ZIPP 202 FIRECREST TUBULAR DISC-BRAKE WHEELSET
People have been asking Zipp for a Firecrest Tubular 202 for years. They finally found a design that works with the Firecrest principles and Zipp standards. And it is only available in a Disc Brake wheelset.
Yes, it’s light. 1330g for the set: 615g in the front, 715g in the back. And yes, it’s strong. Zipp tells us it’s the most durable carbon tubular wheelset in their quiver. This is thanks to the freedom that disc-braking gave them in designing the rim. You’ll notice that there’s no brake track: the ABLC dimples extend all the way up the sides. Basically, without needing to reinforce a brake track, they were able to move material around to make the rim vertically stiffer.
And, yes, it’s aero. That’s the point of Firecrest. They pair the 202 rim depth of 32mm with an extended rim width of 25.4mm. The width helps create a much less dramatic transition for the air going from tire to rim and rim to tire. And the dimple pattern creates specific air disturbances to enhance airflow and reduce side loads.
The wide rim provides a second benefit. A deeper channel for the tire to sit in. This increases surface area for gluing and/or taping. And it supports more of the tire, so there’s less chance of it “folding” when turning hard while riding low pressures common for cross.
Zipp employs their 77/177D hub set, which was purpose-built for disc braking. There are 24 aero Sapim CX-Ray spokes, both front and rear. A cross pattern is necessary in front to counter the forces of braking. The flanges are slightly taller to work around the six-hole rotor mounts and the 17mm axle. While you can see that the spokes have a two-cross pattern, it actually possesses the lateral stiffness of a three-cross thanks to the size of the flanges and the orientation of the spokes. The benefits of the design are more aero and shorter spokes.
For rear wheels, Zipp offers both a Campagnolo-compatible, and Shimano/SRAM-compatible cassette body. The latter comes with a spacer for 9/10/11-speed cassettes. In both cases, the 177D hub body allows you to install a SRAM XDR Driver body for super-wide range gearing.
The wheel comes with quick release, endcaps to convert the hub for thru-axle use (endcaps are hand swappable), and valve extender.
The Zipp 202 Firecrest Tubular Disc Brake wheelset is light, aero, and tough enough for the roughest cyclocross, or gravel racing, has to offer.