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For other uses, see Zipp (disambiguation).
Zipp Speed Weaponry
Industry cycling components
Founded 1988
Headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana
Products Bicycle and related components
Slogan Speed Weaponry

Zipp is an American company that designs, makes and markets carbon-composite bicycle wheels for road cycling, triathlons, and track racing. The company has expanded its product range to include handlebars, cranks and stems.


In 1988, the company was founded by motorsports engineer Leigh Sargent and released its first carbon fiber disc wheel.[1] Zipp was acquired by bicycle component manufacturer SRAM in November 2007.[2] In October 2010, Zipp relocated from its original design and manufacturing facility in Speedway, Indiana to an expanded site in Indianapolis.

Zipp Frames in red and black

Zipp sells wheels, discs and other products (including cranks, hubs, stems and handlebars) through an international list of authorized dealers. They are also known for their high-performance silicon-nitride bearings, which have a notable roundness for the entire set of less than two millionth of an inch of imperfection[citation needed]. At one time, Zipp was also the industry leader[citation needed] making the Zipp 2001, a radical "beam" bike, which has subsequently been discontinued. Zipp also produced mountain bike wheels at its inception, but dropped the program later in favor of a more specialized road line.

The company was first to market with dimpled discs and rims (they also own the patent), to induce boundary layer turbulence and prevent detached airflow in crosswinds. Zipp has done pioneering research in aerodynamics[citation needed], using various high tech wind tunnels, and has published advanced papers in this area. The company was also the first to produce disc wheels, deep section rims, and cranksets using carbon fiber technology.[3]



2014 time trial bike of world champion Ellen van Dijk with a rainbow disk wheel as the world champion.
Zipp 404 (front) and 808 (rear) wheels on a Felt B2 Pro.

The most popular wheel made by Zipp is the 404 wheelset (582g / 696g), known for its lightweight dimpled 58 mm rim, which is often seen on all but the hilliest courses possible[citation needed]. The appeal of the 404 stems from its superb aerodynamics and a low rim weight (resulting in a low moment of inertia) which make it a versatile wheel for flat and hilly terrain[citation needed].

In 2005, Zipp debuted the first all aluminum clincher from the company: the Team CSC Clincher. The wheel was intended for use as a training wheelset. Zipp introduced an extra deep aero wheel the 808 (81mm), launched the 606 (404F + 808R) and their 999 wheelset (808F + 900 disc).

As of 2005, dealers and consumers alike noted an increase in the cost of Zipp products, stemming from aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus placing a strain on the carbon fiber market with their most recent designs[citation needed].

Zipp has introduced the "customized" ZEDTECH wheel line in 2007. Users can choose from an array of colors for decals, spoke nipples, and hub end caps. All ZEDTECH wheels now include aerodynamic dimpled hubs with ceramic bearings. Also in 2007, a new 808 track wheel was introduced with 20/24 spoke pattern and the 343 wheel set (303F + 404R).

New products announced for 2008 included: the redesigned 202 - a light-weight (1070g) climbing racing wheel featuring a revamped, deeper section rim, the world's deepest conventional, non-disc TT and tri wheel (108mm[4]) named simply the '1080' and the Sub9 bulge disc—a flat disc with a lenticular bulge for the last few inches of rim depth—that recorded the first ever true negative drag in the wind tunnel. At a 15 degree yaw angle, when normalized to 25 mph, the Sub9 with Zipp's Tangente tire showed a reduction in drag equivalent to 11W of forward thrust; roughly equivalent to a mile an hour advantage. Within their Flash-Point brand, Zipp introduced a new deep section 82mm rim, the FP80, and added 650c wheels to the popular FP60 line, changed the decals, spokes and hubs.

For 2009, Zipp introduced a new 88/188 hub series with adjustable pre-load, seals, wider axle and higher flanges, redesigned the 404 and 808 all carbon rims giving them torodial braking surfaces. The web site and Internet store were completely redesigned to match the brand.

Zipp’s 2010 product line featured two new wheel models. The Super-9 is a flat-sided, 27.5mm disc that Zipp claims matches the Sub-9’s ability to generate forward lift, but avoids the interference issues that have occurred with the Sub-9’s bulged section on bikes with very narrow chainstays. The new 101 wheelset featured the first aluminum clincher rim with a fully toroidal profile and reaches a lower price point than Zipp’s carbon wheels. Other new products for 2010 included cork composite CNC brake pads and a redesign of the 303 wheelset that has improved strength, durability, and aerodynamics[citation needed].

