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  1. #1
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    Ksyrium SL versus Zipp 303

    I've got a 2006 Orca with Ksyrium SLs and have an opportunity to pick up a set of Zipp 303s. Anyone have thoughts on the relative benefits of the two? My guess is that I'm good staying with my SL's but looking for feedback.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    you may want to post in the wheel section.

  3. #3
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    I hate to put it this way, but if you are asking such an open question, you probably don't need the 303s. I would consider the 303s if I were an accomplished racer. The SLs are sturdy- relatively affordable-- good enough for everyday riding (although they are neither that light or aero).

    Everyone has the opportunity to pick up Zipps--- but at what price? ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by shakawarspite
    I've got a 2006 Orca with Ksyrium SLs and have an opportunity to pick up a set of Zipp 303s. Anyone have thoughts on the relative benefits of the two? My guess is that I'm good staying with my SL's but looking for feedback.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakawarspite
    I've got a 2006 Orca with Ksyrium SLs and have an opportunity to pick up a set of Zipp 303s. Anyone have thoughts on the relative benefits of the two? My guess is that I'm good staying with my SL's but looking for feedback.

    Thanks.

    As a long time fan of the SL's I'll chime in as my new ride came with 404's (clincher). So far I have about 10 rides on them and just for pure ride feel I much prefer the Zipps. I haven't really tried to put my finger on why I like them better but so far they feel great. I don't expect them to have them for long period of time so the durability thing isn't a big worry. In all fairness I don't pay anywhere near retail for stuff so cost isn't the same detractor for me as it is others.

    I did a 22k climb and then descent on their first big ride and they were very steady underneath me. Towards the bottom of the descent there were some heavy swirling winds and the control wasn't an issue. I have done some subsequent rides on hilly and flat courses. So far they are great. If they have a weakness it hasn't surfaced yet.

  5. #5
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    I have owed both and would suggest getting the 303's to either grow into or race (if you're going to) on and keep the SL's as everyday trainers. If you're only able to afford one set, maybe stick with the SL's as you prolly don't have the funds to support riding on the 303's. Zipp does have a crash replacement policy which will set you back around $300USD if anything should happen to a rim.

    While the SL's held their true I just wasn't that impressed with them and it seemed as if I was fooling with the hubs every week. Further, for the money, I don't think they are all that stiff but, that's just my opinion. I decided to sell them before the yeild on the used market went down too much and built up a set of DT Swiss wheels/hubs and used the left over money to upgrade other components.

    As for the 303's, I have the tubulars and really have nothing bad to say. Other than keeping them oiled I ride them like any other wheel. Considering the price of tubulars tires I do ride the DT set much more due to the amount of glass and FOD on the roads here in Phoenix.

    Finally, they feel so different as compared to the SL's that quantifying the difference is best left to guys smarter than I. Subjectively though, they feel lighter, stiffer and give the bike a more lively feel.

  6. #6
    Bickety bam!
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    Everyday?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodys737
    I have owed both and would suggest getting the 303's to either grow into or race (if you're going to) on and keep the SL's as everyday trainers. If you're only able to afford one set, maybe stick with the SL's as you prolly don't have the funds to support riding on the 303's. Zipp does have a crash replacement policy which will set you back around $300USD if anything should happen to a rim.

    While the SL's held their true I just wasn't that impressed with them and it seemed as if I was fooling with the hubs every week. Further, for the money, I don't think they are all that stiff but, that's just my opinion. I decided to sell them before the yeild on the used market went down too much and built up a set of DT Swiss wheels/hubs and used the left over money to upgrade other components.

    As for the 303's, I have the tubulars and really have nothing bad to say. Other than keeping them oiled I ride them like any other wheel. Considering the price of tubulars tires I do ride the DT set much more due to the amount of glass and FOD on the roads here in Phoenix.

