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303 Firecrest® Tubular

If perfection is the standard, then the 303 Firecrest wheelset delivers everything you could ask for, including a heritage forged – and still thriving – in the world’s toughest races. At the center of the 303 Firecrest Tubular is the 77/177 hubset, an innovation that results in improved stiffness, durability, simplicity and versatility.

Zipp’s original 303 made history by becoming the first carbon wheelset to win cycling’s two most famous Cobbled Classics, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. The 303’s wider rim provided extra durability, and improved aerodynamics. That wider rim also led to the development of our revolutionary Firecrest® platform platform that further reduces aerodynamic drag while increasing crosswind stability. The 303 Firecrest is a go-to wheelset for the pros of Boels-Dolmans, AG2R LA MONDIALE, Axeon Cycling and others.

Now the cycle of innovation continues with the inclusion of the 77/177 hubset – best-in-class durability and improved bearing protection with no pre-load adjustment needed.

  • Optimized flange geometry and spoke hole attachment pattern with Sapim® CX Sprint spokes to optimize torsional and lateral stiffness and robustness.
  • Includes newly designed quick-release skewers with a wider more ergonomic handle to provide more leverage for opening and closing. When closed, lever contours neatly with the frame.
  • New robust hub platform with distinctive graphics.
  • For those looking for a wider gear range, or tackling especially extreme terrain, an XD driver body for 177 is sold separately and easily installed to allow for more cassette options including a 10-42. The hubset is designed to swap driver bodies without re-dishing the wheel.

The Firecrest shaping optimizes the aerodynamic profile of both the front half and the back half of the wheel. In addition, Firecrest moves the center of pressure of the wheel backwards, giving the 45mm-deep rim the crosswind stability a box-section rim. And because the 303 Firecrest’s 26.45mm-wide brake track (at center) has been optimized for wider tires, the ride quality is better than ever.

The new wheels retain all the small details that make Zipp wheels what they are. Exposed spoke nipples sit in the aerodynamic shadow of the rims, keeping serviceability simple without compromising speed.

Available in two decal options, the stealthy Matte Black or the distinctive Matte White decals. Each 303 Firecrest Tubular wheel comes with Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads, Zipp Integrated Valve Extender with valve-core wrench, and quick release.

Product note:

The wide profile of the 303 Firecrest is crucial to Zipp’s revolutionary Firecrest technology used to create wheels with superior aerodynamics as well as improved stability and handling.

The rear 303 Firecrest, however, may present some fitment issues for a small number of road and triathlon frames. The clearance between the chainstay and the rim may not be adequate to avoid contact between each other when ridden under load.

We urge customers who plan on riding the 303 Firecrest to test the wheel within the frame in which they intend to ride, under normal riding and road conditions, before purchasing. Clearance within individual frames of the same size, from the same manufacturer, may vary. That is why it is imperative that you test the wheel in your frame, or in the frame that you are considering purchasing.

Customers who run into this fitment issue may select any other spoked wheel within the Zipp lineup as an alternative, including the 404 Firecrest with its narrower aero-width profile.

Below is a list of known frames that may present this issue. This list will be updated if this fitment issue is discovered elsewhere.

  • 2012 Specialized Tarmac SL4
  • Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge


Front wheel: $900 / €950
Rear wheel:  $1,100 / €1,150

Set Weight 1390g
Max recommended rider weight 250lbs
Front Wheel
Weight 605g
Hub Used 77
Rim Depth 45mm
Brake Track Width (center) 26.45mm
Max Width 28.50mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Sprint
Spoke Count 18
Spoke Pattern Radial
Spoke Length 260mm
Track Adaptable No
Dimpled Surface Yes
Nipples Sapim®
External Nipples Yes
Rear Wheel
Weight 785g
Hub Used 177
Rim Depth 45mm
Brake Track Width (center) 26.45mm
Max Width 28.50mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Sprint
Spoke Count 24
Spoke Length Non-Drive 272mm
Spoke Pattern Non-Drive 2 cross
Spoke Pattern Drive 2 cross
Spoke Length Drive 270mm
11-speed compatible hub Yes
Track Adaptable No
Dimpled Surface Yes
Nipples Sapim®
External Nipples Yes
Engineered for the Classics  April 2013 [pdf]

"How do you build a cobble-proof bike?" That's the questioned posed by UK-based Pro Cycling Magazine in an article on cycling components specifically designed to withstand the punishment of the Spring Classics. Zipp's work on the 303 wheelset is featured. 

