Zipp’s most popular wheel, the 303, has undergone quite the makeover at the Firecrest level. The numbers are impressive. The set has gotten 300 grams lighter, now weighing a claimed 1,355 grams. It’s also faster while getting a 5mm shallower rim depth of 40mm. Plus, it accommodates wider tires with its 25mm internal rim width, making it more versatile. And while wheels have been getting lighter and faster over the years, they’ve also been steadily marching up in price as well. The new 303 Firecrest is a refreshing departure from this trend with a slashed price tag of $1,900, $600 cheaper than before. Oh, and it has a new logo. Like we said, it’s quite a makeover.
This is the first Zipp wheelset to incorporate something called TSE Technology. TSE stands for Total System Efficiency, and, like the name suggests, it’s all about taking a more holistic approach to wheel design. TSE looks at four elements of rim design. There are two we’re all familiar with: aerodynamics and gravity (weight). And then there are two things most people might be less familiar with: rolling resistance and vibration loss.
Weight has been dropped by a whopping 300 grams. And to become more aerodynamic, the rim features a smoother transition between the rim and the tire.
The latter two aspects of TSE are made possible by the new hookless rim design, (which also means this wheel is compatible with tubeless tires only). But that design choice has allowed this wheel to become more efficient overall. It has a more bulbous rim profile that allows the tire to sit wider, meaning less tire deflection, a shorter contact patch and reduced rolling resistance. Energy lost to vibrations in the road has also decreased thanks to higher volume tires running at lower pressures.
The new 303 Firecrest wheelset gets updated hubs as well, the ZR1 DB. These hubs feature 66 points of engagement for quicker response as well as a better seal design for increased durability.
We’ll go into more depth on the new wheels in the pages of Peloton.
More details: zipp.com