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.