From the Classics to your doorstep.
We can't think of a better way to test a wheel's strength and versatility than both Flanders and Roubaix. Well, the Zipp 303 has won them both already. And not being one to rest on its laurels, Zipp integrated the 303 with its latest Firecrest technology. Now, with the 303 Firecrest Tubular, you receive Zipp's most stable, evenly performing wheel in its history. Lighter, faster, and stronger, the age of Firecrest is here to make Zipp's fastest wheels even faster. And for the latest iteration of the 303 Tubular, Zipp's refined 188 rear hub and more efficient spoke lacing pattern have been employed.
The 303 is one Zipp's most ambitious rim shapes. It maintains a rim depth of 45mm and a maximum width of 28.5mm in the front and rear — nearly a whole millimeter wider than the 404 Firecrest. The Zipp 88/188 hubs' bearing stance has been widened by 7.5mm, and the rim's body shape has been canted out by two percent. Zipp found that the design creates a more stable structure, and offers greater vertical and lateral compliance with increased control, comfort, and rigidity. While the 303 benefits from these welcomed additions, to achieve the Zipp-standard of strength and rigidity, the 303 utilizes uni-directional fibers to handle the tensile and comprehensive loading within the rim, and woven fibers 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 a high stiffness-to-weight ratio without stacking up the grams.
A number of Zipp technologies went into making the 303 Firecrest one of the most versatile wheels in the Zipp arsenal. First, the Multi-Material Co-Molding process permanently fuses a sub-200-gram aluminum hoop to a dimpled carbon structure that acts as a leaf spring for road vibration and impact. Spokes laced directly to the carbon body give you the benefit of a carbon feel and aluminum braking. Next, visco-elastic material is inserted between carbon laminate in the rim to reduce road vibration by ten percent. Lastly, the dimples of the Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) on the curved rim section work to create a slight turbulence directly above the rim surface. This creates an artificial boundary layer that forces the laminar boundary layer towards the forward part of the rim to become turbulent. This process enables airflow to remain attached over more of the rim for a longer period of time, providing a lower level of integrated drag. The drag that ABLC creates is called skin friction drag; although it's greatly increased, pressure drag (which is ten times higher than skin friction) is decreased to make the 303 wheels faster than the competition in a wide range of conditions, not just the wind tunnel. While most wheels only enjoy minimum drag at rarely occurring yaw angles of five and ten degrees, the 303 experiences it at the real-world conditions of 10 to 20 degrees.
For the build, Zipp used its proprietary 88 hub on the front and the new 188/V9 on the rear. This new hub design reports a claimed 25% increase in torsional rigidity, and it's also stiffer laterally than the last iteration of the 188. Additionally, it features larger Swiss Steel bearings that distribute load more evenly across the axle. And lastly, the hub's new lacing design allows for what Zipp calls its "virtual three-cross" lacing pattern, which delivers three-cross durability with a two-cross build. The wheels receive an 18/24 Sapim X-Ray spoke configuration, and to minimize mechanical drag, each hub rolls on Swiss Steel bearings.
The Zipp Firecrest 303 Carbon Tubular Road Wheel is sold individually as either a front or rear wheel, and it comes in the color Black. The rear wheel is available with either Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo 11-speed compatible freehub bodies. Each wheel includes a Zipp steel skewer, alloy valve extender, rim strip, and Zipp Tangente cork brake pads.
Please note that Zipp's Tangente Platinum Pro and cork brake pads are designed specifically for use with its carbon clinchers. Zipp also recommends a maximum rider weight of 250lb for these wheels.
Share your thoughts
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 Tubular 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 1310 g package. 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 demand for the clincher as well.
Have any questions, want to talk some more details? Please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 ship to colombia ? which carrier ?...
Do you ship to colombia ? which carrier ? do you provide a tracking number ?
Zipp wheels are not on our list of brands that cannot be shipped internationally. International shipping is handled by UPS, and tracking info is provided. International orders are subject to international shipping rates and any duties/taxes due on arrival are the responsibility of the customer.
By Zipp Speed