We raved over Zipp’s 404 Firecrest carbon clincher wheel in testing last month and now its shallower-rimmed brother, the 303, gets the same Firecrest treatment.
The original 303 proved to be a great all-rounder, notching up wins in the Tour de France and on the brutal terrain of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Its wider rim profile led to the development of the Firecrest platform which, unlike Zipp’s usual, bulging toroidal-shaped rims, maintains a more constant width to the spoke bed. We felt this development improved the handling of the 404s in crosswinds and made them more assured when cornering.
As with the 404, Zipp reckon this model maintains all the characteristics that made the original 303 so popular but with the improved aerodynamics of the Firecrest shape. Airflow is improved not only at the front end of the wheel, but also with the turbulent air at the back, they say. They’ve also moved the centre of pressure of the wheel (where the wind pushes on it) back, which is said to give the 45mm depth/28.5mm width rims the crosswind stability of a box-section rim. Other familiar Zipp details are present, including external spoke nipples for better serviceability and rim dimples for improved aerodynamics.
The wheelset tipped our scales, without skewers, at 1,520g (680g front/840g rear) compared to a claimed 1,498g. It comes in a choice of all-black (as shown here) or grey (with silver spokes, grey hubs and white decals). UK prices are £1,050 for the front and £1,250 for the rear, while US wheelset cost is $2,700.
Look out for a full review of the Zipp 303 carbon clincher in an upcoming issue of Cycling Plus.
A relatively new electronics brand, UK-based Veho are just five years old but have expanded their range to include speakers, headphones and digital cameras. What we’re really interested in are their Muvi digital camcorders, some of which are impossibly small. First up are their HD camcorders, which range from the 720p resolution Muvi HD7 to the 1,080p HD10, HD Pro and soon-to-be released HD GPS. Each camera has the same outer case – it’s just what’s inside that differs.
Shown here is the HD Pro (£249.95), which has a 1.5in colour LCD screen, records video at 30fps and has a 160-degree angled lens. It has capacity for a 32GB microSD card but comes with an 8GB card. Weighing just 82g, the battery is said to last for three hours of continuous recording. Key features include optional helmet and handlebar mounts, voice activation and a 3x digital zoom (when using 720p resolution).
If that isn’t small enough, Veho reckon their Muvi Mini Cams are the smallest in the world. Both the Pro and Atom models have a two megapixel lens with a resolution of 640×480 and can record at 30fps. The Pro (£69.95) version has a 4GB of memory, a battery life of up to 90 minutes and weighs just 50g. It connects to your computer via micro USB. Like the HD Pro, it has voice activation, so you can control recording hands-free, plus there are accessories for handlebar and helmet attachment.
At just 37g, the Atom (£89.99) as the name suggests, is even smaller and lighter than the Pro. It has all the same features, but given its size makes a sacrifice in battery life (up to 45 minutes’ continuous recording). It also works as a camera, taking .jpg images at 1,280x960p. Like its bigger brother, optional mounts for handlebars and helmets are available.
Starting out in Germany as a sunglasses brand in the 1960s, Uvex branched out into protective safety wear such as goggles and helmets. New for 2012 is the I-VO helmet, which looks ideally suited to the novice rider at just £39.99. It’s pretty light, too, at 225g (52-57cm) and comes in four colours (blue/red/white/silver).
Also new for next year are the SGL202 sunglasses (£119.99). They feature Uvex’s own ‘variomatic’ technology, which adjusts lens darkness depending on the available light. The lenses are made from polycarbonate, which should ensure their durability. Frames come in white, red, silver and black.