Zipp has unveiled new 202 and 303 Firecrest Disc wheels with thru-axle compatible hubs, future proofing the wheels for the switch from quick release to bolt-thru axles that some think is the future of disc-equipped road bikes.
Zipp has been offering disc wheelsets for while, and these newly launched wheels use the same rims, but with a redesigned hub. The new 77 and 177D hub, used on the latest 202 Firecrest clincher and 303 Firecrest clincher and tubular wheels, features interchangeable end caps that can convert the hubs from accepting regular quick release axles or thru-axles.
The front hub is compatible with 12x100mm and 15x100mm axles, the rear 12x135mm and 12x142mm axles. Those thru-axle standards are commonplace in the mountain bike world and of the few road bikes with thru-axles we’ve yet seen, most are adopting those standards. There are some rumours that the road industry might move to a smaller diameter thru-axle standard, to save weight, as a road bike isn’t subjected to the same stresses and demands as a mountain bike.
Visually the hubs are very different. They have a new “proprietary flange geometry and spoke hole attachment” that the company reckons optimises torsional and lateral stiffness, without increasing weight. The new hubs should be easy to spot as they feature ‘distinctive hub graphics.’ The hubs stick with the same 6-bolt rotor mounting system as the previous Zipp disc wheels, no sign of a Centrelock option.
The new hubs also have the bearing preload set at the factory, so there’s no adjustment necessary by the consumer. This is said to offer improved bearing protection. Zipp has also taken this opportunity to redesign the quick release skewers, now featuring a wider handle that should be more ergonomic and provide extra leverage.
A SRAM XD driver body is available for the rear hub, should you want to adopt SRAM’s 1x11 drivetrain on a road or, more likely, gravel or ‘cross bike.
The 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc wheelset weighs in at a claimed 1,495g and features a 32mm deep rim with a 25.4mm width, with 24 spokes in each wheel. The set will cost £1,825 and is available now.
The 303 Firecrest Disc wheelset is available in clincher or tubular versions. The clincher version weighs a claimed 1,645g - which SRAM claims is 35g lighter than the previous version - and uses a 45mm deep rim with a 28.5mm wide rime, and 24 spokes in both wheels. It costs £1,825.
The 303 Firecrest tubular wheelset tips the scales to just 1,400g with the same rim profile and spoke count. It’ll cost £1,750.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.