Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (5)

You can’t say you didn’t see this one coming. Most of the newer road and cyclocross bikes equipped with disc brakes are also starting to come with thru axles front and rear. For a wheel manufacturer like Zipp without compatible hubs, that meant something new was certainly in the works. In fact, keen observers may have spotted the new design under some of the best cyclocross racers in the world with Jeremy Powers racing on them for an entire season including winning the National Championship title. Serving as the centerpiece for the new wheels, Zipp wanted to make absolutely sure the new hubs would provide the service life needed especially for cross. Admitting they’ve struggled a bit with bearing durability in the past, J-Pow was able to race an entire cross season on the same bearings, pressure washers and all.

Even if cyclocross isn’t your main focus, the new Firecrest 202 Clincher and 303 Clincher and Tubular have a little something for everyone. They’re lighter, cheaper, and more importantly – much more versatile. Get all the details plus actual weights next…

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (17) Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (6)

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (20)

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (2)

Firecrest wheels have always been about cutting edge aerodynamics, and the disc brake models are no different. At least when it comes to the rims. That’s due to the fact that the rims are the same that you would find on the previous Firecrest disc brake models. Crafted to obtain the greatest aerodynamic benefit with the least wind-induced steering torque, Zipp relies heavily on both CFD and wind tunnel testing to develop the rim profiles.

Zipp 77 177d hubs

Since the rims don’t change however, the real story is of course the hub. Officially named the 77/177D, the disc hubs mark a fairly large departure from the previous 88/188D design. Each hub uses an all new flange geometry with opposing straight pull spokes. Shipped as standard quick release, both hubs use end caps that can be swapped by hand to run 15×100 or the new 12×100 front standard and 12×142 or 12×135 in the rear. All aftermarket wheelsets will include the additional end caps along with rim tape (clincher only), skewers, and valve extensions.

You may also notice the lack of any preload devices or set screws. That’s because the bearing preload is preset which allows the bearings to have better sealing to protect them from the rigors of cross. According to Zipp the previous design, while offering less friction, was changed for the 77/177D specifically since the wheels would benefit more from increased bearing protection.

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (14)

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (16) Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (15)

Manufactured in SRAM’s Shen Kang factory in Taiwan the production efficiencies, as Zipp likes to call them, related to the hubs results in a significant decrease in price – from $2,800 to $2,400. Still not exactly cheap, but you are getting lighter, more compatible wheels for $400 less. The wheels are all still hand built in Indianapolis with rims that are made right in the same facility. 

Using a pretty typical 3 pawl freewheel with 10 degrees/36 points of engagement, Zipp raised a few eyebrows at the launch when they mentioned the hubs would have a compatible XD freehub body available separately. The inclusion of the XD driver was justified by claiming it allows for franken-bike builds where riders may need big gearing for their gravel, cross, or even mountain bikes. While not a bad idea, we wouldn’t be surprised to see something a little more road or cross focused that utilizes the XD freehub from SRAM in the near future based on this little addition. The standard freehub body is SRAM/Shimano 11 speed compatible and there will be a Campagnolo option as well.

Claimed weight on the hubs is listed at 145g/265g with QR and 140g/260g with TA end caps.

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (13) Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (9)

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (8)

Also new are the Zipp quick releases included with each wheelset. Still based on an external cam design, the levers have been reshaped with a wider, more ergonomic shape to make opening and closing the skewers easier and more comfortable.

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (12) Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (11)

Available in only stainless steel shafts, the skewers check in at 88g for the pair.

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (21)

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (7)

Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (4) Zipp disc brake 202 303 clincher tubular (10)

Other than the rim itself, the only other distinguishing factor between the 202 and the 303 Firecrest Disc Brake wheels lies in the nipples. Since the shallower 202 rim design intrinsically places more stress on the nipple, the 202s are laced with brass nipples instead of the black alloy nipples found on both 303s. Both styles use Sapim’s Secure-lock nipple which are threaded to CX-Ray spokes.

zipp disc brake 202 303  (1)

Originally developed to be the first carbon rim to survive Paris Roubaix, the Firecrest rim profile keeps its wide shape with a 17.5mm internal width and 25.4 or 28.5mm max external widths.

zipp disc brake 202 303  (5)

Specifications:

Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake

• 1,530g per Wheelset Claimed
• 32mm Wheel Depth
• 25.40mm Max Width
• 24 Rear Spoke Count
• 24 Front Spoke Count
• Sapim Brass Secure-lock nipples
• Sapim CX-Ray Spokes
• 77/177D Hubs
• Available in 10/11-Speed Cassette Body
• Retail Availability: March 2015
• Front Wheel: $1,100, €980, £835
• Rear Wheel: $1,300, €1,155, £990

