Rides in nature are a relatively new ground for Zipp. The specialist for lightweight bikes has so far exclusively handled road bikes, but since this season, wheelsets for mountain biking have finally become part of their range. As you know might know, Zipp is part of the SRAM family, and the same applies to the inventor of the TyreWiz: QUARQ. The powermeter manufacturer is conquering new areas in measurement technology and has set its sights on tire pressure. This is how a cooperation came about that wants to open up completely new possibilities for the 3ZERO Moto wheelset on the trail. Kevin wanted to take a closer look at this.
A MTB wheelset by Zipp
“Zipp has been a part of the wheelset sector for a long time, but until recently they’ve only concentrated on road bikes. However, now they dare to approach MTB wheelsets, as well – bringing their lightweight construction know-how with them. Integrated from the start was TyreWiz, an electronic air pressure gauge that is permanently installed on the valve – or, more precisely, replaces it. Is this a reasonable purchase or just a gimmick?
A few key facts in advance: The wheelset I got for testing has 27.5 inches, is tubeless ready and features the boost standard. Zipp uses carbon for the rim, while hub body, freewheel and nipples are made of aluminium. The spokes are made of stainless steel. The whole wheelset weighs 1825 g, according to Zipp. As you would expect from the company, you can immediately notice the high-quality workmanship. The rim looks very robust. It has a nice inside width of 30 mm, so even broader tires lie nicely on it. The zip hubs run well and have no play, the freewheel volume is lower than with Newmen, for example. By the way, I was testing with tubeless the entire time!
With the 3ZERO Moto, two things stand out particularly: Firstly, the ‘ankle’ effect. Zipp’s theory behind this is: If a runner takes a sharp turn, the ankle bends in a natural way and ensures that stability is maintained. And so, the rim does the same. According to Zipp, it bends slightly, increasing traction.
And indeed: I felt more grip. Whether this was due to the design of the rim, i.e. the ‘ankle’ effect, or the fact that I rode with less air pressure than usual, remains to be seen. It’s probably both. In any case, the wheelsets absorb less vibration – you can really feel that. And that is also reflected in improved traction.
After about 400 km, which consisted of test rides on my home trails, in the bike park and at an enduro race, I had no breakdowns, problems or noticed any strange behaviour of the wheelsets. Quite the contrary – they were very reliable.
The TyreWiz: Gimmicky or really useful?
Let’s talk about the second special feature of the 3ZERO Moto wheelset: the TyreWiz. This thing is installed in the valve and transmits the air pressure values via Bluetooth 4.0 LE. It is easy to use, as it has a long battery life of 300 hours and the batteries are easy to replace. The TyreWiz is dust- and waterproof (protection class IP67), so you don’t have to worry about that, either. I had no problems with dust or rain, so there were no failures, and I still use the first battery.
The TyreWiz is adjusted and evaluated via App. This is easy to use and clearly arranged. There are two possible apps to use: The TyreWiz app itself or the SRAM-AXS app, which can also display the data. Of course, this is because TyreWiz belongs to the AXS family. At the moment, it isn’t possible to transfer the data to a bike computer, at least to my knowledge.
The device itself features a practical LED display. The air pressure is controlled by an app; LEDs indicate the status while riding. You can program in a range, which is then displayed by green LEDs, but if the air pressure falls below this range, the LED flashes red. That is all.
Zipp wheelset with gadget – a summary
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think. On the one hand, this is indeed the best wheelset that I’ve ever ridden – that’s for sure. And yet I’m not entirely convinced. The reasons are the price as well as the inclusion of the TyreWiz.
Modern aluminium wheelsets that start at about 600 € are already so good that they can keep up, as they are also light, stiff and robust. Some of them are even lighter than the 3ZERO Moto – but of course they don’t feature the ‘ankle effect’. But how could I really quantify it’s benefits?
Let’s finally consider the TyreWiz: Yes, it is a useful tool for ambitious racers. Thanks to its accurate display on my smartphone, I have often played with my air pressure and I was able to improve my riding experience. Especially when riding tubeless, there’s a lot of fun in decreasing the pressure. But do we really need it? Regardless – there is something about the 3ZERO Moto that always makes me come back to it.”