Zipp’s 808 Firecrest carbon clinchers tested, rated and reviewed

Zipp Firecrest 808 Carbon Clinchers ReviewZipp 808 Firecrest Clinchers

£1,015 (front); £1,244 (rear)
zipp.com; fisheroutdoor.co.uk

The Zipp 808s feature 82mm deep carbon clincher rims, mounted via Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes (18 front, 24 rear) to Zipp hubs. The wide, 27mm dimpled Firecrest rim and rounded edge profile help direct airflow behind the steering axis.

This essentially helps the front wheel to self correct when hit by crosswinds. The width also allows you to run wider tyres (we used 23mm Zipp Tangents), which reduces road buzz without compromising aerodynamics.

On the road, the 808s were dependably stable in crosswinds – dealing confidently with conditions that would normally have us reaching for a shallower rim to cut out the scary wind-enforced steering drift.

Clinchers are far more user friendly than tubulars and with today’s fast rolling tyres and latex tubes, they can be faster too – and the 808s are certainly evidence of this.

For 2014, Zipp have tweaked the hubs and lacing pattern of the rear wheel to add stiffness, which is astounding when climbing and there’s no hint of rim rub when really putting the power down. The low weight (835g front, 995g rear) and quality bearings make them continually desperate to accelerate. They also descend with pin-point accuracy, the carbon braking surface very effective even in the wet when used with Zipp’s own carbon-specific brake pads.

Though they’re not cheap, the 808s definitely deliver on your investment with almost unrivalled aero qualities, handling and all round performance. Our experience of Zipp wheels also signals that the 808s are built to last and will become trusted speed-hungry companions.