Zipp 202 303 disc brake clincher tubular actual weight new (6) Zipp 202 303 disc brake clincher tubular actual weight new (2)

Actual weight came in 15g lower than claimed at 1515g for the set without rim tape, skewers, and with the thru axle end caps.

zipp disc brake 202 303  (3)

Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake

• 1,645g per Wheelset
• 45mm Wheel Depth
• 28.50mm Max Width
• 24 Rear Spoke Count
• 24 Front Spoke Count
• Sapim Secure-lock nipples
• Sapim CX-Ray Spokes
• 77/177D Hubs
• Available in 10/11-Speed Cassette Body
• Retail Availability: March 2015
• Front Wheel: $1,100, €980, £835
• Rear Wheel: $1,300, €1,155, £990

Zipp 202 303 disc brake clincher tubular actual weight new (5) Zipp 202 303 disc brake clincher tubular actual weight new (1)

Actual weight came in at 1,654g without skewers or tape and QR axle caps.

zipp disc brake 202 303  (4)

Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular Disc Brake

• 1,400g per Wheelset Claimed
• 45mm Wheel Depth
• 28.50mm Max Width
• 24 Rear Spoke Count
• 24 Front Spoke Count
• Sapim Secure-lock nipples
• Sapim CX-Ray Spokes
• 77/177D Hubs
• Available in 10/11-Speed Cassette Body
• Retail Availability: March 2015
• Front Wheel: $1,050, €935, £800
• Rear Wheel: $1,250, €1,110, £950

Zipp 202 303 disc brake clincher tubular actual weight new (4) Zipp 202 303 disc brake clincher tubular actual weight new (3)

Actual weight came in just a bit over with 1,424g without skewers and with the QR end caps.

Zipp 202 303 disc wheels production

All three disc brake versions of the new wheels should be available later this month – a fact that was validated after seeing nearly finished wheels waiting for testing. Part two of our visit to Zipp’s facility in Indianapolis, IN will include a full tour. Well, at least what we were allowed to see!

zipp.com

27 COMMENTS

  1. I have that feeling the rear hub maybe a DT Swiss hub. Very similar internals (including the pawl system) like the new DT Swiss R23 Spline DB wheelset has. However end caps looks a bit different but the XD freehub body looks also quite similar. (Which is a good thing, these stuff from DT Swiss are very popular and versatile and easily convertible to most of the standards.)

  2. Remember the “when wheel manufacturers will make disc specific rims, the weight lost at the rim will compensate the weight increase from the brakes/hubs” ? Wow, Zipp just proved that wrong!!!
    Zipp 303 firecrest cc rim brake : 1570g / disc brake version : 1645g.

  3. I still feel that a tubeless ready carbon wheel set ready for the rigors of CX absolutely has a place in the industry…..tubies are bad ass and really provide the low pressure factor that is a major secret to CX…but the expense involved is out of proportion. Why is the industry sort of just glossing over this market? there are now many tube less ready tires out there but a small selection of a carbon wheels…….don’t be fooled, but ZIPP has to have some of their wheels as tubeless, they are probably in the R&D phase. And since ZIPP arguably sets the benchmark in some of the best wheels on the planet. I feel they are just taking their time to perfect these…….
    @unfiltereddregs: how are those Reynolds wheels holding up? I hope they are not the maintenance pig/warranty hassle that Reynolds wheels are known for–lighter and cheaper is not always better especially when you cant use the wheels because they are hanging up waiting to be repaired or something…btw what Reynolds wheels for CX do you use?

  4. @Jo-Slow: That’s because Zipp are using their rim-brake rims on these (bigger stickers cover the brake track, the brake track has not been finished for braking, but they’re still the same rim-brake rims with all the over-building to deal with brake forces and heat), they didn’t bother designing new rims so no disc specific ones (yet).

    I think they’re missing out by doing so at this point. Acceptable to quickly rush a disc brake wheelset a year or two ago but now, these wheels are not even in shops yet but already outdated and behind the competition.

  5. I love when people de bunk shams on this site! And dont get me wrong i like zipp wheels, but Dan Gerous is right! Anonymity is a wonderful thing people.

