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Monday, 26 March 2012

Zipp 303 Firecrest Clincher Ride report

This is from my riding buddy Dean who got a new set of these wheels last week:

Really enjoyed the ride on these. Fairly basic 70mile ride on the flats with some hills but nothing more than 3 to 4%.

Little in the way of cross winds so couldn't test how stable they were in winds. Had a hard ride for the previous day so prob a little tired but didn't really feel it so gave the 303s a good workout for 3.5 hours.

My only comparison are the Edges (which sucked in cross winds but were awesome in a stright line - you know I have always been a huge fan). These felt similar in speed once up and running and as the bearings wear in (the G3c feels like it will take a few longer rides to get bedded in) the 303s should get smoother and feel faster. Must say though that the Edges were probably a little easier to spin up and felt marginally easier to climb with from memory. Difference is really marginal and may be I have rose tinted specs for the Edges but the 303s show that the Edges were also great wheels.

I was also probably fitter when I rode the Edges and I think that makes a difference right now in getting them going properly.

Having said all of that I thoroughly recommend the 303s. The ride with them is really comfortable and I was really impressed by this - no banging the undercarriage and took rough roads really well - and they feel solid and I love the sound of them rolling along. The av speed from yesterday just shows how they can cruise and I could climb at least a gear up on normal wheels and once I get another 30w I can feel they will really roll on the flats in a bigger gear.

These are a fast man's wheels to get the best out of them and I am not quite there yet but when you want to go hard they go fast and they climb well on a steady wattage. I need slightly more power to test how they spin up as I am a bit sluggish still on stepping on the peddles hard.

Do not get the corks pads - they squeal and did not brake as well as the Swiss stop Grey - I will give them another couple of rides to see if they bed in but Swiss have good stopping power, don't grab at all (but I did not get them anything like hot) and feel easy to read on how they will decelerate you.

[Barry's note - I gave Dean both the Zipp cork pads and the new Zipp grey pads to see which ones he preferred]

I will give you another update when I next get out but thought I would share and I will prepare something more thorough for the blog next weekend.

Definitely worth getting a pair - I will take stability over a fraction more speed given the riding we do. They are still fast enough.

Warm down was really smooth and really noticed how well the wheels ride at lower speeds.


alex g said...

Any thoughts on 303 vs 404 for an all-round go anyhwere option?

Anonymous said...

I have not ridden the 404s but the reason for choosing a 45mm rim was to have a good wheel for climbing, motoring on the flats, control in cross winds and light enough for a 160lb rider to spin up. If I was using them more for TTing or just flat courses I may have gone deeper but I felt the 303s were the best compromise given they now have the new dimpled rim.

I loved the Edges and these are as good a match as I could find and had added claims of cross wind stability.

Barry Scott said...

Hi Alex
I think the consensus is that the 303 is more of a all-round road orientated wheel set and the 404 is better for racing/aero/Triathlons. Also the 303 is as quick as a 404 if you use 23mm or wider tyres. If you put a 21 or 22mm tyre on, then a 404 is much more aero.

Dean also makes the point - 303s look shallow in this age of 404/808s, but you forget that 303s are actually 45mm deep- that is as deep as set of Boras (and miles more aero!)