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Back 2019-08-16

Zipp 3ZERO MOTO in a Nutshell: Challenge, Innovation, and Solution


Enduro racer Adrien Dailly was part of the development and testing process of 3ZERO MOTO and now competes on the wheelset. Photo by Sven Martin

The Challenge

Zipp introduced its first mountain bike wheel, the 3ZERO MOTO, in more than a generation because we saw a specific need of riders out on the trail. It was a need we believed we could fill. This is a brief breakdown of the challenge, innovation, and development of 3ZERO MOTO.

What’s the problem with today’s MTB wheels?

  • Too stiff
  • Broken rims
  • Tire wear
  • Pinch flats
  • Soft alloy rims
  • Disposable heavy inserts
  • Loss of tubeless function in alloy rims

The Innovation


Zipp Master Wheel Builder Nic James, as part of the advanced development team in Indy, did extensive work building concept rims in the development process of 3ZERO MOTO. Photo by Joe Vondersaar.

All of these factors contribute to slower times. The solution? Zipp—consistent with its Indy heritage—looked to motorsports, specifically the single-wall designed used in moto. The journey was not easy.

  • 2012 Year of first concepts
  • 3 Years in Development
  • 35k miles of testing
  • 112+ Laminates
  • 6 Resin Systems
  • 4 Fiber Classes

The Solution


The Zipp 3ZERO MOTO's single-wall approach creates a ride quality we call "ankle compliance," which allows the rims to “pivot” from either side of the spoke bed while traversing rough terrain. Imagine a runner rounding a sharp turn, the ankle naturally flexing to maintain grip as the runner leans. The rim can locally flex to stay parallel to the ground during cornering, which increases traction much like a human ankle. This ability to twist locally allows it to deflect during single bead impacts without the rider getting bounced off line.

Our single-wall approach, what we call Moto Technology™, allows the rims to “pivot” from either side of the spoke bed while traversing rough terrain. As the wheel encounters obstacles, each edge of the rim is designed for compliance, creating the feel of extra suspension. For the rider that means durability and control for greater speed:

  • Higher impact resistance
  • Reduced chance of pinch flatting
  • More traction in rough corners
  • Smoother ride in rocky terrain
  • Ability to run lower tire pressure
  • Reduced rider fatigue
  • Reduced tire wear

Photo by Dan Hearn

Inspired by Moto. Control + Durability = Speed. #ZIppSpeed #3ZEROMOTO