Against the backdrop of beautiful central California, SRAM pulled the wraps on their latest wheelset — aimed at being your one wheelset for the current and future incarnations of disc-equipped road bikes. Dubbed the 30 Course Disc-brake, this new wheelset features Zipp’s latest 77/177D hubs that are convertible to all current standards and capable of running either a standard 11-speed cassette or an XD driver.
At a respectful weight (considering the materials), the 30 Course wheels will come to market with a handful of firsts for Zipp. Three notable firsts are their first aluminum tubulars, their first tubeless-ready rims and their first disc-specific aluminum wheels. For those not able to or not wishing to go carbon, these do feature much of the same mojo as the Firecrest models — at a fraction of the price.
Now, Zipp has a full complement of wheels for all road applications from deep aero profiles all the way to these new gravel and adventure-friendly wheels. With lots of gravel bikes coming online, these will certainly easily find a home.
Key features of the 30 Course Disc-brake wheels:
- Disc-specific aluminum rim design for modern road, cyclocross, gravel and adventure bikes
- Wind-induced steering torque on par with Firecrest
- 25mm external and 21mm internal width for straighter sidewall profiles
- Available in either tubeless-ready clincher or tubular
- Includes new ergonomic QR’s front and rear with end caps for thru axles
- Recommended with 23 to 42mm tires
- 125 psi. maximum — these are real road rims
- Sapim CX Race spokes with secure lock alloy nipples
- 24 spoke count front and rear
- 10-degree engagement
- New 77/177D hubs (11-speed with optional XD Driver)
- 250 lb rider weight limit
- 5-year warranty
- Weight: 1650 grams (clincher) or 1615 grams (tubular)
- Price: $1000 (available summer 2015)
Getting the 30 Course Wheels Dirty
Luckily, we had a 40 mile mixed road/dirt course on tap for the second day of the launch. I was outfitted with a 2016 Salsa Warbird and the 30 Course wheels set up with tubes and Challenge Almanzo 33c tires. The combination was light and efficient on both road and dirt.
Sprinting on these hoops was really impressive — especially considering I was pushing bigger tires than usual and a bit more girth all-around. Engagement was always fast and laying the power down was always met with quick spin-up with zero lag time. Really laying into these wheels at speed or while standing, there was zero noticeable flex as they tracked straight and true at all speeds.
When subjected to dirt, rocks, mud, washboard and general abuse, The 30 Course wheels responded in spades and remained perfectly straight — even after repeated hits. Granted, my time aboard these was limited, but they saw their share of ruts, washboard, sharp rocks, drops and other obstacles along the way.
I was running 50 psi. front and rear and found them to be efficient and fast on the road while maintaining excellent traction on dirt and mud. The Almanzo tires do feature a low-profile tread pattern, but they hooked up surprisingly well in the mud and squishy sand and did quite well on paved sections as we powered through the miles between dirt roads. The straighter sidewalls with the wide 33c tires was noticeable and I think it certainly enhanced cornering and flat-protection.
Again, these are laced with Zipp’s new 77/177D hubs, which have performed impressively this entire season for current US National CX Champ, Jeremy Powers. He stated that he was running these same hubs on the new Firecrest 303 Disc rims and not once did they need a rebuild all season. Goodness knows he’s dishing out more abuse under terrible conditions than I will ever inflict.
Speaking further with SRAM Product Manager, JP McCarthy, he reiterated the obvious when he said his favorite thing about the 30 Course wheels was their flexibility of working with current and future road disc bikes. While the 30 Course wheels aren’t going to win over the gram-counting crowd, they get the nod for flexibility and certainly durability (hopefully I’ll be able to test these long-term to validate for sure — stay tuned).
- Awesome flexibility to work with any bike
- Wide rims make for straighter sidewalls, improved handling and reduced pinch flats
- Solid, top-end hubset
- Stiff, responsive and smooth-riding
- Tubed, tubeless or tubular options
- No center lock option
- A little more pricey than the competition
The Bottom Line: 30 Course Disc-brake Wheelset
If you’re going for aluminum wheels for cyclocross, road or gravel bikes, the new Zipp 30 Course Disc-brake wheels should fit the bill quite nicely. I appreciated them on my mixed road/dirt ride and particularly loved how they disappeared underneath me and just tracked and responded perfectly. The flexibility of working with any axle type takes these over the top.
More Info: Visit Zipp.com