Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Disc Brake Road Wheelset - Clincher $2,825.00
Dominate gravel and dirt.
As one of the most versatile and durable wheelsets in the Zipp family, the 303 Firecrest Disc Brake Clincher Wheelset was selected by Zipp's engineers as the ideal platform for its new disc brake application. The 303 has long been a favorite among competitive road and cyclocross racers, as its proven rim profile delivers the ideal blend of aerodynamics and speed in a reliable clincher design. The new disc wheelset brings the tried-and-tested 303 profile to the table once again, along with a newly designed hubset and added spokes, which perfectly complements your disc-braked road and cross machines.
The 45mm rim depth on the 303 wheels is better for lighter riders, or for those who feel concerned about being buffeted by crosswinds. And as they did on the 404 Firecrest rim shape, Zipp's engineers developed a new 303 Firecrest rim profile that moves the center of pressure in towards the hub, away from the outside edge of the rim. The tangible benefit is a marked decrease in the leveraging effect of stiff crosswinds on the steering axis -- you'll be able to ride more confidently and faster in blustery conditions. Also, their dimpled 45mm rims are still deep enough to offer serious aerodynamic advantages. In fact, the Firecrest is 8% faster than the last generation 303. Even with this marked increase in shear speed, the 303 Clincher Disc Wheelset comes without much of an increase on the scales.
Zipp uses unidirectional carbon throughout the rim, but the clincher sidewalls and outer rim wall use woven carbon for added toughness on the clincher shape. The wheels roll on Zipp's 88 front and 188 rear disc-specific hubs. The newly designed 11-speed compatible freehub uses a larger bearing -- still Swiss stainless steel -- and custom cartridge in the rear hub shell for increased durability. The rear hub is also spaced to the 135mm mountain bike standard for compatibility with the current disc frames, and both hubs have a preload adjustment so that you're able to dial them in to that bearing nirvana -- just between a bit of play and slightly too tight. Speaking of bearings, Zipp's Swiss-made bearings enjoy a reputation for exceptional smoothness.
The 303 Clincher Disc Wheelset gets 24 radial spokes in the front and 24 spokes in the rear wheel, split between both sides -- crossed on the left and radial on the right. This is up from the 18 spokes used in the standard 303 front wheel, as the added spokes in the disc-specific Firecrest provide increased rigidity against the stresses caused by disc braking. The Sapim CX-Ray stainless steel ovalized spokes are far and away the best in the industry. They're lighter than most round butted spokes, and the coining process used to produce their aerodynamic shape makes them stronger and very durable. They are anchored to the full-carbon rims with Sapim alloy nipples.
One more design aspect of note is the width of the 303 Carbon Clincher wheels. With its prior development, Zipp has experienced many benefits by using a slightly wider rim. Firstly, the aero properties are best exploited when paired with a like-sized tire. And since most of us train and even race on 23-25mm tires, the use of a wider 28.5mm width 'fits' the tires better for optimum aerodynamics; in addition to changing the shape of the tire for a few more benefits. These are due to increasing the total air volume inside the tire. This increase in volume increases the cornering contact patch without increasing the rolling resistance. It also allows you to ride at a slightly lower air pressure as the straighter sidewalls possess more stability and deflect less against obstructions on the road and against cornering forces. The chance of pinch flats with straighter sidewalls is also lessened. All good things.
The Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake Wheelset is perfect for hard riding in hard terrain. Uphill or into the wind, they're snappy and fast. And since they have a few extra spokes compared to the 404 wheels, they're a great choice if you have to train on your race wheels. They come with either Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM compatible freehubs, and the Shimano body is equipped for the new Dura Ace 9000 11-speed shift system. A set of Zipp steel skewers are included as well as two Zipp alloy valve extenders. Also, because these wheels' rims wear the current 303 clincher/tubular shape, they retain the normal brake track.