  6. @rileymartin, I wouldn’t be so quick to put Zipp on a pedestal like that. One thing to have brand loyalty, but there’s a point where that turns into blind faith. If you’ve been paying attention ZIPP has had their share of problems over the years as well, with both hubs and rims. Notorious bearing issues, soft rims rated to only 90kgf, lots of ruptured spoke holes. And most recently ZIPP just got slammed with a 12,000 unit recall last month.

    http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2015/SRAM-Recalls-Zipp-88-Bicycle-Wheel-Hubs/

  7. Disappointing… not just because of the re-purposed rims with brake tracks, but also due to the 6-bolt hubs. That means you can’t use XTR IceTech rotors which are Centerlock only. That choice can only be due to their SRAM ownership.

    Both Enve and DT Swiss have carbon disc-specific rims with Centerlock hubs, and DT Swiss are available in choice of QR or TA. Both are lighter than the Zipps.

  8. Looks like Zipp hurried these to market without “Zipp” specific part inovations and kudos to Zach for spotting the SRAM Asia built hubs (that’s the big giveaway). I sure hope there is something still hidden in Zipp R & D Dept that will offer a better solution to this growing market segment (tubeless, disc only rims, better hubs, etc), because this is just a band aid fix.

    As a side note to “no” current Zipp tubeless compatibility…… I have been running 2014 Zipp Firecrest 202’s tubeless for over a year with no issues (Stans tape & a valve). In fact, the tubeless tires seat and lock into the 202’s better than most tubeless specific rims. Not sure what the hold up is with Zipp approval on this?

  9. Nice to see more support for convertible QR/thru-axle hubs. At this point I don’t see a reason why disc brake wheels shouldn’t all come that way.

    @Jo-slow: It depends. Enve SES 3.4 disc brake wheelsets w/ DT240 centerlock hubs are 22g lighter vs their rim brake counterparts, but with Chris King ISO 6-bolt hubs the disc brake wheelsets are 38g heavier. Just measuring rim weights, a pair of SES 3.4 disc brake rims come in almost a 1/4 lb. lighter.

    If @Dan Gerous is right and Zipp simply reused their existing 202 and 303 rims (and it certainly looks that way from the pictures) then they’ve given up weight savings for the convenience of not having to design lighter disc-brake specific rims.

  10. This “nothing new” rim with the new hub reeks the same iterative product release schedule that Sram used with Red 2012, 2013, 22… Guys, stop it. Just finish the development of the entire wheel before you release it.

    I’m sure the disc rim will come eventually, but to launch it with the old rim is simply lame. The thru axle hubs look good (but heavy). Why buy such a pricey wheel without an updated rim?

  11. No tubeless? Looks like they fixed (hopefully) crappy hubs but laced them to old rims as Dan pointed out and added Bold New Graphics. F’ that. There are enough expensive wheel choices today that ARE tubeless compatible.

  12. @ John : At least, you need to compare rim + nipples + spokes weight, because disc wheels need more and longer spokes (crossed vs strait pull). Also, you have to add the disc it self to the hub weight. If you do a system side-by-side rim vs disc with DA brake system with SES 3.4 w DT240, how does is compare?

  13. Just reusing the rim-brake rims seems like a lost opportunity. Without the need to have special heat-resistant carbon on the rim, it should be possible to sell disc-specific rims much cheaper, and possibly lighter. Putting the “ZIPP” label over the braking track isn’t fooling anybody.

  14. I’d rather have a stronger rim for a dozen more grams than one lightened because it doesn’t need to deal with rim braking. Road biking you rarely bottom out a rim but in cx it happens all the time.

  15. really happy to see how people comment of the big fiasco this wheels represent. hope not to have this comment banned though…

  16. The wheels may have not be the best option for some riders, but I’m not sure how they’re a fiasco. A fiasco would be rim wherein the manufacture forgot to mold-in the rim bed or put the bead hooks on the rim nose.

  17. I second the extra weight. If this was a road disc wheel then fine, tubeless would be great and you wouldn’t be rim striking very often(only after a flat and hitting something after that flat) but plenty of cross racers set their pressure to a low point with occasional rim strikes…I wouldn’t want to do this with an ultralight rim.

  18. There are some interesting delusions here about rim weights decreasing with disc brake hubs…

    The rims deal with the heat from braking by using resins which tolerate heat…

    They deal with tire pressure by using more layers of carbon to be strong…

    Only one of these things changes with disc brakes.

    Perhaps there was already the bare minimum amount of material?

    These are not alloy rims where a lot of material can be saved because there is no need to machine a brake track; on carbon wheels, again, the braking was dealt with by using proper resins and a finish, not by adding material and machining sidewalls…

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