In the past two years, the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Bicycle Wheel has emerged as one of the most formidable wheels in the pro peloton, with wins in the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and more. Its speed, light weight, and utter reliability have been proven in pro cycling’s most demanding races.
In 2010, the 303 made history by becoming the first carbon wheelset to win cycling’s two most famous Cobbled Classics, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Its wider rim provided extra durability, and improved aerodynamics. That wider rim also led to the development of Zipp’s revolutionary Firecrest® platform, and now the revolution has come full circle.
The 303 has been completely redesigned with Firecrest® shaping. The Carbon Clincher preserves the aerodynamic advantages of its tubular brother, while adding the convenience of a clincher tire. And at just 1,475 g/wheelset, it’s light enough to climb up the steepest gradients with ease.
All of the hallmark characteristics of the 303 have improved with the Firecrest Carbon Clincher. The Firecrest shaping optimizes the aerodynamic profile of both the front half and the back half of the wheel. In addition, Firecrest moves the center of pressure of the wheel backwards, giving the 45 mm-deep rim the crosswind stability a box-section rim. At the same time, the 26.4 mm-wide brake track (at center) allows the clincher tire to take on a wider, more stable shape without compromising rolling resistance. It’s faster, simpler, and more stable. Or as Zipp technical director Josh Poertner puts it, Firecrest is “lightning in a bottle.”
The new wheels retain all the small details that make Zipp wheels what they are. Exposed spoke nipples sit in the aerodynamic shadow of the rims, keeping serviceability simple without compromising speed. And Zipp’s signature ABLC™ rim dimples squeeze every last second of performance possible. To complete the package, Zipp has refined its venerable 188 hubset, reshaping the hub body and pushing the non-drive-side flange and bearing out by 7.5 mm on the rear hub to increase overall stiffness and strength. This Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Rear Bicycle Wheel comes in stealthy Beyond Black decals and features black anodized hubs, black spokes and black nipples.
- Firecrest - With the new Firecrest rim shape in Zipp’s 404 and 808 Tubulars and Carbon Clinchers, Zipp wheels make a bigger difference in more ways than ever. Not only is Firecrest more aerodynamic than any other rim design, it improves handling in crosswinds, wheel strength, and overall ride quality.
- ABLC™ (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control) - Advanced Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) refers to the patented and instantly recognizable dimpled pattern found on most Zipp rims. ABLC smoothes airflow across the rim's surface and is tailored to every model from the 202 to the Sub9 disc. 2009 sees the third-generation of ABLC, with up to 4 times more dimples than before.
- VCLC™ (Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control) - Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control (VCLC) uses a vibration-absorbing material sandwiched between layers of rigid carbon laminate in the rim. When the wheel receives an impact from the road, much of the shock is absorbed by the VCLC system, delivering a 10% reduction in vibration.
- 88/188 Hub Technology - Every aspect of Zipp’s 88 and 188 hubs sets a new benchmark. The standard steel bearings are the roundest in the industry. The 17mm axle is the stiffest of any road hub they've tested. The wire EDM-cut hub internals are the most precise. The SHIFT spoke hole technology is the most durable. When it comes to precision and performance, there's really no comparison.
- Hub Used - 188
- Rim Depth - 45mm
- Brake Track Width (center) - 26.40mm
- Max Width - 28.50mm
- Clincher Bead Width - 17.25mm
- Spoke Count – 24
- Spoke Pattern Non-Drive – Cross
- Spoke Length Non-Drive - 258mm
- Spoke Pattern Drive – radial
- Spoke Length Drive - 246mm
- Max Tire Pressure - 125psi
- Max Tire Pressure - 8.62bars
- 11-speed compatible hub - Yes
- Track Adaptable – No
- Dimpled Surface – Yes
- Ceramic Bearing - Aftermarket
- External Nipples – Yes
- Weight - 800g
Note: Zipp wheels for model year 2013 are compatible with cassettes of up to 11-speed to work with all modern drivetrains.