Zipp 302s in All Kinds of Weather

When your tire is double there’s combined it’s great for all the adventure you can imagine, but in a roadie group I find it better to run a set of 28-32s.

As sold as I am on wider tires—my friends are sick of the topic—the roll out difference makes it not so easy to match pace and, you know, catch up with each other about current topics.

Also, so into the drop-bar capabilities of my brown bike,  I just hadn’t spent that much time on the road riding with roadies.

This fall I reconnected with the bros and Zipp sent me a pair of their 302s. And, here’s what you need to know about this wheelset:

  •  $1500 for a carbon clincher wheelset with US made rims
  • Same resin as used in Firecrest and NSW rims, with a track record of no-heat related failures
  • Only a few watts slower than 303 Firecrest
  • Same internals as Firecrest hubs, but in a less expensive shell

The 4th bullet is key for those looking for value from a premium brand. I think if there was a rig where I could ride a sequence of wheelsets without knowing the model, I’d likely notice little to any difference between the 303 Firecrests and the 302s. The 303s cost $600 more.

A racer sure wants the extra watt saving, I get that, but if you wanna great set of wheels for less, I recommend these and first learned about them earlier this year at PressCamp.

Running the Tangente Course R30s they’ll likely fit into your bike too; at least the 25s or maybe 23s if you’re old school, and your whip was made back when bike makers didn’t leave much room for a tire at the bottom bracket.

One thing wheel manufacturers could do, I’m not sure how they’d quantify it other than “sounds cool,” is market the noise fast wheels make.

That oscillating whoosh and, again, these sound just like the dimpled Firecrest. Based on the winning wheels of the Spring Classics, the 302s are 45mm deep with an Indianapolis-made carbon rim, optimized for low aerodynamic drag and precise handling in all riding conditions.

Zipp isn’t exaggerating about the characteristics of this wheel, especially at that price. I rode last weekend in another record-setting rain storm and they tracked true in slippery gusty conditions.

The 302’s smooth carbon rim (as opposed to dimples) is hand assembled to Zipp’s new 76D/176D using Belgian CX-Sprint spokes and brass spoke nipples to build a wheel that is both fast and reliable—tough enough to survive the Spring Classics or the road less travelled, yet light enough to tackle the steepest grades.

Here’s a short video from a much sunnier ride.

Sunny out.

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The set of 302s I’m riding are disc and clincher—not tubeless—and the claimed weight is 1695g. To compare, the WTB Horizons with Stan’s I also run weigh about 2342 grams. And the Zipps with tires are 2307, just a few grams difference.

Zipp does offer the 302 in rim brakes too.

Pair the 302s with the Zipp tires like I did and you’re set. The tires will remind you of the old Vittoria, before they were bought out by another company and are some of the best tires for the Pacific Northwest roads.

Fast, durable, and a good deal is what we want around here: in rims and tires. Hopefully on more sunny days with roadies.

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