's Forum Archives - Components

Archive Home >> Components(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 )

Wheel Upgrade maybe to Zipp 303's(4 posts)

Wheel Upgrade maybe to Zipp 303'sDannyBoy
Apr 17, 2002 4:33 PM
I currently ride Open Pro's on Chorus hubs, about 1,800g the pair.

I want a set of wheels for racing, be it 25m TT's, short Crit's, endurance events, courses might be flat, some might be very hilly - an all rounder that'll improve on my trusty open pro's.

I gather wheel weight is very important, especially at the rim, but so is aerodynamics do I aim for less weight, or more aero or a compromise??

I've been looking at all sorts or wheels and to me the Zipp 303's seem a good alrounder with a weight of 1380g the pair and a deep'ish 40mm aero rim and lower spoke count.Anyone ridden them?

What alternatives do I have. Hed Jet 40's and Bontrager x-lite Carbons seem very similar (jet being at least 300g heavier). Ksyrium's don't look like they'd offer much of an advantage over my Pro's.

Things like Zipp's 404 or Hed Alps offer even more aero benefit, but at a weight penalty, which could be relevant as it's fairly hilly where I ride.

As I don't have regular internet access I've not really had a chance to compare cost, but assume apart from the Mavics they'll all be quite similar?
re: Wheel Upgrade maybe to Zipp 303'sMGS
Apr 17, 2002 4:43 PM
I went through this dilemma about two months ago. You don't state if you are going with clinchers or tubulars, so my reply is based on clinchers.

Although the 303's are lighter, the weight difference is only 100 grams a wheel. The 404's are still lighter than most non-aero clinchers,plus you get the advantage of a true aero wheel.

Additionally, people who have ridden both the 303 and 404 marvel at the riding comfort of the 404,(fewer spokes, more lateral stiffness, more resiliency.)

For what it's worth, the 303 clincher has not passed the road crash test required for racing. People claim that the rim was too strong, causing the spokes to fail first and pull from the rim, resulting in test failure. For whatever reason, the mechanism of failure of the 303 does not allow it to be certified in racing.

All in all, I went with the 404. Aero testing shows that considering weight and aerodynamics, an aerodynamic wheel will outperform a lighter wheel, unless the wheel is being used in a constant 3% climb during the ride.

I can't remember where I found this fact. Perhaps someone else can post the source.

Hope this helps.
re: Wheel Upgrade maybe to Zipp 303'sThoth2
Apr 18, 2002 11:34 AM
No, it doesn't matter what the gradient is for an aero wheel to perform better than a "climbing wheel," i.e. anything that's lighter. What matters is speed. What you're looking for is the point at which the aero advantage is overtaken by the increased effort to move a heavier wheel up a gradient. Weight means more at lower speeds than aerodynamics, but you'd be surprised, even a relatively slow speeds, aero wheels tend to be better. There's a very good review of these concepts at I love that site!
I really like my 303'sRideLots
Apr 18, 2002 12:38 PM
I have some 303 tubulars and a new set of 2002 303 clinchers. I think the wheels are fantastic. The clinchers give you that much better aluminum braking area, don't have to mess with tubulars, and are still really darn light and medium-aero. I probably have about 2,000 miles on a set.

If you get the 404's, I'd go with tubulars. They are full out race wheels, anyway. They are about 100 grams per rim heavier than the 303's, though, at least in clincher.

None of them are cheap. Expect at least $1000 per set.