It's not a stretch to say that more design, engineering, and manufacturing expertise goes into Zipp’s 88 and 188 hubs than goes into many high-end frames. The result is a set of features and a level of performance found nowhere else in the cycling industry at a weight of just 276g per pair.
Due to the force generated by modern quick-release skewers, we designed the 88 and 188 with the option to adjust bearing preload after clamping the skewer. The KammNut used to set the preload can then be rotated for an aero benefit that allows us to use an oversized 17mm axle that’s 490% stiffer than a 10mm axle with no additional drag.
We’ve also reduced friction by spec’ing grade 10 steel balls and ABEC 7 races in our sealed, cartridge stye bearings made in Switzerland. They roll more smoothly than many after-market ceramic bearings. If you choose to upgrade, the grade 2 silicon nitride balls specified in our Zipp Swiss ceramic bearings vary by less than 2 millionths of an inch. On an 8% grade, the reduced friction equates to removing 340 grams from your bike compared to typical bearings.
To build a lighter, stronger, more durable hub body, Zipp has partnered with the world’s leading aluminum supplier to develop a proprietary alloy called Z310.9. This material offers nearly twice the strength of 6061 aluminum and enables our unique Spoke Hole Impact Forming Technology that minimizes the chance of cracking around the spoke hole, which is the most common mode of hub failure.
To maintain the high precision of Zipp hubs, we use electrical discharge machining, a specialized process that cuts with an extremely thin high-voltage wire submerged in water. EDM allows us to machine 50% harder materials at tolerances 20 times greater than those allowed by traditional machining and heat-treating. The use of EDM means that Zipp freehubs engage more securely than any others in the industry.
The 88 and 188 feature contact seals that are effectively watertight when in place but can be removed to save roughly one watt. The hubs are produced in partnership with a local supplier of high-precision medical devices. The improved 188 hub, available in October 2011, was redesigned to move out the bearings to improve durability and create 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) end caps and seals remain unchanged.
Note: Free hubs are not inter-changeable in this model and require a purchased conversion kit with free hub, seal, spacer and hub specific end cap.
Keeping Tour Stage Wins Rolling - Zipp's New 88/188 Hubs Roll to Victory after Victory July 2009
Testrider.com's Ben Edwards reviews the Zipp 88/188 hubset. Click here to see the video review of the hub with the most stage wins in this year's Tour.
Being Zipp 808. April 2009 [pdf]
"Riding a set of 808 tubs is like going from clay wheels to polyurethane ones on a skateboard. You were used to the clay and it worked fine and you grew immune to it's limitations. However, when you latch on something that is steps ahead of what you have, it makes you wonder why you didn't make the jump sooner. That's the feeling you get on the 808s compared to a basic wheel." Tim Schamber, ROAD, May 2009.
“Fuori i muscoli!” by Alessandro Turci, Ciclismo February 2009
The Italian magazine, Ciclismo, reviews Zipp's 808, SLC2, SL145, Tangente Tire, VumaQuad and 88/188 hub.
188 Hub Dimensions [pdf]
188 Hub Parts [pdf]
88 Hub Parts [pdf]
Campy Conversion Kit [pdf]
Shimano/SRAM to Campy Conversion Manual [pdf]
Model Year 2009 Zipp hub conversion (Shimano/SRAM to Campy 9/10/11-speed)
One thing that has set the Zipp hub apart since the beginning has been the bearing design. Zipp is the only company in the world specifying Swiss made ball bearing cartridges, but these are not even standard Swiss made cartridges, they are highly specialized. Since most stock bearings of the size used in bicycle hubs come from the machine industry, they are invariably designed for higher rotational speeds and generally lower loading, and usually no shock loading. Working with a family-owned Swiss bearing manufacturer, Zipp is able to define certain key criteria to bearing smoothness and long life, and develop the finest cartridge bearing every introduced into the cycling industry.
To start with, standard bicycle bearings are usually toleranced at 50 millionths of an inch. This is done by blowing them up a graduated tube with air, and guarantees that all balls are within 50 millionths of an inch of each other in diameter, and any individual ball is round within that same 50 millionths of an inch spread. High precision balls utilized in most company’s high end products up this spec to 25 millionths of an inch to ensure better roundness of the balls, and ensure smoother rolling. 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 5 times tighter than most ‘precision’ balls. The measurement reports below show two ‘round’ items, the first measuring 10 millionths round, the second 20 millionths round.
When we talk about ceramic bearings, we're talking about the best: Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) ceramic bearings that are more than 1,000 times rounder than any steel bearing, even the industry-leading ones we spec. Si3N4 bearings have an incredible maximum spin rating of 300,000 rpm under load and tolerances less than 2 millionths of an inch among the entire bearing set. Read More
Shift™ (Spoke Hole Impact Forming Technology)
Spoke Hole Impact Forming Technology is a radical manufacturing process. At the heart of SHIFT is a proprietary alloy called Z310.9 that’s nearly twice the strength and more crack resistant in hub flanges than the commonly used 6061 alloy. Read More
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.