Zipp has a long history of being on the bleeding edge of performance. Their wheelsets are still considered the gold standard and the benchmark test subject that other manufacturers aim to beat. In recent years, Zipp has introduced their NSW lineup that represents the pinnacle of engineering achievement in a no-compromise package. After a full season with the 303 NSW’s last year, I came away very impressed.

Now, Zipp is launching their truly unique 454 NSW in disc brake form. The goal with the 454’s is to give the rider better straight line aerodynamics than the 404’s, but with the crosswind-shedding characteristics of the 303’s — all at a lower weight than the 303’s. The trick is in the Sawtooth rim shape and the full-depth HexFin™ ABLC dimpling pattern that is quite intensive to achieve. Each 454 NSW disc brake wheelset is hand built entirely in Indianapolis.

Two of the biggest announcements here for me are seemingly small — center lock rotors and j-bend spokes. Personally, I hope 6-bolt rotors go the way of the Dodo and this is a good step in that direction.

Zipp 454 NSW Disc Brake Wheelset

The 454’s feature full-depth dimpling and Sawtooth profile.

Zipp Cognition Disc Rear Hub

The Cognition rear hub also features j-bend spokes and center lock rotors.

Key features of the Zipp 454 NSW Disc Brake:

  • Cognition™ disc-brake hubset for center lock rotors and featuring j-bend spokes (the crowd goes wild)
  •  Standard quick-release (titanium skewer included) and thru-axle end caps are included
  • 53/58mm depth with 17mm internal width
  • Weight: 1615 grams (complete)
  • MSRP: $4000 (available June 2017)
Zipp 302 Disc Brake Wheelset

The new 302 disc brake wheelset.

Affordable Zipp 302 Disc and Rim Brake Wheelsets

At the other end of the spectrum, Zipp is introducing the more affordable 302 wheelset line without dimpling and at a $1500 price point. While they may not feature the high-zoot features of the Firecrest or NSW line, these 45mm deep wheels are still made in Indianapolis to the exacting standards that Zipp believes in.

Additionally, the 302 disc brake wheels will also feature center locking rotors — can I get an amen from the choir? Available in both disc or rim brake flavors, I’m guessing that more and more riders will be rolling Zipps in the near future.

Key features of the Zipp 302 wheelsets:

  • Available in both rim and disc brake variants
  • Uses new 76/176 and 76D/176D hubs
  • Center locking disc interface — hallelujah! 
  • 45mm deep, 25.6mm max external width and 16.25mm internal width
  • Weight: 1695 grams (disc) or 1645 grams (rim brake)
  • Still made in Indianapolis
  • MSRP: $1500

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About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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