Zipp News

Back 1.18.2013

Jimmy’s engineering adventure - the 30 Clincher

Jimmy Walter, a design engineer for Zipp and SRAM, had three distinct identities as a student at the University of Colorado Boulder.

  • A street savvy bike-delivery guy for a campus sandwich shop. 
  • A self-described “dorky” engineer. 
  • A collegiate racer on the legendary CU Cycling Team.

“It just kind of gave me this interesting set of experiences,” Jimmy said in a ZippCast interview about the new Zipp 30 Clincher. Indeed, Jimmy's diverse approach to cycling and academia sparked his interest in bike design. It also helped land him a job at Zipp and prepared him for his work on the new Zipp 30 Clincher, a wheel built for just about every type of riding.



Zipp’s goal with the 30 Clincher
“We really wanted to create a wheel that was good at absolutely anything you can throw at it,” Jimmy said. “I personally was longing for a wheel that would be just as at home in your local criterium, feeling snappy and energetic as you repeatedly corner and accelerate, as it would be on my commuter riding to work in the snow or (over) potholes.”

Details, details
The goal was to control and optimize every aspect of the wheel, he said. That included major aspects of design such as the aerodynamic performance of the hybrid toroidal rim. But it also meant paying attention to every detail: designing the rim for easy tire installation, researching the best surface roughness for optimal braking performance, and using locking nipples to ensure the wheel stays true.

Design it, ride it
The 30 Clincher had to survive the punishment dished out in Zipp’s famous test lab. In addition to that, real cyclists logged 14,000 test miles on the wheelset without a single failure. Jimmy accounted for 3,400 of those miles spent commuting, road racing, cyclocross racing and just riding.

One bad commute, one resilient wheel
Jimmy nailed a huge pothole one morning on the way to Zipp. He had two flats, one spare tube and was 7 miles from work. “I got to work and I was kind of bummed because I thought I had just toasted the rear wheel,” Jimmy said. “Sure enough, I looked at the tire and it was pretty shredded from riding. I take the tire off, and the rim was in perfect shape. I literally couldn’t believe it. There were no flat spots. It wasn’t out of true. It wasn’t ground up or anything. It was in great shape.”