Over the last twenty-plus years, Zipp Speed Weaponry has racked up an impressive list of firsts. From the first carbon disc wheel, to the first wheel to achieve negative drag in the wind tunnel, these accomplishments have helped Zipp-sponsored athletes become champions in the toughest races in the world. And now, with the introduction of the company’s 30 Course alloy disc-brake wheelset, Indiana’s Zipp brings a new level of performance to road, gravel, and adventure riding.
When it came time to develop the 30 Course wheelset, Zipp didn’t just slap new graphics on one of their existing designs. The 30 Course is Zipp’s first tubeless-ready wheelset (clincher models come pre-taped and include tubeless valves). To balance aerodynamics and tire support, Zipp spec’d their 30 Course wheelset with an aluminum 25 mm-wide rim (21 mm internal width) that features a 26 mm profile. The new rim boasts design innovations from the company’s 202 Firecrest wheelset–which, according to Zipp–produces low aerodynamic drag, and greater stability and predictability in crosswinds. To insure compatibility with a wide range of tire widths and pressures, the 30 Course’s rims utilizes a hook-bead design that’s suitable for use with conventional and tubeless tires.
The 30 Course’s rims aren’t the only component to benefit from trickle-down technology. Both the clincher and tubular 30 Course wheelsets roll on Zipp’s 77/177D hubs–the same ones found on the company’s pricier 202 and 303 Firecrest disc-brake wheels. For maximum versatility, the 77 and 177D hubs are easily converted from quick releases to thru-axles (12 mm and 15 mm) by swapping the hubs’ endcaps (both types are included with the wheels). Gearing-wise, the 30 Course’s rear hubs are compatible with 10- and 11-speed cassettes from Campagnolo, Shimano, and SRAM. For gravel and adventure riders, the big news is that the rear hub is also compatible with SRAM’s XD driver (available separately), enabling the use of the company’s XG 10-42 tooth, 11-speed cassettes. Freehub bodies can be swapped sans tools, and the wheel doesn’t require re-dishing afterwards.
Recently I had the opportunity to demo the Zipp 30 Course wheels at the company’s new product roll-out in San Luis Obispo, California. Zipp fitted the wheels with tires from Challenge, Panaracer, Specialized (both regular and tubeless), and I rode several 30-Course-equipped bikes on paved and un-paved terrain. With 24 spokes front and rear, I was initially concerned that the 30 Course wheelset would be too flexible for my 195 pounds. Try as I might, though, I wasn’t able to induce any rotor- or tire-rub during the initial testing. The ability to run a 10-42 tooth cassette proved especially handy during one of our mixed-terrain group rides, as the route included no less than three category-3 climbs.
Although it’s too soon to comment on the 30 Course’s durability and long-term performance, I’m looking forward to performing extended testing on Colorado’s roads and trails. The combination of tubeless-readiness, XD driver compatibility, and the wide, aero profile make the 30 Course a natural for gravel and adventure use. While the $1000 price tag isn’t exactly cheap, the ability to run both narrow and wide tires on the same disc-brake wheelset increases the 30 Course’s versatility.
Disclosure: Zipp Speed Weaponry provided airfare and hotel accommodations, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.