Zipp 303 Firecrest Disc and 202 Firecrest Disc road wheels launched

Aero, tough, and QR or thru-axle but still no tubeless compatibility

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Zipp today has officially announced the release of its new disc brake-specific 303 Firecrest Disc and 202 Firecrest Disc road wheelsets. Both use the same stability-focused aero rim shapes as their rim brake cousins but with all-new hubsets that can be used on both quick-release and thru-axle road frames.

Claimed weight for the new 45mm-deep 303 Firecrest Disc Carbon Clincher is 1,645g, or 1,400g for the tubular version. For the shallower 32mm-deep 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher it's 1,530g.

All three wheelsets spin on Zipp’s new 77-177D hubs, which mark a major departure for the company in terms of aesthetics and internal design. Instead of the smooth profile of other Zipp hubs, the 77-177D spoke flanges’ dramatic-looking star shape effectively increases their diameter to better transfer drive and brake torque. Inside, the design is decidedly conventional with two radial cartridge bearings up front and four out back, oversized aluminium axles, and tool-free interchangeable end caps to accommodate both quick-release and the majority of thru-axle frames.

Claimed weight on the new Zipp 202 Firecrest Disc carbon clinchers is 1,530g per set

Gone is the threaded bearing preload system used on Zipp’s rim brake wheels in favour of a fixed adjustment.

Naturally, freehub bodies are interchangeable for compatibility with all Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo road drivetrains. Interestingly, Zipp will also offer an optional XD driver body for riders that want to use SRAM’s ultra-wide range 11-speed mountain bike cassettes. All operate on a standard three-pawl, 36-tooth ratchet system for a reasonably quick 10-degree engagement speed.

Claimed weight for the new 77-177D hubs is 140g for the front and 260g for the rear; tack on another 5g each for the thru-axle end caps.

Rim shapes are carried over wholesale from the rim brake versions with no modifications aside from minor (mostly hidden) changes to the brake track area and 24-hole front and rear drilling – and as before, all of the carbon rims are still wholly manufactured in Zipp’s facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Aside from whatever additional drag is generated by the new hubset, this means all of the new disc-compatible wheels should offer similarly impressive crosswind stability, aero performance and durability.

Unfortunately, though, this means that neither the 303 nor the 202 Firecrest Disc carbon clinchers will be compatible with tubeless tyres, which will likely limit their appeal with gravel and ‘cross racers. Both rims are also on the narrower side with internal widths measuring around 17.5mm.

Sorry, kids, no tubeless compatibility for you

On the upside, prices have decreased slightly in comparison with previous disc-compatible Zipp wheelsets. Retail price for the 303 Firecrest Disc and 202 Firecrest Disc carbon clinchers is US$2400; the 303 Firecrest Disc tubulars are a bit less expensive at US$2300 per set. International pricing is still to be confirmed. All three will be available in shops beginning in March. 

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