It’s not everyday you get to try out a set of new Zipp 808 wheels; famous for their carbon fibre wheel sets, Zipp have set new standards the world over for lightweight aero wheel construction.
The Zipp 808 stands out as their most aerodynamic non disc wheel; the rim is some 88mm deep which certainly gives this wheel a distinctive look. There’ll be no mistaking what wheels your riding when you turn up on a set of these, not least because they’ve got Zipp written all over them.
But looks are one thing, performance is quite another. This set of wheels is aimed at the serious competitor, so let’s take a look at how they perform.
The Zipp 808 wheel set weighs 1435g which is considerably lighter than the Mavic Ksyrium SL Premium which comes in at 1485g. The Mavic is known as an excellent all rounder however. It has excellent strength and durability perfect for everyday riding as well as serious competition.
The Zipp 808 might be seen as more of a competition only wheel, its carbon fibre construction makes it an expensive choice for training and carbon wheels are not known for their braking performance, especially in the wet.
Let’s Go For a Ride?
First day out and I was about to put that braking performance to the test. The road was wet and I was a little worried; riding tentatively at first. There’s a steep hill near where I live which is a real test of braking performance.
My concerns proved to be unfounded however; they pulled up with surprising ease, gripping immediately there was no sign of any slip or fade and they pulled up smoothly.
One thing I noticed when fitting these wheels is that the braking surface is angled slightly differently and requires you to adjust the brake pads to fit properly.
If you don’t adjust the brakes you’ll suffer uneven pad wear and you’ll certainly lose some braking performance. This is something to think about if you’re intending to use these wheels for competition use only, since you’ll have to adjust the brakes every time you fit them.
Would I Buy a Set?
The Zip 808 is a great set of wheels, not only stunning to look at but comfortable to ride and resilient enough to use everyday. One common complaint we often hear about carbon wheels is that they ride significantly harder than aluminium ones.
Whilst the Zip 808 definitely felt firmer than my usual set of Ksyrium SL Premiums the ride wasn’t too uncomfortable, you could certainly live with it day to day. Another thing I was worried about was the extra deep rim having an adverse affect with a strong crosswind.
It wasn’t particularly windy on my test ride but there was a light breeze. I have to say I didn’t notice any buffeting on the wheel and the bike remained true in even in exposed parts of the test course. But I feel sure during a particularly windy day you might find yourself getting blown around a bit.
That being said if you’re in the market for a set of lightweight carbon rims you’re not going to go far wrong with a set of Zipp 808s. Durable enough to use everyday without sacrificing much in the way of comfort.
Would I buy a set? Well I might if Zipp didn’t make the 404, but for the kind of riding I do the Zipp 404 clincher makes more sense.