When you’re looking for a wheel that shines not only as a climber but an everyday hoop, the Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher has all of the answers. While it is 32mm deep, enough to possess a real aero advantage, and possesses eighteen spokes for the front and 24 for the rear, it is better in crosswinds than a traditional box-section clincher. It is more impact-resistant than an aluminum rim. And the braking is as reliable and consistent as you’ll find in carbon.
Of course it’s aero. The Firecrest shape is 32mm deep by 25.4mm wide at the widest point. The blunt end closely matches the curve of the tire, meaning whether the rim is the trailing or leading edge, it retains the same aero characteristics. This is the shallowest aero profile Zipp makes, which also means this is the lightest wheel set of Zipp’s lineup. 1450g for the set, 635g front, 815g rear. And if you haven’t heard about the benefits of wide rims, we’ll give you a quick rundown. Wider rims are more aero with the 22-25mm wide tires that most ride. They result in larger air volume inside the tire, which is not only more comfortable, but lowers rolling resistance.
The hub set has been improved, it’s the new 77/177 set, and the reason why this is effectively a new wheel. The pre-load adjustment of the older 88/188 set is gone, simplifying things, as well as designing in lower lateral loading so the bearings roll more smoothly. The front flanges are taller, wider, and hold the spokes in a stronger position. The rear flanges are arranged in a star pattern, allowing for better bracing angles and yielding a strong cross-two pattern and higher spoke tensions. There’s a small, but real weight savings realized as well. These wheels are laterally stiffer, which means better tracking in front and better power transfer in the back.
For rear wheels, Zipp offers both a Campagnolo-compatible, and Shimano/SRAM-compatible cassette body. The latter comes with a spacer for 8/9/10-speed cassettes. In both cases, the 177 hub body allows you to install a SRAM XD-cassette body for super-wide range gearing.
The wheel is delivered with a Zipp quick release skewer and Zipp Platinum Pro brake pads. Both have been updated: the skewer for better ergonomics and aerodynamics, and the pads for greater surface area as well as cooling. Zipp strongly recommends use of their pads on their rims and warns against using carbon-specific pads on aluminum rims.
Also included are Zipp rim strip, valve extender, and Zipp Tangente butyl road inner tube. Zipp has taken innovation in their system to a new level with this tube, which features an aluminum, rather than brass, valve stem. Lighter, better-machined, and possessing a removable valve core. It also improves the balance of the spinning wheel. The wheel is not designed for compatibility with tubeless systems.
The Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheel is the svelte climber who is wickedly aero and tough enough to handle the demands of cyclocross.