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When Zipp set out to create a new disc wheel for the new generation of disc-equipped road and cyclocross steeds, it only made sense to build it on the 303 platform. The result is the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake Road Wheel. The 303 has long been a favorite around the Competitive offices for its ideal blend of aerodynamics and speed in a convenient clincher design. The new disc wheelset updates the steadfast 303 rims with a newly designed hubset and additional supporting spokes to perfectly complement your disc-brake equipped road and 'cross machines.
The 45mm rim depth on the 303 wheels is better for lighter riders or for those who feel concerned about being buffeted by crosswinds. As they did on the 404 Firecrest rim shape, Zipp's engineers developed a new 303 Firecrest that moves the center of pressure in towards the hub, away from the outside edge of the rim. The tangible benefit is a marked decrease in the leveraging effect of stiff crosswinds on the steering axis — you'll be able to ride more confidently and faster in blustery conditions. Despite their good manners in cross winds, the dimpled 45mm rims are still deep enough to offer serious aerodynamic advantages. In fact, the Firecrest is 8% faster than the last generation of 303s. Even with this marked increase in shear speed, the 303 Clincher Disc comes without much of an increase on the scales.
The rims are laced to Zipp's updated 77/177 hubs, which enjoy improved stiffness and durability over their predecessors. Featuring a new platform and graphics for 2016, the hubs increase bearing protection over previous versions 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 SRAM one-by road cassette if needed. The driver bodies can be swapped out without having to re-dish the wheel, making it easier to get back out on the road. Each wheel includes Zipp's new quick-release skewer with a widened handle for better leverage when setting and a more streamlined look when closed.
The rims' widths are also notable, as Zipp has experienced many benefits from using a slightly wider rim. First, the aero properties are best exploited when paired with a like-sized tire. And since most of us train and even race on 23 or 25mm tires, the use of a wider 28.5mm width 'fits' the tires better for optimal aerodynamics. A wider rim also changes the shape of the tire for a few more benefits. These are due to increasing the total air volume inside the tire, which increases the cornering contact patch without increasing rolling resistance. It also allows you to ride at a slightly lower air pressure as the straighter sidewalls possess more stability and deflect less against obstructions on the road and against cornering forces. The chance of pinch flats with straighter sidewalls is also lessened — all of which, you'll agree, are good things.
The Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake Road Wheel is perfect for hard riding in hard terrain. Uphill or into the wind, they're snappy and fast. And since they have a few extra spokes compared to the 404 wheels, they're a great choice if you train on your race wheels. They come with either Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM compatible freehubs, and the Shimano body is equipped for the new Dura Ace 9000 11-speed shift system. Each wheel includes two sets of Zipp thru-axle end caps, one Zipp skewer, one roll of Zipp 700c x 20mm rim tape, and a Zipp valve extender. The rear wheel also includes a 1.85mm spacer for use with 10-speed cassettes.
- Item #ZIP002B