Click on PDF to read the article

303 Firecrest Tubular named high-end wheels of year  May 2012 [pdf]

Cyclocross Magazine Issue #16 celebrates the best of the season, with its Editors’ and Readers’ Awards. 

Zipp snagged the Editor's Choice Award for Best High-End Wheels. More for information about Cyclocross Magazine, please visit Click on PDF to see awards.

In a word, incredible  May 2012 [pdf]

The Racing Post of Texas reviewed the 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, concluding: "There was an immediate and noticeable difference. I didn’t have to look for it; my knees noticed on the first hill and my heart and legs were not far behind."

Full review posted here.

303 Firecrest called most versatile wheel set around  January 2012 [pdf]

Triathlon & Multi Sports magazine of Australia reviews the Firecrest® 303 Zipp®'s answer to the any wheel questions: "The 303s are still the standard of what a great all-round aero wheel set should be."

Cycle Sport magazine touts 303 Firecrest  January 2012 [pdf]

Cycle Sport magazine's Window Shop feature includes a summary of the 303 Firecrest wheelset. 

"PEZ-Tech: ZIPP 303 Tubular Wheels & Hubs"  June 2011 did a long-term and extensive review of the Zipp 303 wheelset.  Check it out here.

Spanish Website Reviews the Zipp 303  May 2010

Check out the review here reviews the Zipp 303  May 2010

… The new Zipp 303 is the best-performing carbon tubular we've tried to date and if you can only have one set of race wheels, this is it.

Click here for the full review. - Wrenched and Ridden  April 2010

303s get 10/10 in Cycling Weekly's  November 2009 [pdf]

Cycling Weekly has been riding the all new Zipp 303s.  Check out what they had to say....

If the 202 and 404 had a love child.  July 2009 [pdf]

Check out the all new 303 in the August 2009 issue of Road...

The Racing Post Reviews The All New Zipp 303 Wheelset  June 2009 [pdf]

Texas's The Racing Post had an opportunity to ride both the new 303 wheelset and the new 23mm Tangente tubular tire.  Check out the review!

Ciclismo Italy Reviews the New 303!  June 2009 [pdf]

New Zipp 303 "Classics" Road Wheelset  May 2009 2009 SEA OTTER CLASSIC COVERAGE: Zipp’s new 303 wheelset is “Ready for Anything” and was designed with the cobbles of classics like Paris-Roubaix in mind.

Despite being wider and taller, their weight is the same as the ‘08 303 wheelset, and Zipp claims they’re more aerodynamic!  Built on their ultralight 88 and 188 front and rear hubs (named for their weights), the entire wheelset weighs in at a svelte 1182g (529g F / 653g R).  The new hubs have 17mm axles with taller flanges, which improves the wheel’s stiffness.



Philip Booth of Road Bike Action gave the completely redesigned 303s a proper shakedown at SeaOtter. 

Even though the Zipp 303s are designed for the cobbles of the Northern Classics, our first impression is that they should not be overlooked as all around aero wheels. The 303s would be ideally suited to a fast century or high mileage rider looking for an aero wheel that is easy to control and smoothes out the road.

Click here to read more.

ABLC™  (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control)

Advanced Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) refers to the patented and instantly recognizable dimpled pattern found on all of our carbon rims. ABLC smoothes airflow across the rim's surface and is tailored to every model from the 202 to the Super-9 Disc. The third-generation of ABLC has up to four times more dimples than before.

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VCLC™  (Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control)

Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control (VCLC) uses a vibration-absorbing material sandwiched between layers of rigid carbon laminate in the rim. When the wheel receives an impact from the road, much of the shock is absorbed by the VCLC system, delivering a 10% reduction in vibration.

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Carbon Bridge™

Carbon Bridge uses a Kevlar® thread in a co-axial helix stitch to bind sheets of carbon to each other in our tubular rims. Because Kevlar is 350% more impact resistant than carbon, it can disperse shock more evenly throughout the carbon laminate, making for a rim that is practically bulletproof. In particular, Carbon Bridge reduces the vulnerability of the rim's tire bed, the area most susceptible to damage from impact.

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