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New Zipp x Goodyear VectorR Tires Optimized for Zipp 303

goodyear vector r NSW tires for zipp wheels shown on a bike.
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With all the hullabaloo around hookless road tubeless, the new Goodyear VectorR road bike tires seem like a timely launch. Developed in conjunction with Zipp specifically for their 303 wheels, it’s an interesting partnership that delivers a truly optimized system.

The key difference is that the tread cap and casing is all specifically made for Zipp 303-series wheels. The result is the VectorR 700×30 tire measures a true 30mm on Zipp’s 25mm internal rims.

The bead design is optimized for better fitment with hookless wheels, and more specifically for Zipp’s 353 NSW and 303 Firecrest wheels.

It’s not just fitment for safety reasons, because, if we’re being honest, hookless rims for road are mostly fine as long as you adhere to recommended tire pressures and installation guidelines. If you’re concerned about it, then there’s no need to buy Zipp wheels or Goodyear tires optimized for them and you can go straight to the comments to register your concerns.

tire fitment and drag diagram for 28mm wide tires on wider hookless rims.
This is what happens with 28mm tires on hooked and wider hookless rims.

No, here, it’s largely about aerodynamics. Goodyear says that standard 28mm wide tires are designed for rims with 19mm internal widths, yielding a tire that measure right about 28mm wide. That puts its tread cap where it should be for straight-line and cornering grip, and the casing construction is designed to support that.

But Zipp’s rim profiles are much wider (as are many other brands these days). Put that same 28mm tire on a wider rim and it usually stretches to about 30mm wide. Its profile gets distorted and the tread cap isn’t wide enough to fully support deep cornering. But, oddly, aerodynamics are slightly improved.

So, why not optimize?

tire fitment and drag diagram for Zipp Vector R 30mm wide tires on wider hookless rims.
The new VectorR 30mm tires on Zipp 303 hookless rims.

With these new VectorR 30mm tires, the tire construction is designed to create an optimal profile, tread contact patch, and aerodynamics. The tire’s actual width is 30mm, which matches the outer rim width for a better look and streamlined airflow.

Not only do they match the rim, their sidewalls and construction are designed to support the rider and bike weight with the recommended lower tire pressures.

What about other brands of wheels?

goodyear vector r NSW tires for zipp wheels shown on a bike.

Goodyear calls this their Fitment Series, which “utilize strategic partnerships toe develop industry leading tires that embrace emerging technologies and trends without compromise.” It’s a systems-based approach to tire development that optimizes around a specific use case. In this case, it’s the Zipp 303 NSW/Firecrest rims.

Beyond that, it’s a bit fuzzy. Zipp isn’t endorsing them for use on other rims but suggested that, technically, they’re compatible with Zipp’s 23mm internal rims, too, (like the 404-series) but they’re more compatible with their 25mm internal rims.

Goodyear lists their specs as “designed to measure 30mm on a 25mm TSS rim”, but also indicate that they are “for use only with Zipp 622×23-25 TSS rims and were designed exclusively around the Zipp 622×25 TSS rim”. So, up to you if you want to run them on other wheels…it won’t void a warranty or anything, but…

What about speed & grip?

It’s not just about fitment. They also targeted speed, rolling resistance, and grip. Zipp says they’re about 1w faster than the Continental tire they’ve always used for testing, which they’ve always found to be the fastest tire they’ve tested, and a good benchmark.

They also have low rolling resistance, which, when combined with the aero gains, puts them overall on par with the speed of the Conti. For grip, they got closer to Conti’s dry grip, but exceeded both it and the Vittoria for wet grip. So, basically, it’s a great tire.

Coming in two versions

goodyear vector r tires on zipp wheels.

There are three versions of the tires, two 30mm wide and one 35mm wide. While the names imply there’s one specifically for the NSW wheels, that’s really just an indication that it’s the higher-end tire. You can put it on the 303 Firecrest, etc., if you want.

cutaway view of goodyear vector r nsw30 tire

VectorR NSW 30
The lightweight racing and climbing option, it has a 150tpi short-ply casing with their R:Shield puncture protection layer under the tread cap. They have their Dynamic:UHP compound for low rolling resistance and high grip. Claimed weight is 275-280g, 700×30 only.

cutaway view of goodyear vector r sw30 tire

Vector R SW 30 T2 & 35
These have a 120tpi casing and thicker tread caps for longer tread life and a bit more puncture protection, but are otherwise the same. Comes in 700×30 (325g) and 700×35 (365g) sizes.

GoodyearBike.com

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FritzP
FritzP
8 days ago

Curious about the generally accepted 105% rule for tire/wheel aerodynamics (max rim width = 1.05 x tire width). Does Zipp’s rim & tire design which is 100% work as well or better? Hopefully BicycleRollingResistance tests the Goodyear tire on a Zipp wheel.

ismo
ismo
7 days ago
Reply to  FritzP

The 105% rule was invented 20 years ago, when we still rode narrow, V-shaped aero rims. Many things have changed since.

FritzP
FritzP
7 days ago
Reply to  ismo

Rims were generally narrower than the tire then.
105% is more recent with the blunt rim shape. Silca talks about it.

Andreas
Andreas
8 days ago

Nice, pragmatic solution while waiting for standards to evolve and actually be implemented. Lets hope it works.

Larry Falk
Larry Falk
8 days ago

Wonder why they call it “Vector” and not “Eagle”?

tech9
tech9
7 days ago

Ha! the only issue with doing this for zipp’s is that your rear hub/bearings will rust out before you even get a chance to have to upgrade to these tires.

FritzP
FritzP
7 days ago
Reply to  tech9

No joke! My Zipp 303FC rear hub came without any grease in the pawl/drive ring mechanism. The springs had a bit of rust on them. Luckily the main seal was doing its job well.

Chris White
6 days ago
Reply to  tech9

Yep, the hubs have always been the weakest part of Zipp’s wheels. With the latest rim issues, at least people stopped talking about their rubbish hubs for a while.

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