Wheel Technologies[edit]

In the summer of 2010, Zipp introduced two major new technologies: the company’s first full-carbon clincher rims and the Firecrest aero rim shape.

Zipp carbon clinchers were described by one major retailer as “the most long-awaited wheelset release ever”.[5] During the lengthy design and testing process, Zipp employed several new testing methods. These include a system for wind-tunnel testing prototype shapes with fully inflated clincher tires, and the use of thermal imaging to analyze braking performance. Zipp also developed a heat-resistant composite resin to reduce rim temperature during heavy braking.[6]

Firecrest technology was developed from Zipp’s earlier “toroidal” rim shapes. These were designed with a bulge in the rim cross-section to reduce turbulence behind the tire at the leading edge of the wheel. Firecrest essentially inverts this shape, placing the leading edge of the airfoil along the interior of the rim (towards the hub). As a result, Zipp claims that Firecrest rims show improved aerodynamic performance at all points around the wheel, combined with improved stability in crosswinds.[7] A product review on the Cyclingnews website reported, “[the] Firecrest aero profile is noticeably fast at cruising speed” and that a Firecrest wheelset “[offers] handling stability in crosswinds unmatched by other aero wheels we've used.”[8]

For the 2011 model year, tubular and carbon clincher versions of both the 404 and 808 wheelsets have utilized the Firecrest rim shape.

Zipp's complete wheel product line as of the 2011 model year:

Model Weight* Rim Depth Rim Profile Intended usage
Super-9 995g Disc Slight taper from hub to rim Time trials; track racing
Sub-9 998g Disc Toroidal Long-course triathlons
900 936g Disc Flat Triathlons; time trials; track racing
1080 793g/906g 108mm Toroidal Time trials; triathlons
808 701g/818g 81mm Firecrest Triathlons; time trials; flatter road races
404 582g/696g 58mm Firecrest Triathlons; all-around road racing
303 530g/688g 45mm Firecrest All-around racing; poor road conditions; cyclocross
202 484g/611g 32mm Toroidal Climbing
101 698g/798g 30mm Toroidal (aluminum rim) Training, all-around racing

*: front/rear weights listed by Zipp for tubular versions of wheels;[9] disc wheels are rear only.

Other Products[edit]

In addition to wheels, the Zipp product range currently includes cranksets, handlebars, stems, seatposts, shifters, and tires.

The VumaChrono aero crankset is built with a monocoque dome and airfoil-shaped crankarms. Zipp lists the VumaChrono’s weight as 860g (including bottom bracket) and claims that it can save more than 25 seconds over 40 km compared to traditional designs. Introduced in 2008, the lightweight VumaQuad crankset (listed at 580g with bottom bracket) remains available from Zipp but is no longer in active production.

Zipp offers aero handlebars for triathlons and time trials, as well as traditional drop handlebars for road cycling. The VukaAero and VukaClip aero bars offer a wide range of adjustment, while the VukaBull “base bar” was redesigned in 2010 to improve ergonomics and aerodynamics.

As of the 2011 model year, Zipp offers four carbon drop bars. The SL is designed for minimal weight, the SLC2 for stiffness, the Contour SL for comfort, and the new VukaSprint for aerodynamics. The company also offers two carbon fiber stems: the SL145, which is known for its stiffness and strength, and the SLSpeed, with a listed weight of 102g (100mm length).[10]

In the fall of 2010, Zipp released its first-ever aluminum components. Drop bars, stems, and seatposts are available in two versions: Service Course and the lighter Service Course SL. The Cannondale prepared by team has used Service Course SL components during the 2010-2011 cyclocross season.

Additional Zipp components include the VukaR2C shifter, designed to work with aerobars like the VukaAero and VukaClip, and Tangente tires, which feature a dimpled surface similar to Zipp wheels. In 2010, Zipp introduced a clothing line produced by Castelli.


  1. ^ "Velonews: A Zipp through time". 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  2. ^ "SRAM Completes Zipp Acquisition". 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  3. ^ "Velonews: A Zipp through time". 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  4. ^ "Zipp - Speed Weaponry - Wheels - 1080 Tubular". Zipp. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "2011 Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher Wheelset - Competitive Cyclist". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ "Zipp's 404 Carbon Clincher - First Look - BikeRadar". 2010-05-07. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  7. ^ "Zipp Firecrest technology page". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  8. ^ "Cyclingnews Product review: Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher". 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  9. ^ "Zipp 2011 product catalog". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  10. ^ "BikeRumor: Zipp Speed Weaponry’s New SL Speed Stem, Service Course Bars, Stems, Posts and Aero Tire/Wheel Tech". 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 

External links[edit]