18 January 2022

Mud-splattered Victories

by Fulcrum Wheels

From Absalon to Dahle Flesjå: our MTB adventure includes unique champions and iconic products

Let’s take three world championship winning mountain bikers: Julien Absalon, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå and José Hermida. What do they all have in common apart from class, hunger for victory and an enviable palmarès? Wheels. All three of them have used Fulcrum wheels during their extraordinary careers.
Riding with legends

Julien Absalon needs no introductions. Defined by the cycling press as “the best MTB racer in the history of the sport”, he has been World Champion five times and European Champion five times. His trophy cabinet also includes six World Cups and, most importantly, two Gold Medals from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, the latter won on Fulcrum wheels. In other words a legend, who we supported when he was with the Orbea Racing Team: a super team that also included top-flight riders such as Rubén Ruzafa, Jean-Christophe Péraud and Iñaki Lejarreta.

During our partnership with the Merida Multivan team, we provided equipment to Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå and José Hermida. The Norwegian rider won the XC Gold Medal at the Athens Olympics and eight World XC and Marathon Championships. The Spanish rider has also enjoyed great successes, winning the XC World Championships in 2010 and the Silver Medal at the 2004 Olympics. The team also included riders of the calibre of Rudi van Houts, under-23 European XC Champion in 2005, and the under-23 XC Champions of 2011 and 2012, Thomas Litscher and Ondřej Cink.  

But the list of great teams that we have worked with doesn’t end there. We also supported the TX Active Bianchi team, home to the Italian rider Gerhard Kerschbaumer, who won an under-23 XC World Championship, a European Championship and a World Cup. The team also included the Colombian Leonardo Paez who is a marathon specialist. We also spent hundreds of kilometres with the Full Dynamix team and dozens of breakneck downhill runs with the Commencal team, competing in the downhill circuit.

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Continuous evolution, with every model
Since 2008, the year that we accepted the challenge of stepping in the off-road competition arena, on the back of our successes garnered over the previous three years in the most important road races in the world, we have been a constant presence in the fat tyre world. We have taken part and won some of the most demanding races with great champions and top teams, putting all our passion, commitment and care for the smallest detail, in trying to innovate our products year after year. 
We made our debut with the Red Metal brand (with the Zero, 1, 3 and 5 models), which immediately drew the attention of professionals and amateurs alike. This was not only due to Absalon winning the rainbow jersey, but also due to their exceptional reliability and considerable innovation, such as the Two-to-one, Axial Fixing System and MoMag technologies. The following year we introduced the Hollow Hub, a thru-axle hub that provided a considerable improvement in terms of stiffness without increasing weight.
In 2009 we introduced two new wheels: the Red Carbon (immediately seized upon by Absalon), with carbon fibre rims, and the Ultra-Fit Tubeless technology for XC/Marathon use that weighed only 1,288 grams per wheelset for the 27.5” version and 1,356 grams for the 29” version. We also provided the Merida Multivan team with an exclusive tubular version for the World Cup circuits. The Red Fire, designed for freeride and downhill use, featured asymmetric drilling, which improved spoke balance, whilst leaving sufficient space for the disc brake and the cassette, and with a thru-axle on the rear too.
© GettyImages / Merida
In 2010, the year that we introduced the Thru-Axle Hub technology, we introduced the Red Zone, designed specifically for enduro and the Red Heat, designed to provide maximum performance in the most demanding conditions encountered in freeride and downhill. The red wasn’t just limited to the name. How could we forget the special versions with a red anodised finish of the hubs and rims for the Red Heat, Red Metal Zero and the Red Fire models.  
Then in 2012 it was the turn of the Red Power (XC/Marathon/All mountain), whose subsequent HP version, was developed in collaboration with the technicians and riders of the Multivan Merida team. In 2014 we introduced the Red Passion, an aluminium tubeless ready racing wheel with carbon hubs, which was followed by the 3 versions, with aluminium hub.  
Since 2008 all Fulcrum’s MTB wheels have undergone a continuous evolution with state of the art technological solutions. Through passion, research and collaboration the “Red” family of wheels have constantly grown and progressed through countless tests and competitions with the greatest MTB champions. The blueprint has been set: we will continue to develop and grow so that we will be able to overcome any type of terrain, even the harshest and most demanding. 
© GettyImages