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Zipp’s 808 NSW Carbon Clincher is the debut of a new line for Zipp, and a big step forward in wheel technology. The wheel is faster by three to four watts , stiffer, rolls better, and stops quicker. It not only eclipses their 808 Firecrest, but distances the competition.
NSW is short for Nest Speed Weaponry, the top-secret facility within Zipp where the latest ideas are hatched and incubated. Some of their work has already been seen in the 404 Firestrike wheels, but those were limited-production. This is a full-on run.
It’s already been proven in competition. Weeks before it was released, it dominated the 70.3 world championships going both first and second. Then at the world championship team time trial, the 808 NSW front was paired with a disc rear and also went one-two.
The first big change, and probably the most important, is the evolution of the rim shape. They’ve held by the 82mm rim depth that has proven so valuable, but they widened the rim at the brake track, up from 24.73mm to 26.44mm, slightly increased the max width from 27.5mm to 27.8mm. This makes the rim appear to have more vertical sides than in the past.
The dimpling pattern as been modified. They call it Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control, or ABLC, and the new pattern, which they call Sawtooth, thanks to the wrapping of the dimples over the sides. Basically, the pattern is designed to reduce drag in high yaw (crosswinds) and improve crosswind stability.
The brake track has been improved with their Showstopper technology, which is molded grooves that help channel water off the rim as it spins and cool the track as well. Better, more consistent braking in the wet, in the dry, and even when you’re dragging the brakes.
The last bit of rim improvement is probably the flashiest. It’s their ImPress graphics, which essentially screen the logo onto the rim. This is lighter, and more aero than Zipp’s super-light, super-thin, stickers.
Zipp also redesigned their hubs. They call it Cognition. What you need to know is that that they’ve improved both front and rear designs. The front, weighing 110g, features a scalloped edge for the spoke beds where the pressure from the spokes is more evenly distributed and doesn’t deform the bearing bore under high loads, like when you’re sprinting out of the saddle. The rear, weighing 225g, has a new pawl design with an Axial Clutch, which reduces pawl drag when coasting. Sapim CX-Ray spokes are used: still the best in the business.
Even with the wheel being faster and stiffer, the overall weight has dropped by 75g to 1810g, 830g in front, 980g in back.
As should be expected, you can choose between a Campagnolo-compatible 9/10/11-speed cassette body, and a Shimano/SRAM body. You can also pull these bodies and install a SRAM XD cassette body for even more diversity of applications.
The wheels, sold individually, come in a Zipp wheel bag )which can be secured to a second such bag), a black anodized Zipp titanium skewer, a Zipp valve extender, a Zipp butyl tube, Zipp Platinum Pro Evo pads (please specify), And Zipp rim tape.
As a set, these are smoking fast wheels. If you go with the 808 NSW front, it could be paired up with a rear disc for more speed. If you go with the 808 NSW rear, it could be paired up with a mid-depth front for more steering control.
The Zipp 808 NSW Carbon Clincher will leave others desperate to catch up.