When every tenth of a second counts, you had better have your wheels dialed-in. Past winners at Kona and the Tour agree with this sentiment as well. That's why you'll find the Zipp Firecrest Carbon Tubular Wheelset propelling athletes like Macca and teams like Omega Pharma - Quick-Step soaring towards the finish line. Simply put, the 808 Firecrest tubular is the fastest wheel in the Zipp lineup, and for 2013, you can expect it to be even faster. With a new 7.5mm wider bearing stance, and a two-degree cant on the non-drive hub flange, the 808 Firecrest is stiffer, stronger, and faster than ever.
A number of components went into making the Firecrest 808 Carbon Tubular the fastest and most aerodynamic tubular in the Zipp arsenal of 'Speed Weaponry.' First is the Multi-Material Co-Moulding process that permanently fuses a sub-200-gram aluminum hoop to a dimpled carbon structure that acts as a leaf spring for road vibration and impacts. The next step in the process is the implementation of VCLC, which involves the insertion of a visco-elastic material between carbon laminates in the rim, which delivers a ten percent reduction in road vibration. When it came to carbon resin, Zipp faced obstacles in relation to applied heat. Part of the solution came from the development of the Firecrest Tubular rim shape, and the other came out of an exclusive deal with a Formula One carbon resin manufacturer. Together, they worked out a new resin that improves heat dissipation enough to pass European safety testing without setting limitations on rider weight or brake pad options.
Zipp's Firecrest design is steeped in a wider-is-better ideology. Zipp found that a wider rim offers greater vertical/lateral compliance for increased control, comfort, and rigidity. For the strength and rigidity, the Firecrest 808 utilizes both uni-directional fiber and woven fiber. With this design, uni-directional fibers are used to handle the tensile and comprehensive loading within the rim, and woven fibers are used in the spoke-hole areas. A woven silica-ceramic fabric and a woven carbon fabric encapsulate the braking and tire-mounting surfaces. The combination of fiber patterns creates the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio in Zipp production.
The Firecrest is Zipp's most ambitious rim shape to date. While the 808 maintains a rim depth of 81.0mm and a maximum width of 27.5mm, it performs better in a crosswind than the standard 404 and outperforms competitor's 91mm wheels. Using computational fluid dynamics, Zipp improved crosswind stability by moving the center of pressure towards the steering axis. This creates the most stable and predictable deep-section rim on the planet. To counteract drag, the Firecrest maintains a near-constant width around the spoke bed to control the air flow around the back half of the wheel where the curved sections stick the airflow to the rim surface. This forces the flow into a high-energy state that creates a turbulent boundary layer near the surface. This action reduces pressure drag, and increases skin friction which is ten times lower than pressure drag.
As for the build, the front wheel has been radial laced with 16 Sapim CX-Ray stainless steel spokes. The rear wheel uses a cross pattern on the non-drive side and a radial lacing pattern on the drive-side with 20 Sapim CX-Ray spokes. For the hubs, the wheels roll on Zipp's 88 and 188 hubs with ceramic bearings.
The Zipp 808 Firecrest Carbon Tubular Wheelset is available in the color Black with either Black or White Zipp decals. The rear wheel comes with either Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo compatible freehub bodies. New for 2013, the 808 Firecrest is also being offered with a compatible freehub body for the Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11-speed cassette. The front wheel weighs in around 725 grams and the rear tips the scales around 840 grams. Each wheel includes a Zipp steel skewer, an alloy valve extender, a rim strip, and Zipp Tangente cork brake pads.
Please Note: Zipp's Tangente cork brake pads are designed specifically for use with Zipp wheels. Use of brake pads other than these is not recommended and will also void the wheel warranty. Also, Zipp advises that riders of the 808 Firecrest do not exceed 250lb.