Zipp 30 Course DB wheelset review£800.00

Disc-friendly alloy hoops

BikeRadar score4/5

Although best known for its deep carbon rims and disc wheels, Zipp has produced a number of alloy wheels over the years. The latest 30 Course is available for rim or disc brakes, and in clincher or tubular rim versions – we’ve tested the tubular disc model.

Manufacturers' claimed wheel weights are usually optimistic, but our wheels hit the combined 1615g total exactly – the clincher version is 1650g. The ergonomically curved and helpfully long alloy quick-release skewers, with alloy nuts and brass seats, are superb quality and add just 88g.

For all-round compatibility, Zipp supplies the wheelset with end caps that can be changed by hand to work with 12mm or 15mm front, and 12x135mm or 12x142mm rear thru-axles.

The 30 Course rims are 25mm wide and 26mm deep, making them shallower than Zipp’s feathery 202 Firecrest rim while borrowing some of that model’s low-drag and aerodynamically stable design. They’re laced with 24 Sapim CX Ray spokes to Zipp’s newest and most advanced disc hubs.

The 77/177D hubs have factory set bearing preload, removing the need to adjust it yourself, plus 17mm axles and a straight-pull flange layout to create a stiff and strong wheelset. If you’re after epic gearing, the 177D hub accepts the XD Driver freehub body, allowing use of SRAM’s 10-42 cassette.

With their wide and deep tubular rim bed and small central channel, the 30 Course rims are tremendously supportive for fat 33mm ’cross tubulars, and equally for 25mm-plus road rubber. We replaced a pair of 303 Firecrests with these, and although we gained 215g, these are far cheaper and share identical hubs.

If anything, the response of the 30 Course to acceleration has been improved by the new hub and spoke combination. The added mass of the aluminium rim evens things out though, and ultimately taxes your efforts a little more over undulating terrain.

But these go-anywhere wheels aren’t sluggish, and that wide profile improves ride comfort, tyre volume, contact patch and ultimately grip. You’re certainly not aware of being held back, as the additional stability pays you back in confidence whether on or off road.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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