ZIPP Firecrest 202 Tubeless Review Update

Just about exactly 6 months ago, I posted about my then-new ZIPP Firecrest 202 wheels.  A reader wrote in and asked for an update on how those have worked out in the interim.

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In a word? Flawlessly.

While not “officially rated” as tubeless wheels, the ZIPPS have proven to be one of the best setups I’ve ever used.  As noted in the setup post, I ran 2 layers of tubeless tape in them.  I’m not sure if it’s the 2 layers, or just the wheels, but they hold air better than just about any tubeless setup I’ve ever used.  If I pump the tires to 50psi, they will hold above 45psi a month and a half later.  It’s allowed me to get lazy about tire pressure checks–pump once a month, and do a ‘finger test’ before riding.

I’ve run them at pretty extremely low pressures too–this winter I had some days I was running 30 up front and 32 in the rear.  The rear CX0 wasn’t pleased (a lot of sidewall deflection), but I had no issues with the wheels, or with burping, etc.  I typically run about 40 front and 45 rear, which is a nice combination for all surfaces.  For rides that will be more hard surface, I bump the pressure up 5-10psi front and rear.

The wheels are as true as the day I bought them, even after some pretty rough rides, challenging conditions, and CX Singletrack.

From an riding perspective, the ZIPPs remain as great as when I started with them.  The aerodynamics are palpable–particularly in cornering winds, where they perform admirably.  In heavy sidewinds, the ZIPPs are about as stable as the ENVE 29XCs, and more stable than the ENVE SMART 3.4s I have on my road bike.  (By “stable”, I mean resistant to crosswinds pushing you around the road.  As a lighter rider, that is sometimes a challenge for me on deeper section wheels).

The ZIPPs have a great ride–they are very direct steering, but have more vertical ‘give’ than my ENVEs.  That’s not a bad thing–it is some pleasant vertical compliance that helps on rough surfaces.  They are predictable and solid otherwise.

About the only criticism I have of the ZIPPs is the hubs.  I’m used to excellent DT240 hubs on my ENVE wheels.  The ZIPP hubs are palpably less stiff.  I haven’t been able to figure out why, but in hard turns on high-traction surfaces, I’m getting brake rotor rub with the ZIPPs, as if there is deflection in the rear triangle.  This wasn’t an issue with the ENVEs, and while it seems weird, the setup is about identical.  I’ve chased the rotor alignment and shape and there’s no problems there–it seems to be that the rotor is moving slightly from the deflection of the hard turn, and as the bike and brakes haven’t changed, I’m attributing that to the hubs.  (And no, adjusting the tightness or brand of the skewers does nothing).

In any event, I’ve been very, very pleased with the ZIPPs.  I would not trust them on the Mandem, as they are not heavy enough for that purpose…but for a solo gravel, CX or road rig, these are fantastic.

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2 thoughts on “ZIPP Firecrest 202 Tubeless Review Update

  1. Interesting observation about the hubs flexing causing rotor rub. My hard tail mountain bike has rub on the front brake during hard turns. I always blamed the fork, but it could be the Raceface hub.

    • I don’t have proof, but I can’t figure out what else it would be. When I swap the ENVEs with DT240 hubs back in, no rub. With the ZIPPs, I get a smidge of rub in the rear, during hard cornering on high-traction surfaces. I can’t see how the frame would be any different, and the rotor clearance is exactly the same…so that’s my hunch.

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