Zipp's 30 Course Disc-brake Clinchers are a really good set of all-round wheels. They're solidly built without being over-heavy, they run true, they're easy to convert to tubeless and they come with all the axle fittings you're likely to need. They're certainly not cheap, so shop around to find the best deal.
Zipp has created a new rim for the 30 Course Disc, with a 21mm internal channel and a 25mm external profile. It's the first time Zipp has dipped its toes in the balmy waters of tubeless, and if my experience is anything to go by it's made a decent job of it. I've fitted a range of tyres to these rims – Bontrager CX3s, and Schwalbe Pro Ones and G-Ones – and all have gone up and stayed up fine. The only caveat is that the CX3s needed a couple of extra wraps of rim tape to persuade the tyre to mate with the rim in first inflation. After that, everything has been tickety-boo. You get tubeless valves thrown in as part of the package.
The 30 Course Discs have the same 77/177D hubset used in the more expensive 202 and 303 Firecrest Disc-brake wheelsets. They feature precision-set bearing preload and have run smoothly with no play at all throughout testing.
You get a chunky set of quick release levers and standard 9mm QR end caps fitted, and the wheels also come with end caps to convert to the most popular thru-axle standards: 100x15 and 100x12 at the front, and 135x12 and 142x12 at the back. That should cover you for the next few years. Changing the end caps is a no-tools job: just pull them off and stick the new ones on. They're all a nice tight fit with an O-ring seal to keep crud away from the cartridge bearings.
Linking the hubs and rims together are 24 straight-pull Sapim CX-Ray spokes laved in a two-cross pattern. The all-in weight of the wheels (with QR end caps and rim tape fitted) is a decent 1,630g.
I've put the Course 30 Discs through their paces over a wide range of riding, from road outings to lane bashing to cyclo-cross racing, and they've been excellent companions throughout. They're a very strongly built set of wheels for the weight, and only one thing (see below) I've ridden over or slammed into during a few months of testing has knocked them out of true.
They don't feel sluggish, either. They're not the lightest disc brake wheels out there but they're happy enough on a fast ride and they're well behaved and laterally stiff at all times.
They're comfy mostly because they invite some big-chambered tyres: a 21mm internal width isn't recommended for 25mm or 28mm tyres according to the ISO 5575 standards that govern this stuff, though I've run 28mm tyres on these Course 30s with no issues at all. They pair up best with bigger tyres, though.
Matching them with a set of 38mm Schwalbe G-Ones aboard my Tripster ATR gave me the most grins – ride-anywhere capability coupled with a genuinely fast feel on tarmac, and with 55-60psi in the chamber you can pretty much forget about potholes, or losing grip. Looking at my average ride speeds compared with a lighter road bike with 25mm tyres, the Tripster's not as quick on fast roads, but through the lanes with better grip and more confidence over dodgy surfaces, that performance gap effectively disappears.
For cyclo-cross they mean you can run tubeless tyres at a much lower pressure than you'd be safe with using tubes, as pinch flats aren't an issue. I did manage to put a fairly sizeable dent in one of the rims, though, hitting a big rock hidden in an even bigger puddle right at the start of a race. The tyre stayed up, although it did burp a bit of its air out, meaning I had to take corners pretty gingerly for the allotted hour. If it had been a tubed tyre and rim I'd probably still have dented it, and flatted the tyre too, ending my race after about 100 metres. So overall that's a positive. Some judicious use of the adjustable spanner got the rim back into shape, and though it's not quite perfect, with no rim brakes to remind you of that it's not really an issue.
Any downsides? I'd like to see a Center-lock option now that Shimano has released the standard for everyone to use. And they're £800 at rrp which, let's face it, is a lot of money for a set of alloy wheels. Even good ones. Shopping around reveals they can be picked up for £200 less than that, which is a more tempting price. Otherwise, the performance of the Course 30 Discs is excellent, and if you're buying them purely on that basis then you won't be disappointed. Most of us have to factor in the cost as well, sadly.
Excellent performance over a wide range of riding, but shop around for a good deal
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Make and model: Zipp 30 Course Disc-brake Clincher
Size tested: 700C
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Zipp says: "Zipp's 30 Course Disc-brake Clincher aluminum wheelset is as packed full of innovations as your best day on a bike was packed with euphoria. The 30 Course Disc-brake Clincher's durable wide rim profile offers enhanced aerodynamic efficiency as well as better comfort and cornering grip. This is a high-performance aluminum wheelset engineered to provide versatility for the new era of road cycling that includes disc-brake road applications but also cyclocross and gravel adventures, riding or racing."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
New Aluminum-Rim Technology
The 30 Course Clincher is Zipp's first wheelset to be tubeless-ready, providing the ability to run lower tire pressures without risk of pinch flats. The 30 Course Disc-brake wheelset, with its external 25mm rim width and 21mm internal width, incorporates design innovations from the Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher profile for low aerodynamic drag, greater stability and predictability in crosswinds. That wider rim platform allows for increased air volume, which spreads the tire casing. That helps increase the contact patch with the ground. The result is improved cornering grip and increased comfort on the road, mud and everything in between.
New Hub Technology With the 77/177D
Engineered for versatility, durability and simplicity. Same 77/177D hubset used in Zipp 202 and 303 Firecrest Disc-brake wheelsets.
Bearing preload precision set – that means no pre-load adjustment is needed.
Improved bearing protection and sealant.
Includes newly designed quick-release skewers with a wider more ergonomic handle to provide more leverage for opening and closing. When closed, lever contours neatly with the frame.
Thru-axle compatible. Comes with thru-axle end caps that can be swapped by hand:
- Front: 12x100mm & 15x100mm
- Rear: 12x135mm & 12x142mm
Proprietary flange geometry and spoke hole attachment pattern with Sapim® CX Ray® spokes to optimize torsional and lateral stiffness without sacrificing weight or robustness.
New distinctive hub graphics.
SRAM XD driver body for 177D available separately.
All this means the 30 Course Disc-brake is a multi-use wheelset that delivers speed, stability, comfort and the superior power and modulation of disc braking over any terrain.
Each wheel includes Zipp thru-axle end caps; 1 Zipp skewer; 1 Zipp rim tape 700c X 20mm 1 Zipp tubeless valve and 1.85mm spacer for use with 10-speed cassettes. The 30 Course Disc-brake Clincher rear wheel comes with a standard 10/11 speed driver body for SRAM®/Shimano® or for Campagnolo®.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they're well-specced and solid disc brake wheels that are strong without being over-heavy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good all-round performance, and they seal well for tubeless.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
On the pricey side, and I'd like a Center-lock disc option.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, I'd shop around though.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
On pure performance they're certainly worth an 8, maybe even scraping a 9, but the price knocks them down a peg or two. Shop around and you can find them at 25 per cent less than rrp.
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 189cm Weight: 92kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.