Product Profile: Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers

Zipp Speed Weaponry has been making innovative carbon wheels since 1988, when they manufactured their very first disc wheels in their factory in Indiana. Zipp‘s founder, Leigh Sargeant, started off building components for Formula One racing cars, but moved into the cycling world when he saw the opportunity to apply his knowledge of carbon and making things go fast. Ever since those first disc wheels, Zipp wheels have been proudly made in Indiana – here’s Scott from SRAM (Zipp‘s parent company) to explain how their “made in the USA” claim is no exaggeration:

Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelsets (available as separate front & rear wheels) are the latest all-around performers from the speed masters at Zipp – and they’re already proven winners at pro cycling’s most demanding races. Triathlons, criteriums, breakaways, field sprints, or even Grand Tour mountain stages – 303s excel in any environment. That even includes the cobbled surfaces of the Spring Classics, where this year Tom Boonen has been dominating proceedings on Zipp 303s (tubular front and rear models, in his case).

Boonen E3

Tom Boonen at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen 2012 - Tim De Waele - Cycling

So what makes the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset special? It’s been completely redesigned with Firecrest shaping that has been designed specifically to account for the differences in airflow patterns between clincher tires and tubulars, so it far exceeds the aero performance of any other clincher wheelset in its class. It features a wider design that puts more rubber on the road during cornering (but without increasing rolling resistance) and a unique vibration-damping technology that reduces rider fatigue and improves handling. You can see the special Firecrest shape in the cutaway view below:

The Firecrest shape is more aerodynamic than any other rim design, improving handling in crosswinds and enhancing wheel strength and overall ride quality. The 45mm rim depth of the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher is a classic all-around performer and the patented Advanced Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) dimpled pattern smooths airflow across the rim’s surface.

Plus a wider distance between hook beads gives the tire a more stable shape without adding rolling resistance, in one of the lightest deep-profile carbon clinchers available (the entire 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset comes in under 1500g).

To complete the package, Zipp has refined its venerable 88/188 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.

All of these features are combined in the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset to create a wheelset that is perfect for the serious recreational rider or the hardcore racer who demands the ultimate in speed and performance for climbing, descending, sprinting or cornering! Here’s Eric, our component product manager, with his video review of the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset:

Keep an eye out for Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon wheels on the famous cobbles of this weekend’s treacherous Paris-Roubaix – where only equipment that combines speed, light weight, and utter reliability make the cut for the pro’s bikes. And check out the rest of the Zipp wheel lineup on PerformanceBike.com!

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