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2016 Zipp 303 NSW Carbon Clincher Front Wheel

  • 2016 Zipp 303 NSW Carbon Clincher Front Wheel
  • 2016 Zipp 303 NSW Carbon Clincher Front Wheel
  • 2016 Zipp 303 NSW Carbon Clincher Front Wheel
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2016 Zipp 303 NSW Carbon Clincher Front Wheel

Product Description

General Information

Zipp’s 303 depth wheelset has long been the all-rounder. With this 303 NSW Carbon Clincher iteration, it is lighter, stronger, stiffer, and faster than ever.

The name. NSW. It’s short for Nest Speed Weaponry, the top-secret facility within Zipp where the latest ideas are hatched and incubated. Some of their work has already been seen in wheels with the Firestrike designation. But those were limited-production. Here, they’re mass-producing. Ideas tested out with Firestrike have been further improved, codified, and now mass-produced. There have already been 808 and 404 NSW wheels. With the 303, they’ve almost completed the lineup.

They are incredibly light for a wheelset of this depth, at 1425g for the set. That’s 640g front and 785g for the rear.

The rim shape, 45mm deep, 26.4mm wide at the brake track, 28.5mm max, has been retained from the Firecrest rim shape. But much has changed at the rim, and everywhere else. The carbon layup has been changed, which makes the same shape rim both lighter and stronger.

The subdued Zipp graphics on the rim hint at the changes in the patterning. The Zipp logo is now applied via ImPress Graphics, a means to lay the logo directly on the carbon rather than on a sticker. Lighter. Uninterrupted dimples. Faster on both counts.

Those dimples should look different. Zipp is deploying a new pattern. ABLC Sawtooth. ABLC stands for Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control. It’s the overarching principle behind all the dimple patterns Zipp uses. Sawtooth is a new design within that realm. It stabilizes the wheel in crosswind situations by inducing small sheet vertices at a low magnitude and high frequency. This means that the air is disturbed consistently and quickly to minimize lateral pressure, resulting in the wheel, and you, experiencing less sideways force. You don’t have to fight the crosswind so hard and you’ll move through it with less resistance. The improvement is greater the faster you go, and Sawtooth makes riding at speeds above 20mph in high-yaw crosswinds not only easier, but faster.

The brake track is also improved, allowing you to stop faster. Here, you’ll find second-generation Showstopper technology. Showstopper refers to finely-molded directional grooves that help channel water and debris off the rim as it spins and cool the track as well. Better, more consistent braking in the wet, in the dry, and even when you’re dragging the brakes. The goal was to match the best aluminum rims on the market: Showstopper does so at the low- to mid-lever forces, and exceeded (aka beat the best aluminum rims) at the high-lever forces.

Spokes are Sapim’s CX-Ray, the industry standard for light, aero spokes.

Hubs have been improved both front and rear. They were designed to improve lateral stiffness of the wheel and put less stress on the bearings. And the rear hub, with two-cross spoking on both sides, was designed to coast with less drag and engage faster. They call them Cognition. The front, weighing 110g, features a scalloped edge for the spoke beds where the pressure from the spokes is more evenly distributed and doesn’t deform the bearing bore under high loads, like when you’re sprinting out of the saddle. The rear, weighing 225g, has a new pawl design with an Axial Clutch, which reduces pawl drag to just about zero when coasting.

As should be expected, you can choose between a Campagnolo-compatible 9/10/11-speed cassette body, and a Shimano/SRAM body. You can also pull these bodies and install a SRAM XD cassette body for even more diversity of applications.

The wheels, sold individually, come in a Zipp wheel bag (which can be secured to a second such bag), a black anodized Zipp titanium skewer, a Zipp valve extender, a Zipp butyl tube, Zipp Platinum Pro Evo pads (please specify Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM), and Zipp rim tape.

This is an everyday, all condition wheelset that can be abused on training rides and used to kill the competition at races.

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