Formerly only for pros, the Zipp 454 NSW tubular is now for sale to anyone, and it’ll come in rim and disc brake versions. Joining it is an updated 303 Firecrest tubular wheelset, also in rim and disc brake models, that borrows just a bit of the NSW aero tech.

Zipp 454 NSW carbon tubular disc/rim road wheelsets

Zipp has always been about eking out small aero gains to make all riders faster from the pros down to the (well-funded) amateurs. So we were always a bit surprised that their top biomimicking 454 NSW wheels were tubeless-only. Apparently the pros have spoken, according to Zipp “demanding” they bring tubulars to the varying depth 454 NSW profile. And with them the ability to glue up the most supple, premium handmade tubular tires and benefit from the safety of tires securely glued to your wheels in the case of a mid-race flat – lower laboratory rolling resistance be damned.

So now in disc or rim brakes you can get a set too with their promise of next level aerodynamic performance and crosswind stability. Both rim & disc brake versions look like they share the identical 27.8mm wide rim profile that varies from 53-58mm deep depending on where in the whale fin you cut it.

2018 Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular and 454 NSW tubular road bike wheels in rim and disc brake versions

They also both get the NSW series Axial Clutch Cognition hubs and Sapim CX-Ray spokes.

They also both share the same hefty pricetag – $1800/1800€ for a front wheel & $2200€ for the rear.

Centerlock disc brakes wheels claim weights of 1515g (685g front, 830g rear) and include QR, 12 & 15mm front and QR & 12mm thru-axle end caps.

Rim brake wheels claim weights of 14365g (640g front, 795g rear). They include skewers & Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads for their Showstopper brake track.

Zipp 303 Firecrest carbon tubular road disc & rim brake wheelsets

2018 Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular and 454 NSW tubular road bike wheels in rim and disc brake versions

For the new 303 that debuted last fall in tubeless-only, the external shape is very similar to the prior version, but the layup and construction is radically different to make it more impact resistant. The 303 Firecrest Tubular wheels also get the sawtooth dimple pattern of the NSW to improve aerodynamics. Not the sawtooth shaping, just the dimple pattern.

2018 Zipp 303 Firecrest tubular and 454 NSW tubular road bike wheels in rim and disc brake versions

The rim brake models get their textured Showstopper braking surface for improved friction, and it’s infused with silicone carbide to improve durability. This treatment was originally found only on the more expensive NSW wheels, but now it drops down to the Firecrest level.

The 303s get the 77/177 hubs with decals on the rims. All of the new/updated rims are handmade in Indianapolis. Claimed weights and pricing are:

  • 303 Firecrest Tubular, rim brake – front: 593g, $1000/1000€; rear: 746g $1200€
  • 303 Firecrest Tubular, disc brake – front: 655g, $1150/1200€; rear: 755g $1350/1400€

New Zipp Ergo Alloy Handlebars

The new Zipp SL80 Ergo address the growing gravel market, where riders spend more time on the tops of the bars. They started with their 80 drop shape, which has a roundish curve and medium reach, then added a flatter top section on the top. But, they widened the central clamp area to leave room for clip-on aero bars on the 40cm and wider bars.

They have a 3° backsweep to give you a more natural perch, and they have a bit of flare (4º) to the drops.

Based on customer requests, they’ve made them Di2 compatible with small holes on the bottom of the drops to work with the new bar end plug module from Shimano. They’ll come in two versions, the SL80 Ergo using 7000-series alloy ($110123€, 275g) with several graphics colors, and the SC80 Ergo made of 6000-series alloy ($55/61€, 315g). Widths are 38, 40, 42 and 44 center to center.

New Zipp Tangente R25 tube-type tires

Still running tubes? New Tangente R25 Speed and Course tires add to their lineup with a new design based on pro and rider feedback…and the advances in rubber used on their tubeless tires. Like any good tire, they wanted to balance cornering grip, which usually requires a soft compound, and durability and efficiently, which benefit from a former rubber. Which is what they did when the introduced the Tangente tubeless tires, and now these are similarly updated.bik

The Tangente Speed ($70/76€) is the lighter, more expensive version, for racing. Course ($68/65€) adds a puncture resistant layer.

All new wheels, bars & tires are already making their way through distribution channels with availability by the end of the month everywhere.


  1. Adilos Nave on

    I don’t understand offering bars with a 3-degree backwards bend. Suppose other companies are doing the same but isn’t it effectively doing the same thing as using a regular bar but with a 10mm shorter stem? The contact points would be the same.

    • Jon on

      It’s ergonomics not a solution for a long stem. I’ve had quite a few road bars with a little back bend on top on them. Many randoneer bars offer this as well. It’s comfy. Odd at first when you’ve ridden traditional straight tops fro 25+ years but you learn to love it quick


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