The Bike List

Zipp 60 Carbon/Alloy Clincher Wheelset £1200

Tested by Christophe Demoulin, tester for The Bike List

In 2013, Zipp released two wheelsets aimed at the lower end of the market, that is, lower relative to the rest of their products: the 30 and 60 clinchers. We were lucky enough to get a hold of the 60 clinchers for a month and rode them throughout January come rain and shine.

The Zipp 60's represent the brand's first attempt at a more affordable deep section carbon wheelset. I specifically write 'more affordable' rather than affordable because quite simply, at £1200, many may still be looking for interest free credit to get a set of these. But on the plus side, assuming 12 speed isn't quite around the corner just yet, these wheels will see you through a good few years of compatibility with 10/11 speed groupsets.

The new clincher series hubs are aluminium-built and laced with Sapim's reliably popular CX-ray spokes. The rims are carbon fibre with aluminium braking tracks, reminiscent of the 303's and 404's from a few years ago. And of course, as ever with Zipp wheels, you've got the dimpled surface to improve air flow. A note for those unfamiliar with this technology: much like a golf ball, a dimpled surface forces the creation of a thin layer of turbulent air to hug the object, allowing a smoother, laminar flow of air past the wheel and its little protective layer of turbulent air. The end result is a drag saving which has been applied to all sorts of cycling components including, most recently, Sky's new ultra light mesh skinsuit from Rapha which has similar aerodynamic properties.

In the world of deep section carbon rims, there have been many schools of thought on the ideal rim shape for optimal aerodynamics. Zipp's latest development, the Firecrest shape, has sadly not been applied to these clincher wheels. I have enjoyed many miles on a pair of Firecrest 404's and let me assure you, their innovation is more than just credible, it's incredible. These 60 Clinchers have a more classic toroidal shape, similar to SRAM's S60's from a few years ago. It's obviously no secret that Zipp are now part of SRAM, so perhaps not a coincidence that that the two wheels are similar in more ways than one.

Zipp may have been unable to apply the Firecrest shape to a wheel with alloy braking tracks due to the weight penalty of having such a wide rim. Unfortunately, this resulted in a distinct difference between the Firecrest and the 60 Clinchers in terms of holding straight line speed and handling cross winds. With 58mm deep rims, it is inevitable that a cross wind will blow you about a bit. The Firecrest shape does manage to soften this effect, while the 60's are a more blunt instrument. So pardon the pun, but throw caution to the wind on a blowy day, these may need to be kept indoors if you're lighter than most or a less confident bike handler.

On the other hand, these wheels do offer a significant bonus compared to the Firecrests carbon clinchers in that they stop in virtually all weather! The alloy braking track is stable, sturdy and reliable. Paired up with our favourite Swisstop all weather pads, we never had an issue even through January's flash flood weather.

We managed to get these wheels onto a variety of terrain: flat, rolling and some steeper climbs. The latter of these didn't suit the 60's well - their relatively heavy rim weight made getting them up hills hard work. I must caveat the comment though, as it is evident that these wheels were not designed to fly up an alpine pass, but rather to offer speed on flat or rolling terrain. And indeed, the 60's were perfectly at home as soon as the roads flattened. The aero benefits of the deep rims were positive, but the stars of the ride were the hubs: simply beautiful. They seemed to want to roll forever and a day, allowing you to carry speed with significantly reduced effort.

We paired the 60's with Continental's GT 25mm tyres - rubber we've found to strike the perfect balance between reliability, puncture resistance, traction and rolling resistance. This combo provided a good level of comfort, impressive for such a racey wheelset and therefore a great choice for any distance you plan to ride.

It is worth noting however that putting these wheels on my Cervelo S5, with Continental's GT 25mm tyres, the rear tyre actually touched the frame where the rear brake meets the frame and the wheel wouldn't rotate. The clearance on the front was also right on the limit of what I'd feel comfortable with. This didn't prove to be a problem with Cervelo's S1 frame, however this is clearly something to bear in mind if you are hoping to use these wheels with an aerodynamic road or triathlon frame where the wheels nestle as close to the frame as possible.

