Zipp is synonymous with carbon wheels. The Indianapolis-based company is a long-time player in the carbon wheel market and is one of the first choices in deep-section wheels for many riders.
In cyclocross, the mid-depth 303 has experienced a tenure as the de-facto tubular rim of choice, especially for SRAM athletes. Despite its popularity, Zipp has always carried a staggering price tag. While the brand has always had a more budget-conscious option, it never carried the number codes present on the flagship Firecrest lineup.
For 2020, however, Zipp is bringing the 303 moniker to the masses with the 303 S. A follow-up to Zipp’s first budget carbon wheel, the 302, the 303 S features a 23mm internal width and a rim profile that is optimized for a 28mm tire although it will also receive larger gravel tires up to 50mm; a fact that Zipp was quick to point out.
The wheels weigh 1540g and feature 24-spoke lacing, Zipp disc brake hubs with Center Lock rotor attachments and a 3-pawl driver available in both SRAM XDR and Shimano Hyperglide configurations.
The 303 S retains the same 45mm depth as its predecessor and remains dimple free but is now 27mm wide for improved aerodynamics with larger tires. The rim features a hookless, tubeless-ready design, and is the first wheel to feature Zipp’s striking new graphics, a major departure from the decades-old aesthetic the brand is known for. Interestingly, Zipp discourages the use of tubes, claiming that outside of a roadside fix the wheel must be set up tubeless because of the hookless profile.
Equally striking is the price point. A pair of 303 S wheels retails for $1300, placing them firmly in the realm of more attainable carbon wheels. Also new for Zipp is a lifetime warranty, something ENVE, Roval and others have added in recent years.
Official press release below.
303 S Tubeless Disc Brake Wheels Unveiled (WH-303-STLD-A1)
Expanding greatly on its heritage of conquering the Spring Classics, this 303 wheelset maintains its ideal-for-every-terrain 45mm rim depth but adds a significantly wider internal width to provide greater performance and ride quality in almost every measurable way. Road bikes are more versatile than ever, no matter the road surface, but just as fast as before. The 303 S offers an entirely new rim profile and design to optimize rider performance on this new breed of bike.
This wheelset is tubeless for disc-brake bikes, allowing the ability to run wide tires at lower pressures for race-ready speed on or off the pavement. The 303 S is among our lightest wheelsets, optimized for top aero performance with a 28mm tire but capable of handling gravel tires up to 50mm wide. The 303 S Series borrows design concepts from the higher-level 303 Firecrest Tubeless Disc-brake wheelset to gain speed through increased efficiency.
The key innovation is in the 303 S’s rim design. Its 45mm rim depth is the same as its predecessor, the 302 Disc brake. But its external rim width is 2mm wider, at 27mm, and its tire bed is a full 7mm wider, at 23mm internal width.
That rim platform is designed to be the fastest with a 28mm tire. The wide rim optimizes tire profile to allow lower tire pressure. That helps to reduce rolling resistance and provides a more compliant ride. The result of all this is a 10-watt savings vs. a top peer wheel in total power required to ride 40kph on a flat road with a 28mm tire, according to internal Zipp testing.
This groundbreaking wheelset also features all-new cosmetics, setting the rider apart from the pack, and comes at an attractive price.
- New Zipp graphics and cosmetic identity that scream speed
- Fastest with 28mm, fits wide gravel tires as well
- Wide rims optimize tire profile to allow lower tire pressure, especially with tubeless. The result is a larger contact patch for increase grip for confident cornering, descending, and handling in wet conditions.
- Lower tire pressures and larger volume provides a compliant ride with fewer vibrations.
- Significant watt savings when running larger tires at lower pressure.
- Wide hookless rims create a seamless transition to the tire, reducing drag
- 76 / 176 DB hubs with center locking interface
- XDR driver body option
- Lifetime Warranty
Zipp 303s Carbon Wheelset Specs:
Size (Wheels): 700c
Rim Construction: Carbon
Tire Compatibility: Clincher Tubeless Ready
Brake Compatibility: Disc (Center Lock)
Wheelset Weight: 1,540g
Rim – Inside Width: 23mm
Rim Profile: Symmetrical
Rim Finish: Ud Fiber / Bake-On Labels / Matte Clear Coat
Nipple Material: Brass
Spoke Type: Cx-Sprint
Spoke Count: 24
Spoke Pattern: 2 Cross
Driver Body Type: N/A, Sram XDR, Sram/Shimano Road
Axle Type (Wheels): Ta 12×100, Ta 12×142
Bearings: Cartridge – Stainless Steel
Driver Mechanism: 3 Pawls Leaf Spring
MSRP: $625 front wheel 12x100mm, $675 rear wheel, XDR or SRAM/Shimano 11s
More info: zipp.com