Zipp have unveiled what they claim is the “fastest wheel ever” – and it’s a clincher.
Tubulars have long been the choice of the professionals and Tony Martin caused a stir when he rode a clincher to victory in last year’s World Championship time trial. Now Zipp say the Super-9 Disc Carbon Clincher pairs the aerodynamics of a disc wheel with the versatility of a clincher tyre.
The wheel is the first all-carbon clincher disc to hit the market and its rim width is a huge 27.5mm, which means the transition between the rim and tyre is very subtle, thereby smoothing air flow and reducing drag.
Zipp say it’s the ideal competition wheel, allowing the rider to make their tyre choice based on the conditions they’re presented with on race day. If the road surface is poor the rider can switch from, say, a 23mm to 25mm tyre.
The new Super-9 has been used by the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team this season and Zipp acknowledged Martin’s flats in the Tour de France time trial as “the elephant in the room” but countered that by saying the German had the choice to switch but that he remains loyal to the wheel, riding it to silver in the Olympic time trial in August.
The team’s technical advisor, Rolf Aldag, also believes the future of TT is with a clincher. As for the rest of us, the Zipp Super-9 Carbon Clincher Disc, which weighs 1,175g, will be available from November with a retail price of 2,200 euros (UK price TBC).
Meanwhile, Zipp’s existing 202 hoop is now available as a clincher with the firm’s Firecrest rim profile. A claimed weight of 1,375g makes the wheelset the lightest in Zipp’s Firecrest carbon clincher line-up.
What is Firecrest? The rim profile sees the second leading edge (the rear) mimic the front leading edge (the tyre); so the rim has a less pronounced bulge and maintains a near-constant width (25.4mm at its widest on the 202) to the spoke bed, thereby improving wheel strength and handling in crosswinds, or so say Zipp.
The 202, which has a 32mm rim depth, is a climbing wheel but was developed with the age-old philosophy that “what goes up, must come down”, with Zipp setting out to design a wheel which is light and stiff but with the predictable handling needed for descending.
Equally important is the wheel’s ability to handle the heat generated by braking on a carbon rim; Zipp confidently claim that they haven’t had a single heat related failure in two-and-a-half years of carbon clincher production, and they expect that to continue with the 202 Firecrest.
On that note, Zipp have also unveiled a new version of the Tangente Platinum Pro Evo Brake Pad, designed for use with carbon rims. The new pad is 2mm thinner, so more compatible with older brake systems, as well as the new integrated brakes which have appeared over the past year.
Like the Super-9, the 202 Firecrest is 11-speed compatible and comes with a 1.85mm spacer for riders using a 10-speed groupset. The wheelset will cost 2,525 euros (UK price TBC) and will ship from October.