantly invent and build products that are able to grab the attention of the cyclists and hopefully, lure them eventually into forking out money to purchase those wheels. Especially when a wheel upgrade is still considered one of the easiest ways to shave off a couple of hundred grams off of your bike’s weight, therefore with wheel manufacturers knowing this as a fact, they are always keen to promote this major selling point.

The all new Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite wheels are one of the lightest aluminum wheels that’s available in the market, weighing in at only a few grams over 1.4kg, these wheels go through a three step milling process which cuts and machines away all the extra aluminum material that’s not required, therefore reducing the rim’s peripheral weight while making the wheel more reactive to the rider’s steering input. Further weight savings can also be found in the carbon hubs, the rear hub features an oversized aluminum flange that is mated to a carbon fibre body and uses Fulcrum’s Two-to-one technology, which simply means that the drive side of the hub has double the amount of spokes as the non-drive side, this provides a greater torsional stiffness to the wheel and therefore resulting in more efficient power transfer to the wheel with each pedal stroke. The front carbon hub has also been redesigned, with a smaller and lighter body as compared to the previous model, and both hubs roll extremely smoothly with the ceramic USB bearing technology, additionally aluminium nipples are used to connect the bladed spokes to the rims which are much lighter, reducing the total mass of the rim. The rims heights used are also different from each other, with the front having a 26mm rim height which provides excellent handling while the rear wheel has slightly taller 30mm rim height for better power transfer.

The major selling point for these new wheels is the completely new rim coating called Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation Treatment, this treatment process coats the entire rim with a dark grey coloured dull coating which creates a special braking surface that is said to improve braking efficiency and distance with the much harder surface with excellent wear resistance. The special coating process involves embedding a very fine and compact matrix of alpha and microcrystalline gamma alumina and amorphous alumina on the surface of the rim, and when used with the Fulcrum’s blue brake pads, braking performance has shown to be much improved, even in wet conditions. The silver coloured graphics are also very reflective, making these ‘Nite’ wheels great for riding at night, making anyone using these wheels to be clearly visible from a long distance away.

I only had a very brief stint with these new wheels, but once they were mounted onto my bike and I had ridden with them, I honestly wished that I didn’t have to take them off to return them! Firstly, they were a vast improvement over the weight of my current wheels which was very evident during my hill climbs, especially when suddenly getting out of the saddle; it felt like as if i was climbing with less bricks tied to my bike. Power transfer was also spot on, with every grind of my crank getting translated directly into the spinning of the wheel. Flying downhill at speeds also didn’t create much wind noise as well, and the wheels held firm and true, even as I reached speeds of over 60km/h, the bladed spokes really cut a lot of air resistance when compared to my current wheel’s round spokes. Braking is un-comparable with my wheels’ bare aluminum braking surface in the dry, as the Nite wheels seemed to be providing much more braking grip and strength, and to my surprise, there was also less braking screech when my brake pads contacted the braking track although the rims were in actual fact braking much harder than my own wheels!

These are truly splendid wheels that are not only strong enough for daily training rides, but could even double as climbing wheels, and the slightly higher profiles also makes them more aerodynamic than standard wheels. So I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, how I wished that these awesome wheels were mine to keep, for good!

Fulcrum Wheels are exclusively distributed by:

Rodalink
18 Boon Lay Way
01-98D, Tradehub21
Singapore 609966
Tel: +65 6795 4320

1 Commonwealth Lane
01-14/15, One Commonwealth
Singapore 149544
Tel: +65 6475 4833

166B Upper East Coast Road,
Singapore 455270
Tel: +65 6242 8330

11 Woodlands Close
01-24
Singapore 737853
Tel: +65 6734 9972

The Big Nine XT retails for $3260.

Merida Bikes are distributed by Hup Leong Company. and are also available at Bike AvenueBike CultureBike WorldBikeXBikeXtreme (Tampines)Chapter 2 CycleCycle CraftTiong Hin (Hougang) and Willow Bike.Art.Cafe.