Zipp 303 Tubular/Clincher wheels

zipp 303 tubular1 Zipp 303 Tubular/Clincher wheelsZipp 303s weigh in at an impressive 1171g (tubular) 1623g (clincher). They are marketed by Zipp as a wheelset that is a great all-rounder, and that is an assessment we would have to agree.

Testing the Zipp 303s

We tested these wheels on a road bike and on a cyclocross bike. The 303 also comes in a cyclocross version, with a higher spoke count to add a little more strength for the more varied terrain of a cyclocross race. The first thing we noticed about Zipp 303s is how well they accelerate. With such a low rotational weight, coming out of corners, and 180 degree turns, we were able to accelerate away with ease. In addition, the toroidal profile of the rim adds stiffness and vertical compliance to the wheel so that there was no flex at all when our test rider got out of the saddle and laid down the power on some short, steep ascents and in the sprint for the finish line. In addition, the redesigned wheel bed held up very well, and kept its promise of preventing pinch flats. The vertical compliance of the wheel also meant that our rider didn’t feel too beaten up at the end of the race, as the wheelset absorbed the impact of roots, and bumpy terrain extremely well.

Impressions

However, the Zipp 303 is much more than a cyclocross wheel. It has also been used in pro cycling to win stages of the Tour de France, and makes regular appearances in a wide variety of other cycling and multisport events. Climbing on the 303 is a true pleasure. It is not only an extremely light wheel, but has great stiffness, and feels very responsive under power. The 303’s relatively low profile rim also comes into its own when it begins to get a little windy, and this is where it holds a significant advantage over wheels with a larger rim profile. If you are into riding up and down mountain passes, this could well be the ideal wheelset for you.

Zipp 303s For Racing

The Zipp 303 is a good choice for triathlon, and may be particularly useful on windier courses, or in draft legal races which are more similar to cycling road races. All in all the Zipp 303 is an extremely versatile wheel suitable for a variety of uses. It is perhaps most at home on a hilly stage race, but would also be an excellent wheel in windy conditions, and it is also a wheel that you can use during the cyclocross season. The 303 is definitely a wheel worth having as part of your competition arsenal!

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