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The new ZIPP 3ZERO Moto Wheels for your mountain bike. ZIPP is probably not the first brand you think of when it comes to carbon mountain bike wheels, and that's because, before today, they have not made a mountain wheel. ZIPP is a world class brand in the road and triathlon segment under the Sram umbrella of brands and has countless championships behind their name. ZIPP is leading the pack in carbon technology in the road world with over 30 years of carbon wheel manufacturing, starting with their first carbon disc wheel in 1988 and making huge industry-leading improvements ever since.
Today is the day that ZIPP comes out with their new and first mountain carbon wheels, with some very interesting and new technology. The ZIPP 3ZERO Moto wheels are here and ready to make waves in the industry and also flatten out the trail at the same time. ZIPP’s goal for all of its products is to make you a faster rider, from comfort to speed and anything in between.
One thing I found really cool about the ZIPP 3Zero Moto rims is that they are handmade in Indianapolis. ZIPP has an epic factory right here in the states where it has been creating state of the art carbon products for decades. The quality, attention to detail and technology ZIPP puts behind their products is what has given their brand such a powerful name.
By pulling some inspiration from the motorcycle industry, ZIPP has developed the first single-walled carbon rim, designed to allow more compliance from the rim to the rider. They call this their “Moto Technology”, and allows the rim to pivot back and forth like an ankle while running on a trail. When a rock or root hits your tire and makes an impact, the ZIPP moto technology comes into play, allowing the rim to flex as your ankle would from side to side, when stepping on the same rock or root. This not only helps take some fatigue from the rider, but more so allows the wheels to stay on line, and in the direction you want to go. A traditional “box” style carbon rim is much stiffer and does not allow for the same type of flex from the rim to the trail. You will also get a deflection from the traditional carbon rim, where your wheel might bounce or change direction quickly, making you use more energy to control your bike.
Some of the highlighted benefits from these wheels include:
Last year Quarq, a division of the SRAM family, launched the TyreWiz. It is a small unit that replaces your valve core to monitor your exact tire pressure to an app. With the new ZIPP wheels, they have launched a new TyreWiz that is integrated into the valve that comes with any complete ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheels. On the unit itself, there is an LED light that will flash red if the tire is either too high or too low in pressure; the light will be green if the pressure of the tire is in the desired set range.
Scenario: If you had set your tire to be 24psi up front, and you left your bike in the rack for a week and the tire was actually at 22psi, a slow red indicator would flash. If the tire had too much pressure it would flash more rapidly in red, and you can reduce air pressure until you reached that sweet spot at 24psi.
The TyreWiz connects to an app on your smartphone, or any ant+ or Bluetooth head unit and will display the PSI there. You can see live PSI, and while that might not seem necessary, once you use it and know the exact pressure without fumbling with a tire gauge or a pump, then you get spoiled and need it. The TyreWiz comes with the complete ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheelset and is available separately in case you buy a rim only.
The 3Zero Moto wheels are only available in 27.5 and 29 options, so, if you have a 26” or 32” wheel, no option for you. Below will be a full list of specs, but to go through a few here, you the ZIPP hubs will have 6.9-degree or 52 points of engagement. Also, all rims have a 65psi max pressure, not sure why you need to go that high but you can, and along with that there is a 265lbs weight limit as well. Complete wheels come with a 3 cross spoke pattern, and have a 30mm internal width and 37.5 external widths, hence the 3Zero model.
Having got to ride these wheels at their launch in Portugal, we were able to do a back to back testing without stock wheels. The bike had on DT Swiss Spline 1700 wheels, and by no means are a bad wheelset, but that was my stock wheels and then putting on the ZIPP 3Zero Moto to really get the riding improvements.
While I do have some time testing and riding carbon wheels, I normally choose to ride aluminum, cost, and durability for myself normally win with alloy, but I have enough time on carbon to feel the difference. Right away when going to the ZIPP wheels you can notice you are on a different style wheel system. From the way, they handle rough trail, to jumping and cornering, it's all different, and different good.
The Ankle Technology is felt immediately as the rim/wheel seems to have more trail compliance than anything I've ever ridden. It's almost like you have more travel or lower pressure in your tires, but without any negatives from actually doing that. Going into rough trail sections, either dirt style like braking bumps, or chunky rock sections, the rim really does flex to the trail. In either of those situations, you are able to hold a line much better, which then creates a massive amount of confidence leading you to be fast. I mean that is ZIPP’s goal, right?
Off camber, trail sections are also improved with the amount of traction your tires and wheel hold. The wheel is constantly flexing holding the tire in a more natural shape, again holding your line better leading to more confidence when riding. While riding on the ZIPP wheels, we experienced no flats, and only had on EXO+ tires for the test, when we normally ride DD style tires, so the claims about fewer flats seem to be holding up.
During development, the ZIPP testers did much of their testing at Windrock Bike Park, where the nickname is “ride the Rock”. So you could guess that there are some rocks to ride and hit, and pretty much Windrock is the most natural, chunky, gnarly bike park we know about in the USA. Having a testing spot that has a ton of raw and rough trails is an excellent place to test and allowed for some great feedback for ZIPP to make this wheel perfect.
Being that these are ZIPP’s first mountain wheel, some might be skeptical about them, but don't let that fool you from ZIPP’s 30-year history in the carbon wheel world. Having some of the best wheels in the road and triathlon market, with tons of championships to back their name, we are stoked that their first mountain wheel is going to change the rim market from here on out.
Competitively priced at $1,999 for a complete wheel with new technology, this is a really good price considering the riding benefits and performance gain. Rim only options are available and will retail for $700.
After riding these wheels back to back, it's clear to us that they really are pretty amazing - they do everything they claim to do, and we found more confidence and were able to ride faster because of that. With clear benefits in rough terrain, off-camber corners, impact resistance and reducing rider fatigue, the ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheels are riding like a winning combo. This is just our first impressions and we will be following up with a long term review in the coming months. I have a feeling our testers here at WorldWide will be doing a bit of fighting for ride time on these.