Zipp’s Nest Speed Weaponry lab spins out a new top-tier with all-new carbon 353 NSW Tubeless Disc Brake wheels, balancing all-around road bike aerodynamics in Zipp’s lightest-ever tubeless wheelset. With an undulating 45mm deep Sawtooth profile & signature Zipp dimples, the 353 NSW promises unmatched aerodynamic gains, crosswind stability, and a complete wheelset weight of just 1255g, and a $4000 price tag!
Zipp 353 NSW tubeless disc brake road bike wheelset
Zipp opts for a super-wide 25mm internal hookless tubeless rim profile that will likely widen out most road bike tires and make the 353 NSW quite all-road friendly. But at the same time, that will somewhat limit what road tires can be safely fitted to these wheels. According to Zipp, after a meeting last November, the ETRTO agreed on a range of tire sizes for compatibility based on rim size. That updated range lists the compatible tire sizes for a 25mm internal width rim as 28-65mm. That means Zipp doesn’t recommend tire sizes smaller than 28mm on the 353 NSW.
When it comes to what tires are compatible their rims, Zipp states that the wheels are capable of running any ETRTO compliant tire within that given size range. Tire makers can state that they don’t want their tires used on hookless rims, but as far as Zipp is concerned, if it’s an ETRTO compliant tubeless tire, it’s good to go.
But hold up. Isn’t this a road wheel? It is. But only for 28mm tires and larger? Also yes. The reason comes down to Zipp’s research into everything that makes a rider faster on the road. For the longest time, companies really only focused on aerodynamics. But as it turns out, wattage lost to road vibration can range up to 40-50 watts – far more than the aero gains moving from a 28mm to a 25mm tire. Bottom line, Zipp says that “bigger tires are faster.”
Zipp also claims that the wide hookless rim is “integral to achieving our mission of Making You Faster”, as it ensures a smooth, more aero transition from rim profile to tire profile. Zipp says this is part of their Total System Efficiency (TSE) technology approach to allow wider tires with lower pressure for a combination of reduced aerodynamic drag and reduced rolling resistance.
Being a hookless rim, these wheels are only compatible with tubeless road tires – but that doesn’t mean they’re not compatible with tubes. As long as you run a tubeless tire for the necessary tire bead, you can run tubes all you want. So you can either skip tubeless all together, or run a tube in case of emergency.
The wide hookless design will also mean tires may run wider than the numbers on the sidewall. Zipp states that each tire size has a designated rim width for measurement purposes. For a tire to be labeled 28mm, it must measure 28mm wide on a 19mm internal width rim. But for every 1mm increase in inner rim width, tires will usuall increase in size by 0.4mm on average. We may see road tires designed with wider rim widths in mind in the future, but for now, expect tires to run large.
Aero Carbon Tech details
Zipp again uses their biomimicry Sawtooth profile to cut through the wind, aided by their vortex-inducing Hyperfoil depth variation & HexFin ABLC dimples. Together you get the aero benefits of the full 45mm depth, with lower weight, increased stiffness, and lower impact from crosswinds.
The hookless design also helps Zipp better distribute resin in their carbon layup making the wheels lighter. And the hookless design is also inherently more impact resistant making the wheels more durable.
The new 353 NSW wheels are laced with 24 aero spokes around Zipp’s latest 12mm thru-axle centerlock disc Cognition V2 hubs, with a new updated Axial Clutch V2 freehub claiming faster engagement, lower internal friction, and longer durability.
Zipp 353 NSW tubeless – Pricing & availability
The new Zipp 353 NSW tubeless disc brake wheels are available now individually and apparently in very limited quantities (remember: bike industry supply crunch, act fast on everything new), all with low-key gray/black direct-print graphics. Front wheels sell for $1800 / 1600€ with a claimed weight of 580g. Rear wheels sell for $2200 / 2000€ in either Shimano HG or SRAM XDR freehub bodies and a claimed weight of 675g. Campagnolo freehub bodies are available separately. All wheels include a Zipp Lifetime warranty.