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ZIPP 303 the best all around carbon wheels?(11 posts)

ZIPP 303 the best all around carbon wheels?lightklein
Oct 27, 2001 7:29 AM
I am a cat 3, 150 pnds and looking for a carbon wheelset not exceed $1200. I will use them for about 700 miles of road racing per year. I was thinking about a ZIPP 303. They must be sewups. Nimbles are heavier. Corimas are more $ and require special pads. Bontragers are too new and $1350. HED Alpine are heavier and untested. Lews I have heard of spoke breakage. I see alot of ZIPPS at races and everyone says they are great. Any thoughts?
Personally, I'm going with the deeper section 404'sJS
Oct 28, 2001 9:32 PM
I've read alot of very enlightening things about wheel aerodynamics recently and have come to the conclusion that a deep section wheel while being a little heavier is definitley the way to go. The rule is, it isn't really aero until it's deeper than 50mm. The one caveat is funky handling in crosswinds, oh well. Check the tech section for a cool study on wheel aerodynamics.
So would I...Wayne
Oct 29, 2001 7:36 AM
I also have been doing some checking up on this, and I agree most of what I've read seems to indicate that aerodynamics are far more important than weight. Seems like wheels like the 303 are light but their rim profile isn't deep enough to offer any real aero benefits. If I didn't have an old pair of Cosmic Carbones I'd go with the 404's, as it is I think I'm going to ride the Carbones (which aren't very light) as opposed to the Rolf Sestrieres that came with my bike. Maybe use the Sestreires for very hilly races, but even than the Carbones may actually be "faster".
From what I've read I think a wheel like the 404 which is very aero, and moderately light is faster than a very light but only moderately aero (if the 303 even qualifies as moderately aero) and probably significantly faster then a light wheel with no aero advantage.
It depends...cyclomoteur
Oct 29, 2001 2:05 PM
It depends on what kinda a course you want to do; there is no "all around" wheelset: If you are in competition you don't have a "all around" wheelset, you have a wheelset for each kind of events. If you are a amateur you don't need spend 800 just for joy of riding a +.5kph ave. wheelset .


If you think you can really do "something" out of you in cycling competition : buy one very light wheelset for climbing (american classic carbon = 1100g,38mm rim), one very stiff for crits (mavic ksyrium, campa eurus, rolf pro), a super-aero one for TT (nimbles, cosmic carbone, campa...everyone does these).

Even then I would tell you that it depends what "position" you are in the team or has a independant.

Choose wisely though because wheelsetSSS will be VERY expensive...

By the way I DON'T like the 303's : not that stiff, medium aero BUT not Rolf Pro's stiffness.
It depends...Wayne
Oct 30, 2001 6:34 AM
I like the Cosmic Carbones not only because of their good aerodynmics but also because I find them to be incredibly stiff. But one of the "expert" analysis I read said that unless your wheels flex to the point of rubbing the brake pads that stiffness is inconsequential when determining a wheel's performance advantages. But like I said, I like the feel of a stiff wheel, even if in reality it isn't any better than a flexy one.
It depends...cyclomoteur
Oct 30, 2001 5:30 PM
That "expert" you were talking about; do he really knows what he was talking about ???

Because is what you are saying about stiffness is true, it might change my mind for my future choice of a new wheelset !

I like a ultrastiff bike (wheels,bars,stem,...) because I though my accelaration was indeed faster, that I wasn't losing strengh in the tortion of elements...

I'm using Rolf Comps with (about) 100kg on each rear spoke, 80 front. Very stiff BUT very heavy.
I'd like to see my Trek go bellow 20lbs (look aluminium bloc pedals, XC 250g stem, shim carbon sole shoes...) I know it's very heavy but I have a rock-like bike (ULTRA-STIff)

I was seaching for a wheelset that would cut weight and could kept the same stiffness.

If what the "expert" has said is true, I have spend 100$'s for nothing (...sniff...)

Yes, maybeo2bmerckx
Oct 30, 2001 8:30 PM
the 303's are the best carbon wheels, except for the 404's which are the best carbon wheels. Zipp makes the carbon rims for the American Classic Carbone wheels, Velomax Carbon, also for Fir Antara and Antara clincher, and surely a few others.

I bought mine from John Cobb who told me the 303's were 'more aero than you would think' and he was certainly right. The real aero benefit probably starts at 30mm, but John says that the 303's are better than most 45mm deep rims particularly referencing the Lew rims which were my first choice, which are what the Bontrager rims are copied from, but he sold me on Zipp who certainly seems to do their homework. Mine are plenty stiff and I weigh 165lbs, have 3000+ miles training and racing with no problems, and according to John are worth over a minute in a 40k over Ksyriums which were my third choice, and I would have to agree with him.

To do all over again I would get 404's. I rode on a friends pair and they are only 100gms heavier for the pair, slightly stiffer laterally, but have a very nice ride nicer than any wheels Ive ever ridden probably, also they are even more aero than the 303's which makes them miles better than most anything else out there.

If I had to do it all over again I would buy either one, but probably the 404 in a heartbeat, good luck
re: ZIPP 303 the best all around carbon wheels?mackgoo
Oct 31, 2001 5:43 AM
Your choice really depends on what kind of riding you plan on doing. People keep bringing up the 404's which are excellent wheels, I have an old pair of 440's and love them, they truely appear to be bullet proof. That said in sever cross winds they can feel pretty hairy on occasion, windy decents the same thing. I've ridden in 20-25 mph winds so far and haven't gotten to the point where I feel like I don't want to go out. But for this reason I am contemplating a switch to a less deep section such as the 303's this winter.
re: ZIPP 303 the best all around carbon wheels?mackgoo
Oct 31, 2001 5:55 AM
Just thought I'd pass this on. There are alot of Zipps for sale in the "market place' might be worth checking out.
re: ZIPP 303 the best all around carbon wheels?James
Oct 31, 2001 3:50 PM
It doesn't seem to make sense to buy the 404's over the 303's since they are more expensive and heavier, with only minor advantages in stiffness and aerodynamics. If you are doing lots of group riding/racing the reduced handling of the 404's would almost be enough not to get them.

Also why are people so intent on the Ksyriums, they are heavy(for race wheels), pricey, and use non standard spokes

my 2cents
Weight vs. AerodynamicsWayne
Nov 1, 2001 7:15 AM
Well, I think one of the issues is whether there is little aero difference between 303 and 404's. Seems from what I've read until you get above about 50mm of rim you don't really see much aero advantage, so mid-range rims like the 303 really aren't much more aero than standard box rims, but deep-V rims do offer significant aero advantages. Of course, the other poster said J. Cobb found the 303 to be surprisingly aero, maybe he has the drag difference between the 303 and 404's? I guess it's a question of whether the 100 or so less grams is more significant than the increased aero advantage of the 404 rims. Also, read that bladed spokes are pretty inconsequential to aerodynamics that it's almost all in the rim depth.