Fulcrum 5/Vento/Scirocco/Planet-X AL30...direct comparisons?

bigflangesmallsprocket Posts: 2,443
edited April 2015 in Road buying advice
I'm in the market for a new pair of wheels (Campag fitting). Specifically after advice from folks who have had the opportunity to actually compare these wheels against each other. I've read general reviews concerning all of these, but they don't really tell you how a Fulcrum 5 compares to a Vento, or how, say, a Fulcrum 5 compares to a Scirocco. These are the wheels I'm specifically looking at purchasing:

Campagnolo Vento ASY
http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/wheels-factory-built-wheels-factory-road-tri-campagnolo-vento-clincher-wheels-pair/campwhfr612 Not as nice to look at as the Fulcrum 5 I think, but on paper seems to compare just about exactly with the 5. AND it's noticeably cheaper. SHARC scorings for this are identical to the Fulcrum 5

Fulcrum 5
http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/fulcrum-fulcrum-wheels-factory-road-tri-fulcrum-racing-5-pair-wheels/fulcwhfr285 My initial choice (I did actually just buy some 2013's on sale, but sent them back..another story). Nice to look at, good reviews, light-weight, score high in comfort in the Campag/Fulcrum SHARC test.

Campagnolo Scirocco 35
http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/wheels-factory-built-wheels-factory-road-tri-campagnolo-scirocco-35-black-clincher-wheels-pair/campwhfr557 I included these as I've spotted these with decent discounts, similar to Fulcrum Quattro but a fair bit cheaper (though they do score lower than Quattro on the SHARC tests). They're a little heavier than the previous wheels, but maybe weight isn't everything? Scores higher than the Fulcrum/Campag wheels, except for comfort, where it scores less, but what does that mean in the real world?

Planet X AL30
http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/WPPXAL30/planet-x-al30-wheelset found these when googling the Scirocco's and had a look, fairly light for a deeper rim, but the bearings/seals seem to be problematic, though cheap to replace (according to reviews). And cheaper, of course.

I'm a skinny slugspeed, so my initial instinct was that lightweight was more important than uber stiffness. The last two wheels however, do seem to get pretty good reviews (notwithstanding the seals on the AL30). So, do deeper rims automatically mean stiffer rims, do stiffer rims mean faster rims, and do stiffer rims mean harsher riding rims for lightweights like me? Oh ,and would these rims catch in the wind like some of the super-deep rims you read about? What do SHARC scores mean in real life, are they just numbers or do they really give us meaningfull info? As there are plenty of ..I ride these and they're nice..reviews, I thought it might be more enlightening to hear from folks who've had the pleasure of directly comparing any of these wheels against each other and get the pros and cons of a model directly compared against the other.

Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad


  • focuz
    focuz Posts: 150
    The quattros are pretty much the same wheel as the scirocco 35's, and so are the fulcrum 5's to the sciroccos. Made by the same people, just campags are cheaper. I have had experience of both fulcrum5's and the al30s that came on my Planet X and the fulcrums definately seem higher quality, and a better ride. If possible id spend a little extra on campag zondas which are 200g less and I definitely felt a change, they are the same wheel as fulcrum racing 3's.
  • buzzwold
    buzzwold Posts: 197
    Not much help I can give, but can I congratulate you on a well thought out question which hopefully people will read properly before suggesting you look at something different just because they have a single experience to share. I will follow this to see where it goes because I have a vested interest for my next wheel upgrade.
    Someone's just passed me again
  • bigflangesmallsprocket
    bigflangesmallsprocket Posts: 2,443
    edited January 2014
    Thanks for replying Focuz.

    That's pretty much what I thought too about the Quattros and Sciroccos. The SHARC scores for these do rate the Quattros higher, which made me wonder how accurate these 'scores' are, or whether they're there to just promote one wheel over another. I did also wonder whether the different hubs, spoking patterns, and TYPE of spokes (bent angle vs pull straight thru) might have affected the scores. Thinking along those lines, about the spoking, that's one reason I was thinking the Fulcrum might be superior to the Vento, with a more solid looking hub and straight pull spokes on the rear hub? EDIT: Since writing this post I got a closer look at the Vento's which also do appear to feature straight pull spkes on the rear, though more difficult to make out.

