Zipp 101 Long Term Test - Stealth Aero?
Written by: Tom Anhalt
Date: Sat Apr 21 2012
However, taking a closer look at this wheel (which we will do in this long-term test review) reveals that making that assumption sells the wheel short, and in some cases this wheel performs better than wheels significantly deeper and that are considered pure "race" wheels...which then begs the question "Is this a training wheel or a race wheel...or both?"
The 101 rims are built using the same Sapim CX-ray spokes and Zipp 88/188 hubs that are used in their carbon "race" wheels. Altogether this makes for a package that has good lateral stiffness (stiffer than Mavic Ksyrium ES according to Zipp's data) while also being aerodynamic. A total wheelset weight of 1527g is respectable for its class. The wheelset's list price of $1300 may seem a bit high for an all-aluminum clincher, but as we'll see below, when you compare it's performance to other wheels, it's quickly apparent that typical aluminum clincher wheels are not its true competition in the marketplace, and one really should be comparing it to wheels of much deeper, and more "exotic" construction.
OK, let's talk about the living with these wheels long term. In short, the "living is easy". Having ridden on these wheels for nearly a full 12 months of close to everyday usage...and this may sound like a cliché, but it's true...they are as true as the day I first put them on the bike. It's not like I've babied these wheels either. Long solo rides, sprint workouts, climbing, pot-holed filled descents, group rides, crits, etc. are all part of what I've subjected these wheels to on a near daily basis (one of the benefits of living in SoCal is being able to comfortably ride on the road year round.) Obviously, this durability is a testament to not only the construction of the wheel's parts, but also of the quality of the initial build. When I first received the pair of 101s to test, I immediately pulled out my trusty Park tensionmeter and checked the magnitude and consistency of the spoke tensions and didn't see anything that would cause concern. Excellent. As I expected, this high quality initial build has led to many miles of use without needing to touch them with a spoke wrench (as it should be for a wheelset in this price range!).
However, as much as I love the design of the hubs and their workmanship, this also brings up the one difficulty I encountered with these wheels. For some reason, under my pedal stroke, the rear 188 hub tends to want to "loosen up" over a period of time. Luckily, as I mentioned above, the hub adjustment is a fairly simple affair, but having to do it regularly is somewhat annoying and tends to dampen my enthusiasm for the wheels. To be fair, I've talked to MANY other riders with wheels that use these same hubs and they've never had the same issue. Coupled with the fact that I've managed to have the exact same problem with a total of 3 different wheels I've ridden with the same rear hub model (ridden in 2 different bikes), this leads me to believe it's something about my own "technique" of riding that's contributing to this issue for me. Then again, I have other hubs I use that I've never had this problem with...so who knows? I don't think this is a huge issue however since it doesn't appear to be a common problem at all, and I'm sure the vast majority of folks would have no problems with this rear hub.
Model: Zipp 101
List Price (set): $1300
- • Durable
- • Aerodynamic performance
- • Simple to maintain and adjust
- • Aluminum braking surface
- • Good• looking
- • Reasonable weight
- • Appear to be " pricey" (but not when compared to true competition)
- • Rear hub can tend to loosen under certain riders
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