Climbing, descending, sprinting, crosswinds, rough roads, and anything else you might encounter on a ride are no sweat for the Zipp 303 Clincher. This wheelset has it all: the convenience and braking performance of an aluminum clincher rim, the durability
Road bikers and triathletes looking to improve performance typically choose two paths; lighter weight or better aerodynamics. Until recently, getting both in a reliable clincher configuration has been challenging. Light weight clincher wheels typically have a short profile which reduces weight, but this low profile isn’t as aerodynamic. Aerodynamic rims are typically taller and thus require more mass to build so they are heavier. Continue reading →
Fundamental flaw with nipple design around carbon rim which is prone to defects
Don't look that nice with their ancient carbon patch work lay up design
Purchased these wheels new, the rear wheel I purchased just the 303 clincher rim to go with my Powertap SL+. I've recently had a baby so haven't had much time to ride but I do manage to get out once a week, maybe twice a week.
This is my second set of zipps, my first set was a pair of 404 tubulars which I used for a few months. I thought I couldn't go wrong since every one uses them it seems (more on this later). I got a bit of a rude shock one day when a mechanic asked me why I purchased Zipps, he told me they had poor construction, something to do with the basic structure of the carbon since they glue them together to form a single hoop which if you look carefully it does look that way, they have seams across the rim. Well I shrugged off that remark and was a bit offended since I paid quite a buck for the 404's. Anyhow, I got rid of the 404 tubulars because I kept getting flats and the tubulars tires were not cheap... so I'll never go back to tubulars.
So I picked up a set of Zipp 303 clinchers, as mentioned I don't have that much time to ride lately and after a ride this past Sunday I noticed a bulge near 1 of the nipples, when I got home and after closer examination it's definitely a stress fracture in the nipple area. Well how annoying is that after spending again good money on a set of wheels.
It looks like I'm going to have to take it back for warranty replacement, if you read through some of the reviews from this site for Zipps stress fractures are a common theme around the nipple area. In addition I believe that Zipp spoke tensions are relatively low due to their inherent weakness.
So here is the kicker, why oh why do so many shops sell Zipps and at such high prices, the competition is getting stiffer thats for sure. If you look at even some good wheel builder websites that tout great products they inevitably stock Zipps, it must be the great marketing that is driving sales, unfortunately it's my fault since I should have done my homework, which I'll do this time around for the replacement rim.
With annoyed customers like me I'm not sure how long Zipp is going to last. Consumers are not ignorant, they need to go back to the drawing board.
I'm looking to do some more research and find me a set of stronger carbon rims for my powertap. Looking at Enve, Reynolds etc..
Strengths: Don't get me wrong, their light, fast, smooth, and ride great.
Weaknesses: Their not strong enough for a 170 pound rider doing road races or crits.
I got these Zipp 303 clinchers brand new in the box for a steal of a price and only used them on race days, (never trained on them). After 60+/- miles I noticed a crack arching over the carbon rim at one of the nipples on the front wheel, (It looked like the spoke was trying to pull through the carbon). The guy I bought them from was nice enough to return them to the company for a replacement, which I got. a month later, I found a similar crack in the rear wheel, and then a developing crack in the replacment front wheel. This common defect has made me give up on Zipp. For what these things cost (even with my deal) it's not worth the headache of getting a replacement every few months. I'll be replacing them with a new set of Mavic Cosmic's, they sound more reliable.
Bike Setup: Ti bike w/ carbon seat stays, 10 speed Ultegra group. Total bike weight = 17lbs
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: September 24, 2007
Strengths: Very light, true right out of the box to good specs. These wheels climb like a champ, and descend like a hawk after prey. They look great with my Roubaix, which is flat black carbon.
I have hopes they will continue to perform with little upkeep; however, I will let you know how things progress.
Weaknesses: Tires must be stretched before installing, and don't make the mistake I did of using a cloth rim tape; it is just too big to get a tube and tire to seat properly. I have ordered some Zipp tape and may try the new Velo plugs if they will fit.
So far, this wheelset has been very impressive. It climbs very well, descends even better, but I notice the biggest difference on Flats and rollers. I seem to be able to hold speed longer with less effort. To you that have experienced this effect, you can identify.
Strengths: Excellent overall wheel that performs both on race day and everyday training rides.
2006 Zipp 303s with powertap SL hub. Very good set of wheels, 2000 miles and not a single problem. These were built up by the guys at Competitive Cyclist, who were extremely helpful. Overall ride quality is very good, road vibration is kept to a minimum, but not as dampening as my Reynolds carbon mid-vs, to be expected. Very stable at high speeds and the tires hold speed extremely well. Very satisfied with purchase. Wish more manufacturers would incorporate Powertaps into their line-ups.
Bike Setup: Scott CR1 Team Equipe with Shimano Dura-ace setup.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: April 11, 2007
Strengths: Look good
Weaknesses: See above.
Beware! Had the clincher 303 (non dimpled) - they cost a bomb. Only ever managed to get one training ride and one race in (total 200km) before wheels completely out of true (both). Took it back to shop and they sent it off to the distributor. After a week, it was reported there were cracks in BOTH front AND back wheels.
These wheels are a joke. I wonder how badly made they are to last such little distance. Totally unreliable.
I have replaced them with Mavic Cosmic Carbones SLs, which have stayed true and problem free for thousands of kms.
I also run Spinergy Stealth PBOs, which are full carbon 45mm which are just as fast - these have done thousands of kms, I commute on them too - and have never needed so much as a twist of a spoke wrench.
I really can't decide on purchasing the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher or Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40c. I can purchase either set for just about the same price with the REI coupon out right now.
Anyways, I live in the North Georgia Mountains where a 20+% grade is not uncommon on many many roads ... Read More »
This is my first foray into aftermarket wheels for bikes. I just picked up a 2013 Zipp 303 Carbon Clincher off ebay and the wheels look in decent condition. I did have one question about the wheel. Specifically one nick on the brake track that isn't huge or deep but wanted your exper ... Read More »
Time for some new rollers and I am looking for [B]stiff[/B] rims - the lighter the better but some aero would be nice too.
Will most likely go custom-built but could be convinced to buy standard pre-built from either company.
ENVE SES 3.4 Clincher = 885g/pr
Zipp 303 FC Clincher = 1000g/pr
... Read More »
I'm in the market for some Zipp 303 Clincher wheels as an everyday training wheel. In season, I do alot of climbing and descents as steep as 17-20% and must have an alumnum brake surface. I'm looking to buy used and I don't care if it is dimpled or non-dimpled, I won't feel the difference.
What ... Read More »