    Good to see a direct comparison, Fulcrum 5 vs AL30. I did only include the latter as they seemed lightish, and Planet X generally have a good reputation. When you say 'a better ride' though, are you referring to specifically to handling (less flexy during cornering, climbing, descending etc), smoothness, feeling faster, comfort?

    A workmate has the Zondas and he also rates them (yet to see a bad review for these). I should have said though that the wheels I'm looking at are at the higher end of my budget which was why I specifically mentioned this selection. Having said that, Ribble have them at a good price, but it's still a fair jump up in cost. Not sure I can really justify that for my useage....and lack of talent! Regarding those zondas, they're about 100grams lighter than the latest Fulcrum 5's; but reading the tech stuff on these, the wheel rims are solid, no holes under the spokes, and have slightly higher rims, all of which might point to more material/weight, yet they're a fair bit lighter. I'm wondering about durability of the rims, specifically the thickness and longevity of the braking surfaces compared to the Fulcrum 5 and Vento (or is this worry negated by a superior material on said rims)?

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • Thanks Buzz. I know it was a long first post, and a list of questions, but it's the sort of thing that folks like me (and you) think about when we see all these specs, and wonder what these figures mean in the real world, and the pros and cons of each wheel, against each other.

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • trek_dan
    trek_dan Posts: 1,366
    I wouldn't worry about the Planet X seals issue, I run mine on my winter/commuter bike and are still perfect after nearly a year. Same generic Novatech hubs you get on most cheaper wheelsets, so not an issue isolated to just the PX wheels. At the time when I bought mine they were half the price of Zonda's and the same weight.
  • Go with the 23mm's
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • 23mm what? And why??? :o

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • trek dan, nice to know the seals aren't a problem for all. On my old Ambrosio track hubs I do have exposed seals (a contradiction in terms, but I think you know what I mean!), and they handled a fair bit of weather. Maybe aggressive over-cleaning might have had an effect on bearing life for some.

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • At that price range I'd go for the Khamsin. I've used the Fulcrum 5's which were nice but not noticeably better. Sciroccos 35's were very sluggish, good once up to speed but wouldn't recommend them. Other than that save the extra for the Zondas.
  • I had initially considered the Khamsin's or Fulcrum 7's, but decided against, though I do like the idea of the Khamsin's wear indicators (seems a good idea at any price-point), plus these will be my main/best wheels for the road bike and will get the most use. Suffolks back-roads can be quite badly surfaced and bumpy, but worth it for the extra views, plus even though the weight penalty isn't much and Suffolk is considered flat, on those winding country lanes I like to ride there's plenty of short sharp climbs to contend with, so decided to go for the best I can push myself to buy.

    Sluggish is exactly what I was worried about with the extra weight of the Scirocco's and wondered whether it was worth it for the extra (negligible at my speeds) aero advantage. So a no go for those then I reckon, cheers.

    I wasn't planning on adding anything else to the mix, enough already to think about...BUT...also spotted these on the Ribble website, ITM Aero 3.0, similar to but cheaper than the Zondas, which are already a good deal on Ribble:

    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/wheels-factory-built-wheels-factory-road-tri-itm-pair-wheels-aero-30/italwhfr140 within a few grams, the same weight as the Zondas. 20 squid cheaper than the zondas..wish I hadn't seen either of them really, too much temptation!

    A better look at them here at Wiggle, though a LOT more expensive :shock: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/itm-aero-30-aluminium-wheelset/ Wiggle does state a higher RRP, so maybe the Ribble ones are a previous model, though they look identical to me. Maybe Ribble just forgot increase to this years RRP.

    Not straight pull spokes as the zondas are, but same rear config as Campag/Fulcrum wheels generally in having twice as many spokes on the drive-side. The zondas also have different front/rear rim height, whilst both ITM rims are the same 30mm.

    The main concerns I have with higher rims are possibilities of: increased harshness of ride; side wind hits; though with the weights of these 2 wheelsets they should be easier to get up to speed than the Sciroccos and other heavier deep rims.

