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2015 Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular Rear Wheel

  • 2015 Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular Rear Wheel
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2015 Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular Rear Wheel

Product Description

General Information

Of all the choices in the Zipp arsenal, the 303 Firecrest Tubular could be the one that has the biggest following in the pro ranks. It has won cobbled classics, it has won stages in Grand Tours. You can find them on bikes for flat races and mountainous ones. These wheels even went to cyclocross worlds.
The Firecrest shape is the secret. Even though it sits between shallow and mid-depth rims at 45mm, the sides start at 25.14mm and widen to 28.5mm before taking a gentle arc into a blunt shape by the exposed spoke nipples. The nipples, btw, are more exposed to your eyes than they are to the wind, as when they're on the trailing edge, the rim shape is such that the wind can't find them. And, by having them on the outside, on the rare chance you need to true the wheels, nipple access doesn't necessitate removing the tire.
Besides being more aero, the Firecrest shape is more stable. This has to do with tuning the shape so it works as well in crosswinds as it does in a headwind. The rim shape is much that the focal point of the pressure is in line with the steering axis, thus reducing the strength needed to hold the wheel in place. It's also stronger, not only because of the wider rim bed making for more supported weight, but because wider is laterally stiffer. And with the wide shape, the contact patch shortens, reducing rolling resistance.
Zipp knew the wheel could be better. They focused on the rear hub, changing the height of the flanges, changing the spoke pattern, and moving the non-drive side flange outboard. Into the hub they put larger bearings. The result is a wheel that is much more laterally stiffer, delivering greater efficiency to the pedals and making tracking easier.
The wheels are delivered with quick release skewers, brake pads, and valve extenders. Remember to use only carbon-specific pads with your carbon rims, and never run them with aluminum rims.
The 303's aerodynamics, as is the case with all wheels, are dependent on the relationship of rim depth to rim width. To work with this depth, they increased the width to the point that some frames have chain stays that are too narrow for the wheel to safely fit through. Two of these are the 2012 Specialized Tarmac SL4 and the S-Works Venge. Measure first.
The Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Tubular is the standby of the pro peloton.

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