Even the most aero wheelset doesn't help much on a climb. The lightest crankset won't improve your descending. The stiffest stem won't make you faster on the flats. But the world's best hubs deliver a little bit of extra speed, every second of every ride. That's why Zipp builds them into all our wheels.
The 88 front and 188 rear hubs utilize cutting-edge technologies that, within the bike industry, are unique to Zipp. The improved 188 hub, available in October 2011, was redesigned to move out the bearings, improving durability and creating a 6 percent stiffer wheel, built with the same spoke tension. The 88/188 hubs are offered in two colors, “falcon gray” and “beyond black,” across the wheel line. The silver and ZedTech hub 88/188 hub versions are discontinued. Also of note, the rear 188 hub shell and axle are not compatible with the earlier silver version. The bearings (61803), clinch nuts, retaining rings, end caps and seals remain unchanged.
SI3N4 Ceramic Bearings
For years, we've been the only hub manufacturer using Swiss-made bearings that are two and a half times rounder than any others in the bike industry - rounder even than many ceramic bearings. But for the 88 and 188, we added adjustable preload and switched to a slightly larger size that gives us room for a 17mm diameter axle, the stiffest in any road hub. The new bearings also yield a 28% higher load capacity, improve durability, and will save you a watt or two relative to the competition, regardless of conditions. If you upgrade to Si3N4 Ceramic Bearings, know that you'll be getting Grade 2 balls, the finest available, with tolerances less than 2 millionths of an inch per set of 15 bearings.
All Zipp hub internals are manufactured using a high-voltage wire EDM technology so specialized and expensive it is usually reserved for making avionics components, Formula1 gearboxes, and orthopedic joints. This technique lets us machine 50% harder materials at tolerances 20 times greater than standard machining and heat treating. The result is a sub-200g hub that can handle the torque of a 4-cylinder car engine. Obviously, we think you're worth the trouble.
Spoke Hole Impact Forming (SHIFT™)
Each wheelset actually features a slightly different spoke flange design to match the rim depth and allow for more balanced rear spoke tension. All flanges features our Spoke Hole Impact Forming (SHIFT™) strengthens the spoke-hub interface by forging each spoke hole in a proprietary alloy that we developed specially with Alcoa.