Zipp 30 Course Wheelset Review

Zipp’s 30 Course Disc-brake wheelset is in Zipp’s archives, but you can still find a few new pairs floating around the internet. If you do, we suggest you grab them.

The 30 Course was designed with high-performance conditions in mind and is ready to take some abuse and not abuse the wallet. Don’t let the carbon fiber history with Zipp fool you; the Indianapolis-based company (owned by SRAM) knows how to build wheels, and this aluminum wheelset is no different. They have made aluminum wheels in the past,  but this rim is the first for the company to arrive tubeless, ready to boost a 25mm external rim width and 21mm internal width designed for lower pressure off-road and gravel tires, as well as those for higher pressure road tires.

When this review was originally written in 2016, this was a wide width, but over the last few years, it has become more on the common to narrow side for tubeless gravel wheels. For instance, their new 101 XPLR rim is a whopping 27mm internal.

Zipp 30 Course Wheelset Review

What was Zipp’s widest rim on the inside, This clincher rim comes pre-taped for tubeless tires from the factory, with valves included and installed. Zipp says the wheel is compatible with all known sealants and can be run with tubes if needed. 

We mounted several tubeless tires to the wheels and all with a reliable fit, some just took a little more effort than others. For instance, our favorites, the Panaracer Gravel Kings were quite the challenge to get on, but paired up exceptionally well with the wider rims. To be clear, the internal dimension is most important in this conversation—a hot trend in the industry right now. A wider (internal) rim spreads the tire casing, making it more U-shaped and less like a light bulb. This increases internal air volume, which allows lower pressures to be used and improves traction and comfort.

The wider sidewall stance also supports the tire more, so the tire squirms less, mitigating one of the drawbacks to using lower pressure. This increased support is also important when using wider tires for more technical riding.

How do they ride? Well, I guess that depends on the day of the week or when you ask. Some days they ride like a mountain bike wheel shredding single track, bouncing off rocks, hopping logs and just taking a beating. On other days they ride like a pair of semi aero road wheels sucked into a draft at 27 miles per hour. Then there were those few occasions when they rolled like a townie, as I cruised up to grab a pint at the local watering hole. No matter what the conditions, or if you were on a trail, road or some other adventure the Course 30 will get you there with performance and style.

Built to Last and Go Fast

The design of the 30 Course Disc-brake wheelset takes a little hand-me-down from the profile of the Zipp 202 Firecrest Carbon Clincher. While not the deepest wheel in Zipp’s arsenal (26mm depth), it was still built around low aerodynamic drag, and the 21mm internal width rim works well with 30 to 38c tires (well, that is what we tried).

Beating? Yeah we gave the Zipp Course 30’s a good old fashioned midwest beating. The verdict? We loved them; they’re strong, fast, light and they look damn good. From a few feet away some people thought they were carbon.

Top of the Line Zipp Hubs

The complete wheelset is built with Zipp 77/177D hubs, the same ones can find on Zipp 202 and 303 Firecrest Disc-brake wheelsets. Zipp’s thru-axle end caps allow for conversions between quick release and thru axles, which can be done in a snap.

The wheels ship with a standard SRAM/Shimano 11-speed or Campagnolo driver body, and SRAM offers its XD driver for its 10-42 cassettes.

Featuring Proven Sapim Spokes

Zipp uses Sapim® CX Ray® spokes with their proprietary flange geometry and spoke hole attachment pattern. Zipp mentions that this optimizes torsional and lateral stiffness, but the bottom line here is the wheels were stiff but not too harsh, braked well and created no issues.

Get Your Hands on the Zipp 30 Course Wheelset

The 30 Course wheelset will set you back a grand for the set. Although they may seem a tad on the pricey side they are built to last, come in at a very respectable weight and look super sweet. The proved themselves to us on the road, gravel and even some gnarly single-track.

The Zipp 30 Course Wheels are available in tubeless ready clincher and tubular. More information can be found on Zipp.com and are also available at Competitive Cyclist.

moots-psychlo-x-20
With a little effort the Panaracer Gravel Kings mounted up perfectly to the Course 30. Rim strip and stem come pre-installed
Zipp Course 30 Wheel Review
In the case where you might need to adjust a spoke, it can be done with a normal spoke wrench
Zipp Course 30 Wheel Review
Nothing flashy here, just reliability and clean lines
Moots Psychlo X with SRAM Rival 1
Moots Psychlo X with SRAM Rival 1
Zipp Course 30 Wheel Review
The Zipp Course 30 wheels were tested on a Moots Psychlo X with SRAM Rival 1, Zipp Course SL Bars and stem and Panaracer Gravel King Tires.

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