Zipp have been at the top of their game for the last few years in my opinion. The Firecrest shape has spawned imitators and it now seems widely acknowledged that as long as you have adequately wide fork legs (for air flow and clearance purposes) the wide rim shape is most probably the fastest design you can buy that is also a great performer in cross winds. If you’ve not ridden deep section wheels at speed, cross winds can be very dangerous as they catch the side of your wheel and blow you off line in the blink of an eye. It can be very nerve wracking riding them on a windy day. It’s also because the wind comes in lots of directions when you ride not just from the front, so you need an aero design the performs well at different wind angles. This is something tradional V-shaped rims are weaker at. New shapes like the Firecrest handle these yaw angles better.
Zipp is well reknowned for their investment in engineering as this recent review of the new 202 Firecrest clinchers showed: http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=11045 – it’s a great read and I commend it to you.
However, to be frank – for now, I can’t afford the hit of over £2,000 on my credit card for a set of deep section carbon mega wheels even though I have an aero bike which would be the perfect platform. Whilst the rapid improvement of clincher technology, braking, durability and comfort of carbon clinchers from the specialist manufacturers would now make me very happy to take the leap – I don’t have the funds and I know I’m not alone with this. In a perfect world, I’d be riding something like these 303 Firecrest Clinchers below … but I simply don’t have the budget for the time being.
However, I would still like an aero option that utilises some of the same engineering that brought us the Firecrest and this is why I’m writing about the Zipp 30 and 60. Yes there are other aluminium deeper section wheels – like the Easton EA90 Aero and Mavic Cosmics as examples but according to Zipp both the 30 and the 60 feature their toroidal shape bringing aero benefits surpassing many normal V-shaped rims.
This to me is a key feature. The other key feature is that they’re supposedly tougher (if not as fast as the other Zipp wheelsets) so you could use these as everyday wheels. If you live somewhere flat- the 60’s might be the ones for you. I ride in rolling countryside so for me the 30 looks interesting. Both wheels feature a new hub design and Sapim CX-Ray aero spokes – 18 on the front and 20 on the rear and are compatible with 10 and 11 speed drive trains. The 60 has an aluminium brake track on an aluminium rim like a Mavic Cosmic – but I suspect the Zipp will be faster as the Mavic’s haven’t changed a lot over the last few years. Neither the 30 or the 60 are especially light but they’re not boat anchors either if the specs are correct and you’ll get some aero gain back for the sacrifice you make in weight. The 30 is obviously 30mm deep and the 60 is, well, 58mm deep. The 30 also features a wide rim bed, most likely adding comfort as well and adding a bit more potential versatility.
Either of these wheelsets could make good real world race wheels and I’d certainly be keen to try a set of the 30’s if I get the chance. They seem to fit well with what I’m looking for in a wheelset for my aero bike – not least of all because of the pricing.
Pricing is, shall we say, less aggressive with the 30’s price at £675 a pair and the 60’s at £1200 a pair. They’re still not as cheap as many wheels but compared to £2k plus – they do look like an interesting prospect.
Both wheelsets are available from March 2013.
Zipp have kindly shared some aero data with me on the new 30 and this is below. If I can get any more I will update the post:
Here’s a story from Zipp’s site on the development and goals for the 30: http://www.zipp.com/about/story.php?ID=508
And the launch video:
Thanks for reading
Lots more coverage at the following sites:
First ride reports from Red Kite Prayer and Road.cc which are both very positive: