New Zipp Wheels.... again.

Everything about building wheels, glueing tubs, etc.
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by carbonLORD

I'm all for it, but every year is getting excessive. Yet another Firecrest with new hub and spoke lacing. Ive gone from 2011, 2012, 2013 and now... I will leave them on. New hub looks beefy but rear flange look a bit tall. Not sure about the new rear spoke pattern but it does look to be another improvement over the previous drive side radial lacing. We'll see...

Personally I think they learned a lot from drive side radial lacing and went the ENVE Smart system route, decals and all.

I love my ENVE 6.7's for their stiffness but my Zipps have always stopped on a dime.


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by gospastic

They keep getting heavier and heavier...

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by sawyer

I like Zipp wheels and own some.

But these guys, along with a number of other brands, have a big problem in Farsports and the like.

Safety first kept the generic guys out for a while but the ice is breaking on that now.

Big time.
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by FIJIGabe

Sawyer, hate to disagree with you, but i don't see companies like Farsports making too many in roads with the average road bike consumer. If you have numbers, I'd love to see them, but I don't think they exist. Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging you by your wheels choice or anything, I just disagree with you that the manufacturers are causing anything more than a niusance to the big guys.

Admittedly, the people on this site are not the "average", but I think two things are holding Farsports back: first is that the average roadie goes to their local shop, or goes online, and looks for known brands. Mavic, Zipp, Reynolds, etc. Those are known brands that the "Freds" they trust use. The average roadie isn't looking here, they're looking at Bicycling Mag, Outdoor Mag, or maybe Velonews and MTBR or RBR, and other than an occassional thread on how good or bad the wheels are, I don't think the average consumer is going to lay down money on relatively unknown, untested, unreviewed (by a professional) wheels. Also, OEM's are equiping decent wheels on the bikes, so many people stick with them. For example, how many people will change wheels, if they ordered their new Madone/Domane/Speed Concept, etc from Trek with anything other than the basic Bontrager wheels through Project One?

The other problem that Farsports (and the like) has is legal. If they start importing wheels in droves, pick up a big retailer or two, and start making moves, don't you think Zipp or ENVE or one of the bigger wheel manufacturers (whether OEM or retail), whose designs are being more or less copied, will have something to say? Farsports may not be selling the wheels as Zipp wheels (or Zipp-like), but if they're substantially similar in design, Zipp can make it very hard for them to keep importing wheels. The US gov't has been very keen on protecting the big companies with big patents, especially if they can point to "safety" concerns. Lawsuits and other manner of preventing sale (through import bans, etc), will make it very hard, I believe, for these manufacturers.

Just my two cents,
Madone 9
Madone 5

Madone 4, Cobia. I own a lot of Treks.

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by WMW

carbonLORD wrote:Personally I think they learned a lot from drive side radial lacing and went the ENVE Smart system route, decals and all.

When they came out, I said it would be a problem. You need either a large effective flange diameter, or extra high tension, or a lot of spokes to make the NDS take all the torque. Then they increased the NDS spacing and made it worse...
formerly rruff...

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by eric

FIJIGabe- Farsports rims aren't copies of Zipp or Enve. Unless by copy you mean round, black and made of carbon.
Your other observations are good. But the biggest factor keeping FarSports from getting much of a share of the market is the direct from China to the consumer model. Not many people are willing to paypal a bunch of money to China and hope that some wheels arrive in a couple weeks. Or are willing to deal with China for warranty support. As much as FarSports try to do good warranty support, being located on the other side of the globe makes that tough.

The next step up would be to set up in the US (or other large cycling market) as an importer/warranty repair station. But then the wheels would price for 50-100% over the price from China, just to support your costs and make enough profit so you are not donating your time. You would want your marketing effort to go into your own brand rather than marketing someone else's brand, so you'd need everything that goes into marketing a brand including a nice web site with fresh content (more time and cost). You'd eventually want some parts that are exclusive to your brand, to differentiate it from the direct from China parts. That will cost a bit more. And then your model has become what Williams, November, etc are doing and the $600 from China wheels are now $1500 wheels.

