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Zipp’s 303 wheel is probably the most adaptable of their line. Deep enough to give you a real aero edge, light enough to climb fast, it is a benefit every second it spins. So it’s no surprise that Zipp would design a Firecrest 650b Disc Tubeless Clincher version of the wheel. It is designed to work well on the new breed of adventure bikes, as well as for the short of stature who need a smaller diameter wheel in their frames.
650b is a great size for bikes that erase the distinction between on-road and off. These bikes are designed with smaller wheels in mind so you can easily install larger tires and get the same kind of overall wheel diameter and the same kind of ride, as a traditional road bike.
650b is also the next size down from 700c in road wheels, which makes them great for those who ride small road, cyclocross, and time trial frames.
Zipp has confidence in their wheels for off-road applications. When the embarked on creating their first carbon clincher, they benchmarked aluminum rims, knowing they had to make something stronger before they’d feel comfortable releasing the wheel to market. They exceeded aluminum rim strength and then some.
Other than the diameter, this wheel is very much the same 303 Firecrest Disc Tubeless Clincher you’ll find in the 700c version. It shares the 45mm rim depth of the 303 family. It has the wider 28.9mm max width of the Disc Tubeless version. It has the same 21mm internal width. With this internal size, you can run tires as narrow as 25mm wide, but you’ll find the aerodynamic perfection at 28mm, and can go as wide as will fit in your frame. As with all tubeless rims, the wheel comes taped from the factory, and with tubeless valves installed, but can support both tubeless and tubed tires.
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 665g, the rear 785g. Maximum recommended tire pressure is 125psi, which should be overkill for any tire you’d ever 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 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Tubeless Disc Brake wheelset is the perfectly balanced wheel to take on your adventures because it handles everything well