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Used Zipp 303 Firecrest Wheels

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Used Zipp 303 Firecrest Wheels

Old 06-14-19, 01:11 PM
  #1  
Robert A
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Used Zipp 303 Firecrest Wheels

I'm interested in replacing my stock wheels that came on my rim-brake CAAD12 and the price limit is $1k. Two contenders are a used pair of Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels from Proscloset, in clincher or tubular. I've ridden sew-ups for years so I understand the tradeoffs.

These wheels are prior gen to the current 303s with different brake tracks and rim construction. They also have prior gen 11-speed hubs. Compared to the latest 303 Firecrest wheels, how much do these differences matter? Keep in mind that new 303s are well beyond my budget and I would probably be looking at Light Bicycle wheels (or something similar) instead.

Thank you,
Robert

Last edited by Robert A; 06-14-19 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:15 PM
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I have 303s that I purchased in January 2015 and have well over 20,000 miles on them. They are BULLET PROOF.

I'm sure there have been 2-3 newer versions and I don't care.. I love the ones I have and the cost to "upgrade" isn't justified.

There was a recall on the front hub so find out if they were done or not. The back has never need touched. Both are perfectly true and never needed any adjusting.

There's a lot of fakes so make sure you're getting REAL Zipps.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:17 PM
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Robert A
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
I have 303s that I purchased in January 2015 and have well over 20,000 miles on them. They are BULLET PROOF.

I'm sure there have been 2-3 newer versions and I don't care.. I love the ones I have and the cost to "upgrade" isn't justified.

There was a recall on the front hub so find out if they were done or not. The back has never need touched. Both are perfectly true and never needed any adjusting.

There's a lot of fakes so make sure you're getting REAL Zipps.
Proscloset is trustworthy so I'm not worried about fakes. Are you on sew-ups or clinchers, and do you happen to know which hub you have?
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Old 06-14-19, 01:18 PM
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WRT The Pro's Closet: I have bought from them before and found what I bought to be accurately described & in good condition. All-in-all, the price was fair, (reasonably well, actually) & I would buy definitely from them again.

If your wheels are purchased from them, I wouldn't even think about it. Just buy 'em. They'll be good.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:20 PM
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I've seen enough hub failures to not ever buy another set of Zipps, used or new.

I'd go the Light Bicycle wheels route 10x over.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Proscloset is trustworthy so I'm not worried about fakes. Are you on sew-ups or clinchers, and do you happen to know which hub you have?
Clinchers and not sure of the hubs.

The rear is the original 2015 and the front has replaced as part of the recall.

20,000+ trouble free miles. Maybe i'm just the only lucky person.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:27 PM
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What fails in the hub, and how is the issue repaired?
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I've seen enough hub failures to not ever buy another set of Zipps, used or new.

I'd go the Light Bicycle wheels route 10x over.
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Old 06-14-19, 09:07 PM
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I had failure on my 2018 Zipp NSW 404’s. No thanks. If you want great value with excellent reliability look at Reynolds.
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Old 06-15-19, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
What fails in the hub, and how is the issue repaired?
The flanges rip apart. They're not repaired. They're toast. Have to get a complete rebuild. Hopefully of just the wheel.
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Old 06-15-19, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
The flanges rip apart. They're not repaired. They're toast. Have to get a complete rebuild. Hopefully of just the wheel.
They've been recalled and replaced. Are you saying that they still have problems because i've not seen/heard any.

https://www.zipp.com/support/recall-information
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Old 06-15-19, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
They've been recalled and replaced. Are you saying that they still have problems because i've not seen/heard any.

https://www.zipp.com/support/recall-information
Saw a rear hub last season.
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Old 06-16-19, 03:23 PM
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I rode pre-used older gen 303 firecrest tubular wheels for thousands of miles. Great wheels, never needed truing

The hub recall turned me off. I sold them on ebay, got almost what I had paid. In effect I rented them for 3 years for about $150. So + for resale value

After that I used Easton ec90 55mm, very fast but a bit heavy feeling, then Bontrager Aeolus, then added Enve 2.2. The 303 tubular is still a great all around rim. My set was ~1275g
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Old 06-16-19, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
I rode pre-used older gen 303 firecrest tubular wheels for thousands of miles. Great wheels, never needed truing

The hub recall turned me off. I sold them on ebay, got almost what I had paid. In effect I rented them for 3 years for about $150. So + for resale value

After that I used Easton ec90 55mm, very fast but a bit heavy feeling, then Bontrager Aeolus, then added Enve 2.2. The 303 tubular is still a great all around rim. My set was ~1275g
What's it like living with tubulars these days? I rode them quite a lot in the 70s and somewhat in the 80s. My memory is a little faint when it comes to replacing a tire then cleaning and applying cement to the rim, but I know I did it myself. We didn't have tape back then either. What's it like for you?

