Built to withstand the jarring cobbles of races like Flanders and Roubaix, the Zipp 303 holds the venerable distinction of the first carbon wheelset to win those storied classics and has gained a reputation as a versatile jack of all trades. For 2016, the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheelset gets updated hubs for an added dose of speed.
The 303 Firecrest features a 45mm rim that provides aerodynamic advantages while maintaining stable handling in crosswinds for a smooth, stress-free experience even on windy days. A wide, 26.4mm brake track gives the tire a secure stance without impacting rolling resistance and increases stability by nearly eliminating the side bulge effect found in tires mounted to narrower rims. The wider rim makes for more tire volume, and that means lower rolling resistance and more confidence for cornering on rails — all while providing a comfortable ride along the way.
The wheels feature an updated version of Zipp's signature Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) dimpling, which uses strategically placed and sized dimples across the rim surface to smooth airflow. The even better news is that ABLC enjoys aerodynamic advantages at real-world yaw angles. Compared to many wheels that experience minimum drag numbers at wind angles that rarely occur outside of a wind tunnel, the 303 Firecrests are shaped to handle the windy conditions you'll run into on the actual road.
In the middle, Zipp uses its updated 77/177 hubset with improved stiffness and durability over its predecessor for a smooth, supple ride. Featuring a new platform and graphics for 2016, these hubs boast increased bearing protection and are ready to roll without any pre-load adjustment. The rear hub is compatible with a separately sold XD driver body, opening up options for a larger cassette range of up to SRAM's 10-42t if needed.
The driver bodies can be swapped out without having to re-dish the wheel, and each wheel includes Zipp's new quick-release skewer with a widened handle for better leverage when setting and a more streamlined look as it sits closer to the frame when closed.
Please note that the included Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads are designed specifically for use with Zipp's carbon rims. While we sometimes take risks on descents, we never do with manufacturers' recommended brake pads. Zipp also recommends a maximum rider weight of 250lb.
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Reviews & Community
A great all around wheel
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I have had many wheel sets in my day and this is my 3rd carbon wheelset. I have had Enve and Reynolds ups ups too. After trying to navigate a tubeless wheel set up and having issue after issue, I finally came to Zipp for a simple, proven solution for an all around wheelset. After 2 months I am happy with these 303's. They are smooth, have stayed true as the day I received them, and are stiff enough for great power transfer but also not too harsh. There is a reason Zipp has been around a while and I hope I continue to have mine for years to come.
Can I use my existing 10 speed SRAM force cassette and rear derailleur (and shifters) with 11 speed Zipp 303's? Or can I add 11 speed cassette and keep 10 speed derailleur?
You may already have an answer. Yes. You can use 10 or 11 speed with the Zipp wheels. There is a spacer that is required for 10 speed that may come with the wheels to fit behind your cassette. Most bike shops have this spacer laying around also.
Hey Chris, you can use a 10s cassette with the wheelset with the included spacer.