If you’re looking for flat-out speed on your disc-brake road, time trial, or triathlon bike, the Zipp 808 Firecrest Disc Tubeless Clincher is the schizzle. It is wickedly fast, stable in crosswinds, and light.
The depth is such that it’s like riding double discs, just so much easier. They accelerate better, handle road vibrations and potholes better, and don’t get pushed around in the wind nearly as much. They’re light enough to race on the road, and the aerodynamics are so impressive that triathletes and time trialists needn’t look for disc wheels. Some folks who race against the clock might want to pair an 808 front with a disc rear for the ultimate in speed, or a 808 rear with a 404 front to deal with crosswinds. But no matter how you choose to ride them, these are speedy. The rim is more than tough enough for off road use, but Zipp’s stated intentions was to maximize speed on the road.
The blunt-edged rim shape, which Zipp embraced with the Firecrest line, is markedly better than old-school NACA-inspired airfoils. First, the wider shape works better with wider tires. Second, the blunt edge, when paired with Zipp’s dimples, makes the shape less susceptible to being pushed around in crosswinds.
This Firecrest 808, which is similar, but not identical, to the rim brake version. The shape and layup has been tweaked to work better with not only disc brakes, but also wider tires. First, Zipp moved material around, because they didn’t need the brake track any longer. Second, they advanced their ABLC dimples all the way up the rim’s sides. Third, they tweaked the shape of the rim to work with even wider tires. The depth remains 82mm, the 808 standard. But the width has been narrowed slightly, to 26.4mm from 27.5mm. And the internal width has been widened slightly to 19mm. That depth means you don’t want to run a tire narrower than 23mm, and, if you want it to perform best in the wind, you’ll go with 25mm wide tires. Wider works as well, though not as aerodynamic.
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. The rotor mounting method is six-bolt.
The front wheel weighs in at 950g, the rear 1025g. Maximum recommended tire pressure is 125psi, which should be overkill for any tire you’d want to install on this wheel. Maximum recommended rider weight is 250lbs.
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 releases and endcaps to convert the hub for thru-axle or quick-release use. The included endcaps can convert the front wheel from 100x12mm to 100x15mm to quick release. The rear has endcaps for 142x12mm and quick release. They also include a spacer to convert the cassette body from eleven-speed to ten-speed. Also included are: rim strip and a tubeless valve, both installed at the factory, and a valve core removal tool.
The Zipp 808 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake wheelset is for speed, first, and foremost.