So for close to $800, I can get a used pair of 303s from Proscloset. These would be prior-gen tubular style rims, and older hubs. Or for $1,000, I can get a new set of tubeless wheels from Light Bicycle including hub upgrades. Tough call. One thing I like about the 303s is the weight -- only 1200g vs about 1500g for LB. However, it would be nice not having to deal with sew-up cement.
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Old 06-16-19, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
What's it like living with tubulars these days? I rode them quite a lot in the 70s and somewhat in the 80s. ....
I have been riding tubular for the past ~8 years. the double sided tape is great, easy and fast. I've used caffelatex tape. I have also glued a dozen+ tires. Tape lets you get the tubular aligned perfectly.

The other innovation is latex sealants, used as a preventative or to fix a flat. Many rides have been saved over the years, and I get more life out of tubular tires.

With the newer wide rims, the carbon rims are almost always wider than the tires, since tubular tires don't get wider on wide rims like clinchers. This is good for aero.

Ride quality is excellent with vittoria and veloflex, the Corsa speed is very light and fast ~200g but still durable enough for a front tire. The 28mm veloflex tires @60psi are heavenly on any road.

That said, carbon clincher rims have been getting wider and lighter, and some of the new generation rims from enve and others are almost as light in clincher as in tubular. The weight savings is less than it used to be.
Also, the fastest (lowest CRR) tires nowadays are tubeless clincher.
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Old 06-16-19, 04:31 PM
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Is double-sided tape a complete replacement for glue, or is it primarily a substitute when glue can't be used (i.e., on the road)? Do you have confidence in downhill corners?

Also, on long-distance rides (say 100 miles), what do you carry for spares?

Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
I have been riding tubular for the past ~8 years. the double sided tape is great, easy and fast. I've used caffelatex tape. I have also glued a dozen+ tires. Tape lets you get the tubular aligned perfectly.

The other innovation is latex sealants, used as a preventative or to fix a flat. Many rides have been saved over the years, and I get more life out of tubular tires.

With the newer wide rims, the carbon rims are almost always wider than the tires, since tubular tires don't get wider on wide rims like clinchers. This is good for aero.

Ride quality is excellent with vittoria and veloflex, the Corsa speed is very light and fast ~200g but still durable enough for a front tire. The 28mm veloflex tires @60psi are heavenly on any road.

That said, carbon clincher rims have been getting wider and lighter, and some of the new generation rims from enve and others are almost as light in clincher as in tubular. The weight savings is less than it used to be.
Also, the fastest (lowest CRR) tires nowadays are tubeless clincher.

Last edited by Robert A; 06-16-19 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
Is double-sided tape a complete replacement for glue, or is it primarily a substitute when glue can't be used (i.e., on the road)? Do you have confidence in downhill corners?

Also, on long-distance rides (say 100 miles), what do you carry for spares?
The tape is for regular gluing, you could use it road side too, but ideally you're supposed to let it dry overnight before riding. It would be no worse than a pre glued spare in a pinch

The caffelatex tape is ridiculously strong, it's good enough for CX tubs, probably overkill for road cornering. Never had a second thought in a corner. It's much easier than glue to get tires off and on, I had to pull a tire to true a wheel (not a 303, those have external nipples), and it was a 3 minute job instead of 30 with glue.

For a long ride I would carry a light spare like a tufo, depending what wheels I'm using. My glue is usually fresh enough that even an unglued spare would stick on the rim ok. If I had a taped rim, that comes off leaving the rim clean, so I would bring some tape and a spare of the same tire and tape roadside if needed.

I usually don't ride more than 50 and don't bring a spare. I haven't done a roadside tub change in 5 years, the sealant canisters have fixed most, except a pinch flat I got from a huge pothole.
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