Zipp 202 Wheelset Review

zipp 202 300x203 Zipp 202 Wheelset ReviewThe Zipp 202 wheelset may be known to many as a climbing wheelset. But to put these wheels in such a pigeon hole without considering the broader capabilities of the 202 would be to do this highly versatile wheelset a disservice.

To begin with, the 202 is an exceptional climbing wheel. It is notably light, tipping the scale at a mere 1081g. The hubs are Zipp’s own 88/188, and they are laced to the rim with the tried and trusted Zipp staples, Sapim X-Ray spokes with aluminum nipples. The result is a highly stiff wheel that runs on buttery smooth hubs.

Test Rides

I have had good experiences with Zipp hubs in the past, and the latest incarnation did not disappoint. I found the lightness and responsiveness of the Zipp 202 to be especially beneficial on hilly courses during the summer road season. The wheel set climbs beautifully and is stiff enough to respond very well when power is applied. But the 202 also descends very well and is strong enough to withstand the lumps and bumps of most roads. Also, and perhaps surprisingly, the 202 is an excellent wheel in the break. With an increased rim depth of 32mm, the 202 has significant aerodynamic advantage over more conventionally designed wheels without giving up any weight penalty.

Our period of testing also took the 202 into the ‘cross season, and while I enjoyed racing them in the road season, it is in the winter time, off the road that this wheelset really comes into its own. Zipp have created a lightweight wheelset with some really great attributes for cross. It has an almost ideal profile for cutting through mud and sand. With the hubs performing at their best, the 202s seem to float through the driest, trickiest and deeper sand sections. Stiff and lightweight, the 202 responds very well under acceleration, be it at the bottom of a steep descent, or coming out of a tight 180 turn. Once again the 202 rolled beautifully on the flatter sections feeling fast and smooth before the technical stuff got underway. And the 202 profile seems ideally suited to hosting a ‘cross tubular (the 202 only comes in a tubular version) - it cornered as well as any wheel I have raced ‘cross on.

Zipp 202 Conclusion

These wheels are great for powering up climbs, or for the longer alpine style slogs, as well as performing well in the break, and stiff enough to withstand the sprint at the end.

All in all, the 202 is an exceptional wheel. Far from being just a climbing wheel, the 202 is at home in almost any style of competitive riding.

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