18 February 2021

CULT™ Technology

Words by Fulcrum

What would you do in forty five minutes?

Steel and ceramic: a match made in heaven and perfected in our lab. Our CULT™ (Ceramic Ultimate Level Technology) bearings are not only precise, long-lasting and maintenance-free. They also achieve performance results that are nine times better than standard bearings. How long is forty five minutes? It could be a timeless eternity. Like our timeless commitment to research, calculations, development and testing.
For us at Fulcrum forty five minutes is the time to stop after a bunch sprint, get our breath back and enjoy the win. A win that we want to share with all of you, keen cyclists like us, who look for technology and performance. You want hard facts not hearsay. Facts confirmed over time and through first-hand experience. Our ceramic bearings weren’t born yesterday and they remain unbeatable!

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From 65 to 0 in 45 minutes

The hard facts come from testing a wheel, hub and bearings in our R&D department. Our Fulcrum wheel with CULT ceramic bearings takes forty five minutes to come to a complete stop, from a speed of 65 km/h (500 RPM). Forty five minutes of progressive deceleration.
An incredible result, nine times better than standard bearings. This achievement is obviously a combination of rolling resistance and aerodynamics. But that’s another story. Let’s focus on the bearings for now. In technical terms this means that there is less mechanical resistance, more power is saved and performance is increased. In practical terms with our wheels you will have less rolling resistance and more time: the most precious thing there is.
Let’s examine the technology found in the bearings. The cup and cone system differs from standard, or cartridge, bearings, because the balls work perfectly in axis with the resultant of the forces at play, that is the weight and thrust from the frame, which are then transmitted to the hub. This resultant is not perpendicular to the ground, but it’s tilted and this angle is replicated by the angle of the cone on which the balls slide. The principle is similar to banked turns, which allow cars to race at higher speeds.
This bearing system is reserved for the more advanced products of our range. In this setup the CULT™ treatment plays a significant role in increasing performance even further, by reducing the dissipation of power by 18%. This can be seen by observing the deceleration curve from an average speed of 50 km/h. The much lower rolling resistance and consequent increase in performance of the CULT™ treatment is revealed in the improved deceleration curve compared to other systems.

Steel and ceramic: a winning combination

To achieve this result we brought together the strength and resilience of steel with the refinement and precision of ceramic: a perfect match. This special stainless steel has allowed us to eliminate the risk of corrosion. This material creates a perfectly smooth race surface for the ceramic ball bearings to roll on.
Designed with unprecedented levels of precision the bearings don’t have to be greased, but simply lubed with a drop of oil. This way they can last forever: no corrosion, rolling resistance or maintenance. The performance levels of our wheels with CULT technology is further increased, thanks to an angled cup and cone bearing, which holds a larger number of balls and guarantees a higher static and dynamic load capacity. This technology is used as standard in our wheels, allowing you to go faster and save power. Up to 3.5 watts per pedal stroke. Save that power for when you really need it!
Even though this aspect of the wheel is not visible, it counts for a great deal. When talking about performance it’s not all just grams, aerodynamics and power. Mechanical friction plays a significant part, because every vibration disperses precious energy. Even when you can’t see it, when it’s hidden inside the hub of a wheel. To reduce vibrations and eliminate any waste of energy our engineers have meticulously researched materials and chemistry, to achieve unprecedented levels of precision, with countless tests and calculations. All this effort to give you the most precious gift of all: time.
Forty five minutes of time, that you can rely on over time. The special CULT™ treatment renders the steel resistant to corrosion, making it almost eternal. CULT™ bearings house G5 class balls, which is the highest level possible, much higher than the ceramic balls found in traditional bearings (G10). This results in greater dimensional precision and a smoother surface.
That’s not all. The angled cup and cone system achieves the perfect harmony between the forces at play: the weight of the cyclist, the thrusts from the frame caused by the pedalling motion and the tilting of the bike. The balls slide on a race positioned directly opposite to the combination of these forces. The larger size of the CULT™ system can house three extra ceramic balls, compared to similarly sized standard bearings. This lets it support higher loads with clear benefits in terms of safety and efficiency.
What would you do in forty five minute?