Zipp News

Back 10.3.2012

202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher - learn all about it

Imagine the essence of road cycling. Maybe you envision a peloton traversing the Alps (or Rockies), or a lone rider on a beautiful ribbon of road in Tuscany (or Sonoma). Perhaps you see yourself on the cobbles of Flanders or on your own favorite route.

The new Zipp® 202 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher is the perfect wheel for all those rides, the rides that caused you to fall in love with cycling in the first place. We set out to reinvent the classic road wheel – keep its shallow rim depth (32 mm), yet make it the most aerodynamic and best-handling wheel in its class. This new Zippcast interview with Zipp design engineer David Morse and Zipp process engineer Karl Hall tells you how we did just that:


Edited Excerpts:

What is the 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher?
“What we have now is a wheel you can use for any occasion and not worry about its strength and robustness. The existing 202 Tubular is synonymous with mountaintop stages. … It’s not a wheel that you’d take every day on a gravel road in rural Indiana. But with the new 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, it’s a carefree wheel. It’s a climbing wheel that’s extremely light. It’s an all-around wheel. It’s very lightweight. It’s very durable. It’s very comfortable to ride. It just feels great under you.”

-- David Morse

Manufacturing the 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher
“When we were sitting down in some of the initial meetings looking at a 32 mm-deep rim with a Firecrest profile, you start looking at it and it’s a pretty wide rim in a pretty shallow package. Intuition said we’re going to have to look at some creative solutions to a few challenges you might have structurally with such a small rim to hit our weight targets…. We actually ended up with a different resin system and had to completely change the way in which we mold our rims…. We ended up producing a rim that comes out cosmetically beautiful, that is lightweight and is absolutely bombproof.”

-- Karl Hall

Using Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD, software
to create a virtual wind tunnel
“The brunt of the legwork for developing the Firecrest shape -- how we cut our teeth on this level of CFD -- was done in that initial development of the 404 Firecrest. Through the subsequent iteration of the 808 and 303 Firecrest wheels, we really learned what’s most important about that rim shape are the end conditions of the rim – the nose section and the interface with the tire. Using CFD we had a couple of different iterations to figure out how to blend those two areas of the rim as aerodynamically as possible. The CFD then drove our wind-tunnel prototypes. We went to the wind tunnel to verify which one was fastest, and that is now the 202 Firecrest.” 

-- David Morse

Creating a culture of innovation
“There’s a quote we say around here… ‘If you become risk averse, you become reward challenged.’ For us as manufacturing engineers, our reward is giving customers product that they pull out of the box and are absolutely in love with. For us, that makes it worth the extra risk of making big changes, changing how we’re going to mold a rim is quite a bit of work. … But we think it’s worth it. We believe in our product. As cyclists ourselves, we want to make something that we want to ride.”

-- Karl Hall

Watch video about 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher

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