Looking for Zipp clincher feedback, please

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by lokstah, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Hello; this is my verrrrrrrry first post here.

    I've got a Zipp question. I've read all of the horror stories about the '02 and earlier versions of the Zipp 303 and 404 clinchers -- the rims warp, overheat too easily, flare outward over time, fall apart, etc.

    Zipp is very outspoken about the fact that they've overhauled and redesigned their clinchers for '03; from what I understand, they're considerably beefier (which means they're also a touch heavier).

    With all the feedback out there about how unreliable the earlier versions could be, I've found precious little about the re-designed Zipps. Anyone been riding '03 Zipp clinchers?
     
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  2. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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  3. mtndog

    mtndog New Member

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    I don't own them but two of my teammates race on them and love them. "The best wheels I've ever owned." Even after one guy found a small crack in the carbon next to the spoke. The crack hasn't grown and he doesn't seem worried. I tried his bike with wheels briefly and they spin up really fast! Noticeably stiffer, transfer energy to the road really well. This teammate is 57 and beats me in races---I'm 37 and quite competitive. Is it the wheels? probably not, but they don't hurt him either.
     
  4. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Thanks for the reply, Mtndog. Good to know.

    Everyone loves Zipp tubulars, but before this year, no one had anything but the nastiest stories about Zipp clinchers. In an effort to make them zippy, it seems, they were designed with rims and braking surfaces that were, in essence, too light and weak. Folks would notice that under stress, heat from braking would lead to all sorts of creepy failures... like the softened clincher rim edge flaring out with tire pressure, or the seam on the breaking surface expanding or pulling apart. Spokes would pull through the rim... all kinds of scary crap. People seemed to concede that they were very fast like the tubulars, but completely unreliable.

    And then Zipp re-launched them (50g heavier) in '03, with re-designed rims; I've heard only a few testimonials about the new ones, but they've all been positive so far. I've got access to some excellent pricing and the new 303s are on my list.
     
  5. blip

    blip New Member

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    I have a set of Zipp 303 tubulars and they are fast and great wheels. Why would you spend all that money on lightweight wheels to have tubes and race tires on them? Surely your wheels are for racing only and if so for your hard earned coins why not get the real deal? Just a thought as I think that for the money Zipp clinchers are probably not the best wheels out there, the tubulars, well if they are not the best then good luck with whomever has the best.
     
  6. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    :)

    A valid observation. I'll admit without too much shame that I'm one of those goons who's committing high-end material to a bike that serves as an ethusiast's hotrod, and not a racing machine. I don't race, but I love bikes, I love to go really fast, and I love the gadgetry.

    A few things to consider in my defense: I'm currently transitioning from a single mid-range road bike to an every-day beater/trainer (an RSX100-Ultegra-105-Ritchey combo drivetrain on a cheap steel frame, assembled for less than $300) and a weekend gem; I came into a very nice frame in a custom paint job that I want to use when I put on the company jersey and the clean socks. There's sentimental value to this frame; I want the bike to something special.

    It's like the fancy car in the garage, ya know? I'll probably ride it once or twice a week.

    The other point is that I've got access to some very nice pricing... a few choice connections. TRUST ME -- because I'm not racing right now, I wouldn't be considering high-performance race wheels for this build unless I could do so with enthusiast-level resources. Fate is smiling, and I'm trying to wink back.

    The Zipps aren't the only wheels I'm considering, but they're up there on the list. Anyways, thanks for the feedback! I appreciate it.
     
  7. Feanor

    Feanor New Member

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    Finally! A post that I would bet my life on as being absolutely genuine! *laughing*

    I'm one of those "could have been as well served by something far less expensive" type riders :) I work hard at cycling and am honestly trying to get much better as efficiently as I can, but I love the whizbang gadgetry and the exotic materials as well... and I have as much fun working on the bike in the garage as I do riding it... I'm even canvasing the street offering to fix that notchy sounding shifting on one kid's bike, or the dragging brakes on another!

    I find, at least for me, that riding a top end bike is far less about the "look at me!" factor as say, a fancy car would be... I would think for most, the connection is far more personal between rider and machine... Gods be damned what other people think, when I look down and see what I'm riding _I_ feel good about it! :) and it makes _ME_ feel satisfied that when I push on the pedals, alot of quality engineering, materials and knowledge is at work to get that energy to move me forward, not end up getting absorbed by flexy cranks, and creaky bottom brackets.

