If perfection is the standard, then the 303 Firecrest wheelset delivers everything you could ask for, including a heritage forged in the Spring Classics. At the center of the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher is the 77/177 hubset, an innovation that results in improved stiffness, durability, simplicity and versatility.
Zipp’s original 303 Tubular made history by becoming the first carbon wheelset to win cycling’s two most famous Cobbled Classics, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Its wider rim provided extra durability, and improved aerodynamics. That wider rim also led to the development of our revolutionary Firecrest® platform, and now the revolution continues with the inclusion of the 77/177 hubset – best-in-class durability and improved bearing protection with no pre-load adjustment needed.
Zipp’s Carbon Clincher technology preserves the aerodynamic advantages of the 303 Firecrest’s tubular brother, while adding the convenience of a clincher tire. And at just 1,645g, it’s light enough to climb up the steepest gradients with ease as a go-to all-around wheelset.
The Firecrest shaping optimizes the aerodynamic profile of both the front half and the back half of the wheel. In addition, Firecrest moves the center of pressure of the wheel backwards, giving the 45 mm-deep rim the crosswind stability a box-section rim. At the same time, the 26.4 mm-wide brake track (at center) allows the clincher tire to take on a wider, more stable shape without compromising rolling resistance. It’s faster, simpler, and more stable.
The new wheels retain all the small details that make Zipp wheels what they are. Exposed spoke nipples sit in the aerodynamic shadow of the rims, keeping serviceability simple without compromising speed. And our signature ABLC™ rim dimples squeeze every last second of performance possible.
Available in two decal options, the stealthy Matte Black or the distinctive Matte White decals. Each 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheel comes with Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads, Zipp Integrated Valve Extender with valve-core wrench, rim tape and quick release.
The wide profile of the 303 Firecrest is crucial to Zipp’s revolutionary Firecrest technology used to create wheels with superior aerodynamics as well as improved stability and handling.
The rear 303 Firecrest, however, may present some fitment issues for a small number of road and triathlon frames. The clearance between the chainstay and the rim may not be adequate to avoid contact between each other when ridden under load.
We urge customers who plan on riding the 303 Firecrest to test the wheel within the frame in which they intend to ride, under normal riding and road conditions, before purchasing. Clearance within individual frames of the same size, from the same manufacturer, may vary. That is why it is imperative that you test the wheel in your frame, or in the frame that you are considering purchasing.
Customers who run into this fitment issue may select any other spoked wheel within the Zipp lineup as an alternative, including the 404 Firecrest with its narrower aero-width profile.
Below is a list of known frames that may present this issue. This list will be updated if this fitment issue is discovered elsewhere.
Front wheel: $950 / €1,000
303 Firecrest Tops All Challengers in Velo Test September 2014 [pdf]
The Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon won the Velo Editors’ Choice Award for the best of eight leading carbon clinchers tested. These tests included wind-tunnel tests, where the 303 Firecrest won handily against rivals including Enve, Reynolds and Mavic.
Quote from Velo — September 2014 Issue
Remarkable Speed Feelings February 2014
Ciclismo a Fundo (Portugal) tested the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher in its February 2014 issue.
In Portugal, the total amount for a set of Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher is 2,525 euros, 1,138 euros for the front and 1,387 euros for the rear wheel. In addition to the brake pads, the Zipp 303 are sold with valves extenders and tools, rim tapes and quick releases. But for that price, the brand doesn't offer carry bags.
. 11spd compatibility
Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheelset: the PEAK Performer September 2013 [pdf]
Triathlon Plus/Tri Radar tested 15 mid-section wheelsets (September 2013)
The Zipp 303 Firecrest CCL got two Awards which is very rare. The Peak Performer Award* and the Gold Award***.
Verdict: “Outstanding handling in a tough, lightweight and comfortable all-rounder.” “Zipp’s distinctive Firecrests came into the test as the benchmark all-rounders.”
The Use Road 4.5 Clinchers got the Top Value Award**.
Verdict: “Efficiently fast, friendly-handling and eagerly responsive wheel at an excellent price.”
*Peak Performer Award: A product that does a truly stunning job, regardless of its price.
**Top Value Award: An outstanding deal – you’re getting an excellent product for the money.
***Gold Award: The winning product in our group tests, based on both performance and value.
Zipp called leader in carbon clinchers January 2013 [pdf]
Great Britain's Cycling Plus magazine reports Zipp at forefront of testing and developing carbon clinchers.