    I'm actually right on the verge of just thinking BOOGER IT, and pressing the button on the cheapest option, the Vento ASY, or possibly the ASY G3, both of these being a lot cheaper than elsewhere (even though I have a slight preference for the F 5). I can over-think things, but like most cyclists (us blokes at least), you want the next grade up, but maybe don't want to spend the money to get it :?

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • just to throw another option out there.. In looking on Ribble, the Mavic seem a pretty good option. Purely on the fact it comes with tubes/tyres. As for ITM, I would prefer to spend the extra on the Zonda.

    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-t ... aviwhts110
  • I had looked at the Aksiums when I got my first set of mid noughties Vento's. The first reviews seemed to be good for these, but long term reviews feature a lot of bearing problems and snapped spokes, so I decided to exclude these.

    I didn't automatically go for a new set of Vento's as I got these quite some time ago and specs for all wheels have changed over the years. Plus, the early version I got had the large front flange, which cracked, despite relatively little use and my light weight. For this reason I wasn't going to go for another set, but the newer ones instead feature rear flanges which do look more solid, plus it's hard to avoid larger flanges as it seems to be a trend now with both Fulcrum/Campag and other manufacturers. Lessons learned by Campag, it seems.

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • So, whilst being sat on my backside for the last couple of days with my dodgy back..actually the reason I'm building another bike with a second-hand SCR3.0 (shorter top-tube and taller head-tube)..I've been poring over forum reviews and debates. Whenever anyone asks about specific components or frames and mentions a budget, there's always a round of suggestions to spend more money..it's like women and shoes I guess :roll:

    However, the comments on here and elsewhere HAVE made me seriously consider stretching to the Zondas. If do I get these they're going to probably be more than the best wheels I'll ever need! The only reservation I'm having is the consideration of ride feel, as in the comfort factor. The Zonda's score higher on everything over the Vento/Fulcrum 5's except in comfort, in which the latter score slightly higher. Could anyone tell me their comparative experience in relation to this, are they a noticeably harder ride?

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    The Zonda's score higher on everything over the Vento/Fulcrum 5's except in comfort, in which the latter score slightly higher. Could anyone tell me their comparative experience in relation to this, are they a noticeably harder ride?

    You are taking these scores far too seriously - 'slightly different' means indistinguishable. I doubt even the people creating the scores could really tell the difference (never mind that your experience would theoretically differ according to how much lighter or heavier you are than the reviewer) however much they pretend they can (they probably spent too much time reading Campagnolos sales literature) and the only way you could is by riding the different wheels back to back. And unless you are buying all of them, neither will you be able to tell them apart. Just buy some wheels. Zondas can be had for well under £300 at the moment. If you are worried about comfoort, put 25mm tyres on them.

    Just buy some wheels. Probably Zondas.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,753
    If you are talking Zonda money, you could bag the below for circa £310, and sell the tyres for around £40.

    Would neex to e-mail them to check on campag availability though.

    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Thanks for the replies. Rolf the SHARC score and rider-weight issues you mentioned are actually things I'd queried myself in earlier posts but you're the first to pick up on them. Wouldn't it be great if you could do a ride and try scheme like they do for some saddles! It was my thought too that the difference in comfort, in real-world terms, for the Zondas vs Fulcrum 5/Vento may be so small to be difficult to tell, but in other ways the Zondas seem far better, I just wanted a final word of confirmation, so to speak, before shelling out an extra £100!

    Daniel, I'd already be pushing over my budget for the Zonda's, Initially I was looking at Fulcrum 5's as a maximum spend, possibly stretching to the Scirocco's only if confirmed as a much superior wheel, which doesn't seem to be the case.

    So, the Zonda's it is then. JUST out of stock at Ribble, but got them for just a few quid more here: http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/k632/a78814/zonda-clincher-wheel-set-black-campagnolo.html

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • poid
    poid Posts: 1
    Hi bigflangesmallsprocket (great name!), I know its been a long time but how did you get on with the Zondas?

    I'm now looking for a pair of wheels for my Allez 2013 and was originally looking at the Scirocco's, then read this thread and see that you've settled on the Zonda's as everyone seems to rate them highly (these are my first pair of new wheels, so pretty green when it comes to choosing - I commute 60 - 100 miles a week and at weekends on ok-ish roads). Would be interested to hear how you got on with them for the last year or so.