So far, in the Zipp world of carbon fiber, there's only been one wheel that hasn't received the venerable Firecrest Technology. Unfortunately for us, it's a wheel that we use for everything from climbing to cyclocross. However, the tides have changed, and the new wave of carbon clinchers has arrived. The Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset is not only the lightest Firecrest clincher in the Zipp war chest, but even as a clincher, it reigns supreme as the ultimate Zipp climbing wheel. Period. Some things are simply worth the wait.Zipp's concept for applying the Firecrest Technology is relatively simple -- what goes up must come down. For years, the 202 has been the wheel of choice for Grand Tour ascents, but Zipp found room for improvement on the wheel's handling and stability on the way down. The natural decision was to produce a Firecrest version of the wheel, but like any engineering, unforeseen variables present themselves the further that you go under the surface. For example, Zipp found that the 202's profile was more sensitive to tire shape than deeper rim depths. However, instead of being a hindrance, Zipp adapted the Firecrest profile, and accordingly, the 202 Firecrest is at home with a vast array of tire widths. On top of this, the low and wide profile of the 202 makes it the least susceptible to side force of any Zipp wheel. Now, the 202 is ready for 'cross, hair-raising descents, and the roughest roads of Belgium -- all at a low low weight of around 1375 grams. To understand all of this, let's jump into what Firecrest technology actually is.The Firecrest is Zipp's most ambitious rim shape to date. Designed to account for differences in airflow between tubulars and clinchers, the 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher maintains the traditional 202 rim depth of 32.0mm, but now it's been given a max width of 25.4mm. Using computational fluid dynamics, Zipp moved the center of pressure towards the steering axis to create the most stable, predictable, and neutral rim in its speed weaponry arsenal. Reassuringly, Zipp does nothing without reason. It found that a wider rim offers greater vertical/lateral compliance for increased control, comfort, and rigidity. As for the clincher, Zipp found that moving the hook beads further apart allowed the tire to take on a more stable shape without adding rolling resistance. For strength and rigidity, the Firecrest 202 utilizes uni-directional fibers to handle the tensile and comprehensive loading within the rim. This has been further reinforced by using woven fibers in the spoke-hole areas. Lastly, a woven silica-ceramic fabric and a woven carbon fabric encapsulate the braking and tire-mounting surfaces. The combination of fiber patterns creates the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio in Zipp production.A number of Zipp technologies went into making the 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher the most versatile wheel in the Zipp arsenal. First, the Multi-Material Co-Molding process permanently fuses a sub-200-gram al
Weaknesses: Price, do not ride when wet, grit from rain can scratch braking surface.
Do to the stiffness of my frame (Vellum Edge), I ride 700x25 tires with 90 lbs pressure. No flats so far, and I ride on rough roads in the Sierra foothills. Great looking, seems to ride smoother, a wheel set that I can trust going over 40 down a mountain pass. Almost bought a pair of Chinese carbon knockoffs, try trusting those going down hill.
Vellum Edge with
Campy Ultra Lite Carbon Ti group
Everything else carbon