    If logic was king, pro racers would be on 40 pound beach cruisers and wheezing amateurs like me would be on the Colnago C-40's because _I_ need it to make it up that hill and they don't! *laughing*

    I've been looking at the Zipp 404's and also at the HED alps and Mavic SSC SL's etc... in the realm of top end wheels things get a little more tricky, since you are looking for wheels that give great performance while still being sturdy. Pro's toss their wheelsets after each stage, so infinite durability might not be the top priority in pure race wheels... Makes me think sometimes that maybe dropping one step off the top would grant significant benefit in durability without giving up alot in the whiz bang factor... i.e. going with Bontrager Race Lites instead of Race X lites or going Kysrium Elites instead of SSC SLs or Cosmic Carbones...

    Just a thought...

    Feanor
     
  8. BaCardi

    BaCardi New Member

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    The bearings in the Zipp hubs are TOTAL crap! Beware!
     
  9. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    BaCardi, I stand so advised... thanks for the tip...

    Feanor, we stand united in honesty. There are too many folks who've turned cycling into this most practical of hobbies. Understandable, I suppose, because bike gear can be so damn pricey, but let's be honest... 90% of the avid racers in the country rarely make a dime off of their gear investments. From weekend cruiser boy to the disc-wheel pumping velodrome time trialist, bikes are a hobby. No one gives my old college buddy crap for the '69 Vette he labored over and re-invented as a fine-tuned performance monster.

    You're completely right about wheels being one of the trickier upgrade options, precisely for the durability factor. I got really excited by each of the sexy, superlight sub-$1000 wheels unleashed this year and last -- the new Rolf Primas, the crazy Topolinos, trendy though they may be... but there's just no way those 1200g Elan clinchers can hold up to anything other than occaisional race-day use.

    Special pricing or no, many of those ain't worth the risk. Ksyriums really seem to be the only high-performance, relatively lightweight wheels in that category that anyone has ever descibed (erroneously or not) as "bombproof."

    Here are some of the other factors which complicate this build for me, though. One, I live in an area where there's lots of hill-climbing to be had. Any ride around here worth the time involves lots of grades. Lighter gear is more fun.

    Secondly, this build won't be for racing, but it also won't be an every-day bike. It doesn't need to be commuter-bombproof; just won't-go-out-of-true-or-shatter-every-time-I-hit-a-curb-bombproof.

    I'm not too heavy -- I weigh in at about 170 lbs -- so I've got a little wiggle-room if I'm interested in a high-performance clincher for recreational use. RolfPrima Vigors, Dura Aces, Ksyriums, '03 Zipps, Speeddream Aerolights, HED Alps, and Bontragers have all crossed my radar... choices, choices, choices...

    And though I normally wouldn't be SUPER concerned with appearences, the fact that my new build is sporting a custom paint job adds aesthetics into the mix. I'd prefer an understated wheel, or at least something that I can rip the decals off of.
     
  10. Look381i

    Look381i New Member

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    --I'm with you and Feanor on this. At 54, I race only occasionally but ride a lot of miles. I can't afford a Lamborghini, but I can afford the cycling equivalent. I use clinchers because I gave up serious racing and tubies almost 30 years ago.
    I'm also in the market for some true aero wheels (50mm or greater). I've been very happy with my Ks and my Eurus, but I want to try something a little different for the long rolling countryside where I live, yet be able to climb a big hill or two if one pops up, without a big weight deficit. I've been trying to learn all I can from those with actual experience with Zipp 404s, Hed Alps, Cosmic Carbones (tad heavy), etc. I'm leaning to having a pair of of Zipp 505 rims (404 type) built up with Campy Record 28 spoke hubs. The price would be about the same as Zipps at discount.

    Please post any info you can relay as you do your research.

    Good luck.
     
  11. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Oh, hell - go ahead and say it. It's our money, we can spend it any way we want to. It's a male jewelry thing - women get diamond earrings, we get Campy Boras or Zipp 909's. It's as logical a selection either way, and equally as pleasing to the purchaser.

    Personal experience - I've been riding a set of Rolf Vector Pro wheels, they've been bulletproof. No retruing in the year/2k miles I put on them. The ride is a bit stiff, though... Recently picked up a bargain on a set of Campy Zonda wheels, very nice, ride a bit softer than the Rolfs, though I'm also hot on the trail of a pair of Zipp 404's.

    Do I need Zipp wheels? Of course not. Will I get them? Probably.
     
  12. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Hear hear! It's good to see others standing beside me on this one. I'll be sure to post results of my continuing research. I should come to a final decision within the next week or two...

    I've got excellent pricing on Ksyriums as well, and may end up looking hard into the '04s. From what I understand, they're essentially the '03 TDF Limited Editions, both in that they shave off a few more grams, and offer a color change (largely silver).

    I'm still attracted to the lightweight, aero, carbon exclusivity of the Zipps, though. Someone pass me a pencil to chew on.
     
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