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Windy-day aero wheels.
We’re used to equipment manufacturers talking up their accolades and where their gear was triumphed, so when Zipp told us that the 303 had won a stage in every race in professional cycling, or the race outright, it sort of washed over us. And then we asked them to prove it, and they did. That’s impressive, and it speaks to the versatility of the 303. At 45mm deep, it’s deep enough to add serious speed without being so deep that it’ll be too affected by crosswinds. It’s tough enough for Roubaix, and light enough to crest the Pyrenees. In short, it’s all the rim you need, and none of the rim you don’t.
The Firecrest shape is Zipp’s name for their wider, toroidal rim profile that does a better job of shunting wind past the edge of the rim as it moves over the tire. A side benefit is that the same tire effectively becomes wider, giving you a bigger contact patch and better control.
In addition to the shape and versatility, Zipp re-examined braking on carbon fiber rims —it’s never been good. To this end, they’ve built in a silica-ceramic fabric at the brake track, which reduces the heat impact on the carbon fiber while providing better grip for your brake pads. You’ll have to use Zipp’s Tangente Platinum pro or cork brake pads, but they’ll work a lot better than they used to.
- Wide toroidal rim shape smooths airflow over the rim
- Silica-ceramic fabric at brake track
- 45mm depth
- Sapim X-Ray spokes
- Item #ZIP000L
- Q & A
STIFF and FAST
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've been on the full lineup top to bottom from Zipp, as well as my fair share of wheelsets from other brands. Without a doubt the 303 is the best all around wheelset for stiffness and speed in any condition.
If you can, find a local dealer or riding buddy to let you give these a test drive. It's a challenge to accurately depict just how incredibly strong and stiff the 303 is; a seriously robust build while keeping lightweight and agile.
45 mm deep profile is plenty aerodynamic, without turning you into a sail boat in the cross winds. You can feel the benefits at your typical slower climbing speeds in the 8-15mph range, but that sweet spot is in the 20-30pmh range or going full bore on descents. With the width profile on these bad boys, I'd challenge you to find a more stable wheel at 50+ mph harrowing speeds on descents.
Every bit of energy you put into these reflects in immediate results on the road. No, it actually feels more intuitive than that. There is no response time, they just go. The entire system runs at absolutely maximum efficiency in all conditions. Stiff rims, strong spokes, fluid and reliable hub, all coming together in a lightweight 1540 g package with the clinchers. It's a wheelset you can rely on to take a corner at speed, maintain stability through the chaos of a group sprint, or hold tempo through a punishing headwind with less effort than you've ever had to use before. There's a reason they're used at Paris-Roubaix.
Overall, I don't think you can find a stronger or better all around wheelset than the 303. The real questions is not should I ride the 303, it's Clincher or Tubular? For me, I like the intimate road feel and weight savings of the Tubular, but I certainly understand the benefits for the clincher as well.
Have any questions, want to talk some more details? Please feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Fun fact: I have a pair of 2002 Zipp 303 Tubular's I still race crits on to this day. Durability is impressive
Do you need special brake pads?
Is this wheel set?
Or only rear?
I live in Japan.
Do you send to Japan?
I have a Shimano Ultegra 6800 11S, which wheel set is the is the best for it? I would like it in black color.
Joan, we actually have a lot of wheels that will work with your ultegra 11 speed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can narrow down a selection depending on your personal needs.
the description notes that the 303 Firecrest...
the description notes that the 303 Firecrest has a aluminum brake track fused to a carbon rim. Surely this is wrong? This sounds like the description for the old 303.
Thank you for reaching out to us and sorry for the confusion, This seems to have slipped through the cracks from the previous model. This information will be updated shortly.