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Back 2019-05-09

New on Zippcast: Tech Deep Dive Into 3ZERO MOTO

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Our “Zippcast” podcast is back with a tech focus. In this episode, we talk with Zipp Advanced Design Engineer Ruan Trouw and SRAM Technical Ambassador Micah Van Horn about the new Zipp 3ZERO MOTO enduo wheel. This podcast comes to you from our Indianapolis factory, where the 3ZERO was developed, tested and is being manufacturing. Here are edited excerpts:

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What was the vision the 3ZERO MOTO Wheel?

Ruan Trouw

“Zipp has been known for a lot of road development, and we felt it was time for us to get back into the mountain bike segment. Over the last few years we’ve found a new concept that we believe truly can change how people ride mountain bikes. The 3ZERO MOTO is very different from what has been on the market. The 3ZERO MOTO is a trail/enduro wheel that changes how a rider would typically look at a trail. Riders want to pick fast lines, but in order to stay on those fast lines they have to stay in control. Also, if you pick some of those faster lines, you need your equipment to be dependable and also to be predictable. The 3ZERO excels in all of these categories.

Indiana doesn’t have mountains. Where were some of the places you test rode the 3ZERO MOTO?

Micah Van Horn

“I’ve spent a lot of time down in Tennessee at Windrock at the bike park. It’s a pretty steep mountain and really rocky, so there’s a lot of good high speed impacts. As the wheels have progressed over the couple of years we’ve been doing this it’s really impressive where we’ve been able to go with this and how durable they are.

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What is it like to ride the 3ZERO MOTO?

Micah Van Horn

“I was really impressed with how hard you can just come in with square-edge hits with these wheels and how smooth it really translates to the ride. Especially on a heavy trail/enduro bike, it also feels like you have 10 to 15 more millimeters of travel on your bike. That’s how much smoother the trail ends up being. Talking about reducing pinch flats, I’ve never had one on this set so far, which is pretty impressive. Every now and again on a set of aluminum wheels you’ll pinch flat. Even if you’re running one of those tire inserts, sometimes there’s such a square sharp edge that it punctures the tire once it contacts to that insert. The compliance of the wheel and how it conforms to the terrain, you don’t feel like you have to drag brake to maintain traction going into corners.

What role did looking to motorsports play in the development of the 3ZERO MOTO?

Ruan Trouw

“We had an advanced development engineer who looked to creating a single wall rim. He was inspired by motorsports as well. This time it wasn’t cars and wind tunnels, it was motorcycles. He noticed that a lot of motorcycles have a single-wall concept for their wheels, and he wanted to dive deeper and find out why.”

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What is “Ankle Compliance”? How did the single-wall design allow a different approach to optimizing wheel stiffness?

Ruan Trouw

“There is a pretty big misconception in the industry that stiffer is better. There are definitely stiffnesses that the higher they get in certain directions, the better it is for the rider. Having lateral stiffness is one, because when you ride into a berm really hard or you plant into a corner, your wheel is going to do what you want it to do. The same for torsional stiffness. If you put power down, you want that wheel to be responsive. If you make contact with an obstacle or if you land really hard, you don’t necessarily want all of that stiffness. It’s like riding a hardtail instead of a full suspension bike. There’s big advantages to having a little compliance. The single wall rim allowed us to go beyond what box sections can do and actually experiment with different compliances in different directions and test with athletes to find what riders really want.

“One thing that came out of this is ‘ankle compliance.’ It’s a term that we coined mainly because we feel it best describes the movement of the rim. If you think about an athlete running around a corner, the athlete himself is actually leaning toward the inside, but his foot is not. His foot is staying parallel to the ground for the best traction and to transfer the energy to the flood. In motorcycle riding, you tend to have the same effect…. Motorcycle wheels tend to have single-wall designs because it allows that rim to flex, one when they’re hitting obstacles, rock gardens, and, two, just to for hard cornering. We tried to get the exact same effect in our moto bicycles wheels.”

Watch for more cycling and technology focused ZippCasts.

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