The revised Zipp 858 NSW and 808 Firecrest wheelsets shed hundreds of grams

Zipp has upgraded its wheel sets for time trials and triathlon. The deep-profile 858 NSW and 808 Firecrest have received a major overhaul and now feature hookless tubeless rims that help reduce weight, among other improvements.

Big weight savings

Wheelset improvements can often feel modest, but the weight savings of the latest generation 808 wheelsets are not incremental. The 808 Firecrest has gone from 1,917 grams to 1,635 grams, a savings of a whopping 282 grams. The 858 NSW, with the signature sawtooth rim profile that waves in depth between 82mm and 85mm, shaves almost as much, from 1,773 grams to 1,499 grams, for a total saving of 274 grams.

The 858 NSW shown here and the 808 Firecrest have lost hundreds of grams in the latest generation.

The 858 NSW owes its weight savings to a so-called “Carbon Internal Reinforcement”, which, according to Zipp, has made it possible to make a rim 10% lighter than previously possible. Hookless rims also contribute to weight loss, but more on that later.

aerodynamics

For many years the 808 series has represented Zipp’s fastest non-disc wheels and even superseded the deeper 1080 wheels a few years ago while being lighter and more stable in crosswinds, resulting in this model being discontinued. There aren’t any incredible aerodynamic improvements to report in this latest generation, but the wheelsets manage to slightly improve on the already fast previous generation. Both the revised 82mm/85mm wavy rim on the 858 NSW and the 80mm rim on the 808 Firecrest are 1 watt more aerodynamically efficient – ​​not a headline stat, but an improvement nonetheless.

Hookless rims for total system efficiency

The modest aerodynamic gains may reflect that Zipp, a pioneer in rad aerodynamics, is pushing the upper limit of how fast rims can be made — at least in terms of travel measured in the wind tunnel. But the brand has found other ways to increase a cyclist’s speed.

For the latest generation of wheelsets that Zipp has launched, the brand turned to something called “Total System Efficiency” (TSE) as a design theme. The 858 NSW and 808 Firecrest are no different. TSE looks at wheel design holistically – not just the traditional aerodynamic and weight factors – and considers things like tire rolling resistance and vibration losses from rough surfaces to find areas where speed can be increased while comfort can be improved.

Zipp has turned to hookless rims for the new generation of 808 wheels.

One of TSE’s key design features are hookless tubeless rims, which offer several benefits. Hookless rims provide better support for wider tubeless tires that run at lower pressures. The 23mm wide rims are designed to work best with 28mm tires which, at lower pressure, reduce inefficiencies caused by road vibrations. That means more speed, in addition to a smoother ride. In addition, the hookless rim creates a smoother transition between rim and tire for optimal aerodynamics.

Hookless rims have even more advantages. According to Zipp, they are simultaneously stronger than hook rims and require less resin, resulting in a lighter end product. The construction process also results in less waste material for lower production costs.

hubs

Like the 303 and 404 lines, the Firecrest version of the 808 features the Zipp ZR1 hubs, and the 858 NSW features the brand’s Cognition V2 hubs. Each rear hub comes with either a Shimano or SRAM XDR driver body. There is also an option to purchase a Campagnolo N3W driver body separately.

pricing

As usual with Zipp, the new wheelsets don’t come cheap. The 858 NSW is $2,000 up front and $2,400 in the rear. The 808 Firecrest is much more affordable at $1,125 up front and $1,175 in the rear.

For more information: sram.com/zipp

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