Zipp has totally redesigned the workhorse of their wheel lineup with the new 303 Firecrest.


It remains 45mm deep, but gets the bulbous Firecrest rim profile that’s 28.5mm at widest and 26.2mm at the brake track. Zipp’s brand manager Andy Paskins says aerodynamics are improved about 8% over the prior model, giving it about a 78 second advantage over a 40km TT compared to a square-ish alloy rim (30mph at 300watts with 15 degree frontal crosswind, if you care)

They’ll be offered with full carbon tubular and clincher rims, making this the first carbon clincher for the 303. Road and CX build are the same, though they get different stickers. We don’t know why either.


The rear hub moves the non-drive bearing outward 7.5mm and cants the spoke flange 8 degrees. The net result is less stress on the spokes and a 7% stiffer wheel laterally. Vertically it remains as compliant as before.



Top radius of rim is very rounded, reducing pinch flats. Aesthetically, there are two new options that replace the silver hub/spokes from this year. The Beyond Black colorway (shown) with black spokes and hub to match the rim. The other is called Falcon Gray, which Paskins said is close to a pewter.


Clincher is just under 1,500g (claimed) and tubular is just under 1,200g. They’re in production now to ship in October. MSRP is $2,700 clincher and & 2,300 tubular. They’ll come with a new brake pad compound called Tangenté Platinum Pro that’ll be silvery. It claims to have stopping power more like rubber pads but with the cooling of a cork pad and not as grabby as yellow pads.


  1. Well, I was hoping the 303 flavor would be less expensive than the 404 Firecrests and less weighty. Given the minimal weight difference and nonexistent cost difference, it would be hard to argue in favor of buying 303 Firecrests over 404 Firecrests. It’s likely the 303’s handle better in crosswinds, but is the difference great enough to pick those over the 404’s? By all accounts, the 404’s handle quite well in crosswinds.

    Hopefully, soon after release, places like will have the 303 Firecrest rims for custom builds as they do currently with 404 Firecrest rims. Maybe there will be a bigger price difference between rims. Sure it’s unlikely, but it doesn’t hurt to dream. Either of these rims with a pair of WI H3 hubs would be pretty damned nice and according to, about $550 less than the full wheel as build by Zipp.

    It does seem as if Zipp’s reputation for not-so-great durability is well behind them. I’ve not heard or read anything about Firecrest failures (not counting failures resulting from crash damage).

  2. Also, kudos where credit is due….er, Tyler. Cycling News and VeloNews and others haven’t posted anything yet on these wheels. Nice scoop.

  3. Let’s not forget that new hub is black rather than silver, a welcome change in my eyes.

    Though Robin is right, the 404 handles great in cross winds (I’ve been on them for a year now), so the 303 will be tough for me to justify.

  4. I was looking for these clinchers less than a week ago. Only found 404 firecrest sets and up. The 303 really only make sense over the 404 as a tubular, saving you almost 300g. But then your flat tires cost a lot more to remedy…

  5. I assume that they are using the existing 88 and 188 hubs but now with different colors? I personally prefer the same silver color they have right now.

  6. “Road and CX build are the same, though they get different stickers. We don’t know why either.”

    I do: political correctness. It’s worth big bucks to a lot of people.

    Also, it’s nice to know that in the future you will be able to choose a different colorway without paying for ZedTech.

  7. “Vertically it remains as compliant as before.” What kind of marketing dribble is this? Wheels are not vertically compliant and if they were nobody would ride them.

  8. I asked about individual rim sales and they said not for now. They would make great cross wheels, but as there’s no disc version announced or hinted at, anyone wanting these rims for ‘cross disc wheels or a custom build are outta luck for now.

  9. Mark, Paskins says the rim design allows it to soak up some of the bigger, harder bumps by compressing slightly for a smoother ride and that that characteristic hasn’t changed with this new model. Wheels will compress slightly just due to the nature of their design anyway…basically a suspension bridge that’s rolled into a circle, but it’s not something that’s generally noticeable, otherwise you’d be exactly right, they’d be basically unrideable.

What do you think?