I don't think that Enve, Zipp, Bontrager have anything to worry about from Williams, and FarSports's market share is an order of magnitude smaller than Williams.

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by sawyer

@FIJIGabe - the issue is the sustainability of the price differential and ultimately the margin on the Zipp etc. products.

I wouldn't put too much value on warranties. Worth something but how much? The same applies to the marginally better tech, hubs etc. And the confidence in buying from a long-established brand used by pros.

The biggest factor holding back Farsports et al is safety concerns. WWs is the vanguard of this being overcome. No one wants to be a beta tester on wheels, but what you're seeing right now is this fear starting to subside as the seasons are notched up on their wheels

Also think you're underestimating how easily news travels in the roadie market. What's a bit odd today suddenly gets reviewed on RCUK etc. and then they're well on their way to becoming mainstream. It will happen.

As yet they are small I agree - so the stats on sales wouldn't look impressive. But if I was working for Zipp I'd be concerned about a competitor that offers 90% of the wheel for 25% of the price ...
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by 0302

I wonder why they are only using the new V9 hubs on the carbon wheels and not including the 101 as well?

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by Horacio

Zipp is souring me with change after change. I spent good $ to upgrade from 10 to 11sp not to mention the downtime and now this? Who isnt taking a page outta Apple's book these days??

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by NealH

The companies that will lead tomorrow are the ones who continue improving and evolving their product lines. That doesn't necessarily mean each and every iterative evolution is better than its predecessor to any degree. So keep your 10 speed wheels, there is nothing wrong with them.

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by Zigmeister

Well, finally...I said I was going to get rid of my 2012 303 FC tubulars....and I did. A big problem is that ridiculous radial DS spoke setup. Mine always had spoke creaking when standing on the pedals..flexy obviously...and that rear 188 hub was nothing special, you couldn't take the slight play out of the hub, actually, several mms of play no matter what between the pads. Just a poor design the rear hub to say the least, and that ridiculous lacing idea of radial on the rear..gheez.

Front hub was always very good IMO, not much weight and issues on the front to worry about. The 88 is a solid offer.

Seems like maybe they are finally doing what others learned awhile ago, cross spoke on both DS/NDS and get that rear hub up to par for the money those things cost.

There is a reason Cav would have his 404s 2x on both sides and built with Shimano hubs all those years.....

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by voodoojar

i love farsport ive owned and ridden just about ever tubular rim they make, all of which ive built up myself . One of the problems that i know exists is quality control. In 2009 I bought 10 sets of 20mm tubulars from them. they varied in weight by + or - 50 grams and some where near
impossible to true with a decent spoke tension. Some had defects that I couldn't live with and had to send them back. i have had 2 of there wheels catastrophically fail in 4 year all due to crashes. i dont know how the big guys wheels would have faired but i doubt they would have survived much better. Maybe things have changed over there but until they figure out how to inspect a rim they are never going to put a dent in zipp and enve.

All that being said I'm about to place an order with them again because they sell cheap rims that are mostly good and in my opinion fairly safe.

oh also their hub selection and spoke lacing options are pretty shitty dont think i would buy a built set from them.

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by bm0p700f

I am not too sure why Zipp ever though radial lacing on the DS was ever a good idea. Crashes never tend to be to good to wheels, weight and tension limit variations are a problem though.

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by Geoff

I've met people willing to defend to the death the idea that radial lacing on the drive side is the 'right' way to build a wheel! All to save a few mm's. They don't seem to care about the transfer of load across the hub. Weird.

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by kavitator

Maby for rims that have so little spokes and max tension low (100kg) it is wise idea to get DS radial or 1x and NDS 2x or 3x for power transfer
Just my thinking (??)

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