We’ve said it before, if we had to ride one wheel for the rest of our lives it would probably be the Zipp 303. It proved aerodynamics have a place in the cobbled classics and carbon can withstand the worst surfaces in the world. At 1183grams the 303 tubulars then proceeded to win in the high mountain passes of Le Tour. If that wasn’t enough, they nabbed cross win after cross win that winter. All on the same wheel… ridiculous.
Zipp couldn’t leave well enough alone. After debuting both the Firecrest rim shape and their long anticipated Carbon Clincher technology with the 404, followed closely by the 808, Zipp has dipped the world beating 303 in that same kool-aid.
The 303 was always wide, but now has a shape optimized both as a trialing edge at the front of the wheel, and a leading edge at the back of the wheel. This is the basic magic of that Firecrest shape. According to Zipp, the 303 is now the fastest 45mm rim they have ever made.
While the 303 was never a handful in wind, it’s even easier to handle than before. In fact, Zipp’s CFD development and analysis shows the new rim shape has the same handling characteristics of an aluminum box section rim.
Aside from the durability and aerodynamics a huge stand out for the 303 had always been it’s incredible weight, 1183 grams. Of course, that was the tubulars and the weight of the new shape is reported to stay close to the same (1198 grams). The 303 aluminum clincher on the other hand was no light weight at 1623 grams. Weight for the new carbon clincher 303 Firecrest is 1498 grams.
The new 303’s will also debut with new 88/188 hubs. They offer new finishes, a new shape and a wider bearing stance for even more stiffness under power.
The new rim finishes hint to a big aesthetic change for Zipp, with their classic silver look being complimented by a ‘Beyond Black’ look with black hubs and spokes. Pricing on the 303 Firecrest wheels will be $2300 (tubular) and $2700 (clincher).
The new 303 will be getting a set in for long term test soon and putting them through our usual rigorous testing protocol. Stay tuned for the results in the pages of peloton soon.