Zipp 101 Wheelset Review
The Zipp 101 are the entry point to the Zipp wheelset stable. But don’t let that fool you into thinking these aren’t every bit as worthy of the Zipp name as their other, higher priced wheelsets.
The Zipp 101 wheelset gives you everything you would expect from Zipp’s American-made technology, just in a shallower profile. The 101 still has 30mm of rim, and even though it isn’t the stereotypical Zipp wheelset canvas of something like the 404 or even the 808, you will find some innovative technology applied to this wheelset. First of all, these aluminum rims aren’t your usual v-section shape – these rims are curved, and that arc dips right into the braking surface. Why? Well, how about saving 42 seconds off a 40K time in the wind tunnel off a top end v-shape wheelset? The curved design gives the rim a slightly wider profile, which smooths airflow over the rim, and at the same time reduces pinch flatting, and bets of all, gives this wheelset more stiffness and stability than other shallow-profile aluminum rims. The wide profile is for clinchers only, but by changing the v-shape for a curved profile Zipp is able to keep the weight down to an impressive 1523 grams per wheelset.
This is not a cheap wheelset, even for being Zipp’s entry level model. With a RRP of $1300, this is an expensive option for a supposed ‘entry-level’ wheelset, so I had high expectations for it. I was not disappointed. They rolled beautifully, and climbed sweetly. Turn up a steady incline and it almost feels like the wheels are reaching out for the hill and taking you up it. But really, for this kind of money, I’d expect nothing less from my wheelset, and nothing less from Zipp.
On descents, the wide profile gave a noticeable improvement in stability over other lightweight aluminum wheels, and over bumps and cobbles the wheels stayed on course. Unlike Zipp’s deep section models, this wheel cut neatly through cross winds, and I have to say it is one of the sweetest multi-purpose wheelsets around.
This is a superb wheelset – light, stable, and sturdy, but you get what you pay for. If you are looking for training wheels or entry level road race wheels, chances are you will want to spend less than this on your wheelset. But if you can afford only one set of wheels to race and train, and you think you deserve the very best, you won’t go wrong with the Zipp 101 wheelset.
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