Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Disc-Brake Road Wheel - Clincher
If you've been waiting for worthy disc brake-compatible wheels for your road or 'cross bike, it's time to rejoice -- the Zipp 303 Firecrest Clincher Disc Wheel is finally here. And true to the name, these wheels roll on Zipp's 45mm 303 Firecrest carbon clincher rim, and a redesigned version of the 88/188 hub set. So, say hello to better braking, without saying goodbye to light weight or ride quality.
The layup of the rims hasn't changed from Zipp's venerable 303 Firecrest clincher. That may come as a surprise, as disc brakes negate the need for a braking surface. However, Zipp's engineers found that the 303 Firecrest rim was already optimized in terms of strength and weight, so there wasn't an advantage to be had by changing the rim profile. However, there is one notable change from the rim-brake version, and that is the brake track itself. The standard 303 Firecrest uses a high-abrasion brake track, and the disc brake wheels receive no such treatment. As such, even though there is a vertical sidewall, the 303 Firecrest disc wheels are not compatible with rim brakes.
It follows that the disc version of the 45mm deep 303 Firecrest provides the same advantages as its rim-brake counterpart. The Firecrest shape refers to a wider rim profile, which measures at a 17.25mm internal width. Extensive research has proven that this wider rim shape enhances the grip of your tires by both increasing the size of the contact patch and by increasing the air volume of the tire. Not only does it improve grip, but because the increased air volume allows the tire to deform more naturally over surface irregularities, the wider rim profile enables these wheels to roll faster than comparable wheels incorporating a narrower rim. And in the spirit of quickness, the 303 Disc wheel retains the dimpled surface of the original. Like a golf ball, those dimples create a minor aerodynamic disturbance, effectively creating a pillow of air around the wheel that enables it to cut throug