Every spring, before Gran Fondo NY I get the urge for a bike upgrade. This year I decided to replace my Reynolds Assaults. I went down to my local shop CrankWorks Cycles in Nyack, NY. After much discussion I opted for the newly released Zipp 303 nsw. Nsw is Zipp’s premium line.
They arrived at the shop a few days after I ordered them. The first thing I noticed after the unboxing was the brake track. The brake track is a different color then the rest of the wheel and has crescents milled around the wheel. CrankWorks Cycles mounted the wheels.
I took the 303s for their first ride the next day. The first time I tapped the brakes the bike made a whirring sound and stopped instantly. Much quicker than my Reynolds. As the day went on the excellent braking continued. I think they even brake better than my Dura Ace C24s. Mid ride it started to rain and the excellent braking continued. I can’t say enough how excellent the braking is.
My opinion on the wheels. They’re a bit pricey, but I think the superb braking is worth the premium. Being able to stop quicker and avoid an accident is priceless. As to the aero benefits it’s obviously subjective. They felt faster and a set a bunch Strava PRs, but can’t say for sure it’s the wheels. Only Zipp could find a way to make a wheelset that sounds like a jet accelerating and braking.