Zipp unveils 30 Course tubeless-ready alloy wheelset

Disc-only aluminum hoops aimed at gravel, adventure and cyclocross

Cross Wheels
The aftermath of our extended dirt road testing session. Lots of grit and grime, but no major issues.

The aftermath of our extended dirt road testing session. Lots of grit and grime, but no mechanical issues (click to enlarge).

Quick, name the number of tubeless-ready wheels Zipp makes. The answer?

None — until now. Unveiled this week is the new Zipp 30 Course, an alloy tubeless-ready, disc-only set of hoops built around high-end Sapim CX-Ray spokes and Zipp’s 77/177D hubs, which debuted earlier this year on new Zipp 202 and 303 Firecrest disc-brake wheelsets.

Claimed wheelset weights are 1655g for clinchers (or 1615g for the tubular version), which in either case is not particularly light given the $1000 price point. Spoke counts are 24 front/24 rear. Nipples are Sapim Secure-Lock. And the wheel is compatible with 10- or 11-speed cassettes from SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo. Availability is slated for summer 2015.

“This isn’t just an alloy wheelset,” explained Zipp product manager Jason Fowler, who earlier this week walked a small group of journalists through the wheel’s finer points during a press event near the company’s new 20,000-square foot testing and development facility in San Luis Obispo, California. “We’ve taken what we learned from the Firecrest and applied it to the rim shape of this wheel.”

Tubeless-ready. Photo by Nils Nilsen/N2Photo

Tubeless-ready (click to enlarge). Photo by Nils Nilsen/N2Photo

Specifically, the 30 Course bears distinct resemblance to the 202 Firecrest, with its rounded nose shape and 26mm depth.

“That’s going to make it yield similar durability, aero efficiency and crosswind stability to what we’ve achieved with the 202,” added Fowler. “We looked at the leading and trailing edges of the rims and were able to move the center of pressure below the hub. That will mean less wind induced steering torque compared to a box section rim.”

But unlike the 202, the 30 Course can be set-up tubeless, which Zipp believes makes it an idea wheel choice for everything from road racing, to gravel adventuring, to racing cyclocross. Zipp claims tubeless capability, traction, and ride feel are enhanced by a wide rim profile, which measure 25mm external, 21mm internal.

“That wide platform spreads the tire casing and increases air volume in the tire for a larger contact patch,” said Fowler. “That means more comfort and better cornering grip, which is super important especially for gravel and adventure riding.”

Rotor attachment is 6-bolt with center-lock a possibility down the road. Max pressure is 125psi. Rider weight limit is 250 pounds.

Even this minefield of potholes did little to slow down our group. Photo by Nils Nilsen/N2Photo

Even this minefield of potholes did little to slow down our group (click to enlarge). Photo by Nils Nilsen/N2Photo

The Zipp 77/177D hub is also feature packed, boasting 36 points of engagement and proprietary flange geometry and spoke hole attachment pattern that’s claimed to optimize torsional lateral stiffness. Bearing preload is pre-set, meaning no pre-load adjustment is needed.

Perhaps more compelling is the hub’s diversity. The new wheelset comes set up for standard QR operation, but also includes various axle caps that are swappable by hand, allowing for conversion to 12x100mm or 15x100mm up front and 12x135mm or 12x142mm in the rear. For anyone looking for a wider gear range (think 10-42 cassettes), the 177D rear hub can also accommodate an XD driver body without re-dishing the wheel. XD kits are sold as an aftermarket add-on; everything else is included with wheel purchase, which in the case of the clinchers includes Zipp rim tape 700c X 20mm and tubeless valves. Rear clincher and tubular wheels also include a 1.85mm cassette spacer for 10-speed compatibility.

Bearing preload is precision set, which means no pre-load adjustment is needed. Photo by Nils Nilsen/N2Photo

Bearing preload is precision set, which means no pre-load adjustment is needed (click to enlarge). Photo by Nils Nilsen/N2Photo

Claimed hub weights are 145g/265g set up as QR, and 140g/260g if you opt for a thru-axle set-up. The QRs have also been redesigned, and now come with a wider more ergonomic handle that’s claimed to provide more leverage when opening and closing. Claimed skewer weights are 42g front, 46g rear.

The 30 Course wheels are made in Taiwan and backed by a 5-year warranty against manufacturing defects. Zipp will also continue to offer its standard 30 clincher, an $850 alloy wheelset that’s rim brake compatible only.

Continue to page 2 for our first ride impressions and an extended photo gallery »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the / staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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