220 Triathlon praises 303 Firecrest August 2012 [pdf]
In an article that includes comments from Zipp development engineer Michael Hall, UK magazine 220 Triathlon praises the 303 Firecrest. The magazine writes, "The Firecrest 303s make riding faster easier. Unlike most aero wheels they do so without compromising comfort or controllability."
Cycle Sport magazine touts 303 Firecrest July 2012 [pdf]
Cycle Sport magazine's Window Shop feature includes a summary of the 303 Firecrest wheelset.
Five stars for 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher May 2012 [pdf]
The UK's Cycling Plus magazine rated the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher five stars, its highest possible mark. Click to read full review.
Cycling Weekly sees all around versatility April 2012 [pdf]
The UK's Cycling Weekly trumpets the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher's aero attributes and proven toughness. Click to read full item. versatility.
BikeRadar gives five stars to 303 Firecrest April 2012
BikeRadar.com called the Zipp 303 Firecrest "the 303 Firecrest is the best all-round road wheelset we've tested." Full review here
Road Reviews 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher April 2012 [pdf]
"Road: The Journal of Road Cycling and Culture" concluded that the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheels "clearly have a special feel to them." Click on PDF to read the complete review.
Long Distance Runner March 2012 [pdf]
Germany's RoadBike Magazine reviewed Zipp®'s 303 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher.
Click PDF for original article in German.
Lighter, More Aero, Easier to Handle March 2012 [pdf]
UK magazine Triathlon Plus reviewed the 303 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher and asked, is this the ultimate all-around wheelset?
Long Distance Runner February 2012 [pdf]
Germany's RoadBike Magazine reviewed Zipp®'s 303 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher.
Click PDF for English highlights of German article.
Road Tested February 2012 [pdf]
The UK magazine Pro Cycling called the 303 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher one of the very best and fastest all-around wheelsets available.
303 Firecrest called most versatile wheel set around January 2012 [pdf]
Triathlon & Multi Sports magazine of Australia reviews the Firecrest® 303 Zipp®'s answer to the any wheel questions: "The 303s are still the standard of what a great all-round aero wheel set should be."
303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher review January 2012
Spain's Ciclismo a Fondo magazine reviewed the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheelset. Click to right for article; see English translation below.
Ciclismo a Fondo – Sergio Palomar (Jan 2012)
With the new proprietary Firecrest rim shape in our 202, 303, 404 and 808 Firecrest wheels, Zipp wheels make a bigger difference in more ways than ever. Not only is Firecrest more aerodynamic than any other rim design, it improves handling in crosswinds and overall ride quality.
Our superior Carbon Clincher technology is the culmination of two years of intensive prototyping and testing. We worked with our composites supplier to develop an exclusive heat-resistant resin based on the materials used in motorsports brake systems. This proprietary technology improves heat management so substantially that all Zipp Carbon Clinchers pass stringent CEN safety standards.
ABLC™ (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control)
Advanced Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) refers to the patented and instantly recognizable dimpled pattern found on all of our carbon rims. ABLC smoothes airflow across the rim's surface and is tailored to every model from the 202 to the Super-9 Disc. The third-generation of ABLC has up to four times more dimples than before.
VCLC™ (Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control)
Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control (VCLC) uses a vibration-absorbing material sandwiched between layers of rigid carbon laminate in the rim. When the wheel receives an impact from the road, much of the shock is absorbed by the VCLC system, delivering a 10% reduction in vibration.
88/188 Hub Technology
Every aspect of our 88 and 188 hubs sets a new benchmark. The standard steel bearings are the roundest in the industry. The 17mm axle is the stiffest of any road hub we've tested. The wire EDM-cut hub internals are the most precise. When it comes to precision and performance, there's really no comparison.
Electron Discharge Machining allows us to cut the materials for our rear hub drive internals after they’ve been hardened through heat treating, negating the warping and imprecision caused by the heat-treating process.
Zipp is the only company specifying Swiss made highly specialized ball bearing cartridges. Working with a family owned Swiss bearing manufacturer, Zipp is able to attain a superior level of bearing smoothness and long life. Zipp ball bearings are specified to 10 millionths of an inch tolerance, guaranteeing that they are at least 2.5 times rounder and better matched than most company’s “high precision” balls, and more than five times tighter than most “precision” balls.