Into the home straight, you remain in good hands with the Zipp 60 Clinchers. They barely flex even at 1200+W efforts, allowing you to keep your eye on the finish line and your wheels on the ground. This stiffness is consistent on the steeper climbs giving you a good bit of help when you're out the saddle fighting with the 1820g weight penalty.

Overall, our time with 60 clinchers was enjoyable and fun. They responded quickly to hard efforts and built up some awesome speed in lead outs and sprint finishes. But, every time we hit a hill of any significance, a low grumble of frustration preceded the long haul up to the top. If you're planning a trip to the Alps, look elsewhere. If you're into criteriums or flat road racing - these could be the ideal choice providing reliability through all weather. And if you just want a decent set of deep section wheels you can use in any weather, assess your fitness first because these simply won't help you up hills - that's their Achilles heel. So at £1200, it may be difficult to justify purely for flatter roads - unless that's your game of course.

Buy from wiggle.co.uk

At a glance

Verdict The 60 Clinchers are reliable nearly-all-rounders that only struggle on the hills, but is £1200 really ‘affordable’ for a 1820g wheelset?
Value
Performance

Zipp says:

The new Zipp 60 Clincher allows you to experience a precision-engineered, high-performance carbon rim at a price that won't create financial drag. The 58mm dimpled hybrid toroidal rim is based on aerodynamic principles validated in the wind tunnel and with scores of race wins. Based on our quarter-century of aero expertise, the 60 Clincher is stiff and durable yet nimble thanks to continuous and strenuous product development. An all-new hub makes the 60 Clincher as durable as it is fast. This versatile wheelset is perfect for the road racer, the triathlete or gran fondo enthusiast who simply loves to ride.

At the heart of the 60 is the light, smooth and tough new hub, which is 10 or 11-speed compatible. Its shell is formed from ultra-strong and lightweight 7075-T6 aluminum. Sapim CX-Ray spokes maintain stiffness required for efficient power transfer. External nipples better support each spoke as it exits the rim. Stainless steel bearings ensure years of smooth riding. This hub is precision set, so it requires no pre-load adjustment.

The 60 is inspired by our pioneering rim that's won races around the globe. Zipp's M2CM™ technology fuses the aluminum hoop to the inner carbon section during the molding process. Our famous ABLC™ dimple pattern smoothes airflow across the rim's surface. That 60's aluminum brake track provides a familiar and effective stopping surface in all conditions.

  • Wheels ship with Zipp Tangente butyl road inner tube with removable core (700c x 19-23mm), Zipp integrated valve extenders, quick-release skewers and rim strips. Brake pads not included.
  • Black spokes, glossy black hubs, Classic White decals.
  • This wheelset is not tubeless compatible.
  • Use 16mm rim tape with this wheelset.

Specification:

Material: Aluminum hub shell, stainless steel spokes, Carbon rim with aluminum brake surface and tire bed.

Set Weight 1820g
   
Max recommended rider weight 250lbs
   
Front Wheel  
   
Weight 850g
Hub Used 122
Rim Depth 58mm
Brake Track Width (center) 18.7mm
Max Width 23.5mm
Clincher Bead Width 13.7mm
Spoke Count 18
Spoke Pattern Radial
Spoke Length 246mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
Dimpled Surface Yes
Ceramic Bearing No
External Nipples Yes
   
Rear Wheel  
   
Weight 970g
Hub Used 249
Rim Depth 58mm
Brake Track Width (center) 18.7mm
Max Width 23.5mm
Clincher Bead Width 13.7mm
Spoke Count 20
Spoke Length Non-Drive 252mm
Spoke Pattern Non-Drive Cross
Spoke Pattern Drive Radial
Spoke Length Drive 236mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
11-speed compatible hub Yes
Track Adaptable No
Dimpled Surface Yes
Ceramic Bearing No