More distance, less time.
Zipp is known for speed. Hell, the brand's tagline is "Speed Weaponry." But it also knows that all the speed in the world only amounts to a decidedly unhappy ending without the ability to stop. The 303 Firecrest Carbon Disc Brake Road Wheelset is tubeless-ready and comically wide, a combination that boosts durability and encourages the use of plush tires. That in turn recommends the wheelset for riding fast in less than ideal conditions on the kinds of terrain that would make any other wheel balk. Enter the 303 Firecrest's disc brakes, which help ensure that, while taking advantage of Zipp's weaponized speed in the straights, you can enter the corners with abandon. The increased modulation and immediate response of discs mean that you can brake later to carry more speed into corners on everything from rain-bogged gravel roads to off-camber hairpins on grassy 'cross courses.
Gravel bikes have opened up a whole new world of cycling adventure. We like exploring the road not typically taken by bike, but that doesn't mean we want to go slow while we're doing it, and Zipp's combination of aerodynamic embellishments and a wide rim encourage that impulse. The speed starts with the rim's shape, which hits the depth of traditional NACA shapes but tempers that shape with a rounded, bullet-esque profile that enjoys the gains at low yaw angles while minimizing cross wind instability. This is especially important since the wheelset is designed for use on gravel, fire roads, hardpack—you name it—so reducing side forces lets you focus on wrestling with whatever surface you're on, not crosswinds.
The Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) dimpling is another contributor here. Zipp credits the dimples with managing airflow across the rims' surfaces, helping it detach with reduced drag in all yaw angles, though it shines especially bright between 10 and 20 degrees. It's no accident that this is also the range in which we spend 50% of our time in the saddle. Since disc brakes require no rim brake track, the ABLC dimples also extend to within millimeters of the rim bead, so the little dimples begin their work of managing airflow much sooner.
Rim width is the final element of aerodynamics, as it allows for 28mm tires (and up) without resulting in the drag-inducing lightbulb effect of mating a too-fat tire to a too-skinny rim. The wider rim also allows for more air volume, lowering the required PSI and letting the tire deform around—or roll through—obstacles and imperfections instead of bouncing across them. When the 303 Firecrests are paired with 28mm tires, limestone gravel, washboard dirt roads, and cobblestones become a playground rather than an impediment.
- A racing wheelset built to flourish where other wheels wilt
- Deep, dimpled carbon rim reduces drag at common yaw angles
- Bullet-shaped rim cross section stabilizes in crosswinds
- Generous width reduces rolling resistance with large tires
- Disc brakes provide precisely modulated, confident stopping power
- VCLC laminate layer adds vibration damping to the rim
- Includes quick-release skewers and thru-axle end cap adapters