Every cyclist has a favorite piece of gear that they wear or ride or use for the red letter, circled in red sharpie, A+++, “must do well” races. I’m no different. When I’m looking for an extra advantage, that little bit of something-something that is going to give me if nothing else a psychological edge, I reach for my Zipp 303 wheels.
These are my fall back wheels. I am totally confident when I’m racing with these babies. At less than 1200 grams for the set (tubular weight) they’re as light as the lightest sets of climbing specific wheels, but they’re also virtually indestructibly durable. Fabian Cancellara has used these wheels to win two of the toughest one day races in the world, Paris-Roubaix and The Tour of Flanders. Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders are races in which there are extensive sections of brutal cobble stone roads. I’ve used them in races here in Illinois that go over several miles of clay and gravel farm roads as well.
If I’m racing in a criterium where cornering and acceleration are critical, I never have to worry about being stable taking sharp corners and sprinting out of those corners or attacking in a straight. They have a low profile so I don’t get knocked around by strong cross winds but they’re still very aerodynamic and give me an edge on calm days as well.
Whatever any cyclists holds dear as they’re favorite piece of gear, it is generally a piece of equipment that provides comfort such as a saddle or a pair of shoes, or confidence such as a brilliant frame or an advantage life the most technologically advanced component set or ultra light wheels. For me – it’s this wheel set.