    Finally, they feel so different as compared to the SL's that quantifying the difference is best left to guys smarter than I. Subjectively though, they feel lighter, stiffer and give the bike a more lively feel.
    What kind of money do people throw around where you have Ksyrium SLs as "training" wheels? Training wheels are like a cheap pair of Shimano 105s or something like that.

    If you don't race, but have the money, get the 303s, if you want them. If you do race, and don't have the money, don't get them.

    The SLs are going to be a very nice wheel for a long time to come.

  7. #7
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    this is terrific feedback - thanks all.

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=magnolialover]What kind of money do people throw around where you have Ksyrium SLs as "training" wheels? Training wheels are like a cheap pair of Shimano 105s or something like that.QUOTE]

    Training wheels meaning a second set of wheels which shaka already owns if he can afford the 303's. Are you saying the SL is a bad everyday wheel or what? I guess your 105 is my SL. Let it go.

  9. #9
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    If had the money I would only ride 303's or Lightweights or Lew's or handmade carbon wheels laid up by Tibetan monks that braid the spokes from albino llama wool. Who cares, buy whatever you want. If you hate them it isn't like no one would ever buy them from you.

  10. #10
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    I just bought a set of 303's after having Ksyrium SL's for about a year..... Go with the 303's unless you climb a good amount of the time. They are about the same in weight, but as soon as I rode my 303's, I gained 1 - 2mph (about 1.5). I had to seriously slow down in my weekend ride in the middle of the pack. They coast better, and ride better! Yes the Ksyriums are better as daily drivers(more durable), but the Zipp's are better on everything else except climbing, and even that is close... This is on a System Six, full DA
    15 lb ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nocalroadie
    I just bought a set of 303's after having Ksyrium SL's for about a year..... Go with the 303's unless you climb a good amount of the time. They are about the same in weight, but as soon as I rode my 303's, I gained 1 - 2mph (about 1.5). I had to seriously slow down in my weekend ride in the middle of the pack. They coast better, and ride better! Yes the Ksyriums are better as daily drivers(more durable), but the Zipp's are better on everything else except climbing, and even that is close... This is on a System Six, full DA
    15 lb ride.
    Why do you think the 303s are not as good in climbing? I have a System Six 1 as well and was thinking of the 303s as my ES rims are wearing thin

  12. #12
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    Basically, the added weight... Along with the Ksyriums maybe being a bit stronger.
    Built up, my 303's are 1770 with cassette and tires. My Ksyriums are just under 1700.

    I can hear nipple movement in the carbon fiber every once in a while when I am climbing. Tightening of spokes take it away for a couple rides, bet eventually returns. I now ride on my 303s exclusively, except for that occasional ride in the rain, I put on my Ksyriums because of the all weather tires. It may be the System Six rear also, just putting ALL the power onto the rear wheel, but I can feel no difference in climbing between the two. The System Six just climbs like a dream. I have ridden the Super, and it is a more supple ride, but I could also feel some loss in stiffness in climbing also, so I'll stick with my ride! The 303 to me, is just a better ride. Not as stiff, and just plain faster! My last few rides, I am 3mph faster average in my weekend ride of 20 miles of flat, with a 2 mile climb, then back down the other side. Faster on the flat,and getting up to 50 downhill, (5mph faster.)

    Hope that helps

  13. #13
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    what? Ks came out to 1700g w/ clinchers, tubes and cassette?? eh?

  14. #14
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    Thanks!

  15. #15
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    +1 for Zipps, Ksyriums are nice but if you can afford them I say go for the zipps
    "The future ain't what it used to be."

    "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."
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  16. #16
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    I have 2 pair of 06/07 SLs, one is clincher and the other is the tubular versions. I've also upgraded bearings too. So far, they've been great wheels!

    I've been thinking about having a set of tubular 404 paves built with Sapim CX ray spokes and White Ind. hubs. I'm curious about the aero benifits of the 303 vs 404s. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by stwok; 03-04-2008 at 05:03 AM.

  17. #17
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    No question that Zipps provide more perfomence and if thats what you need go for it. If your looking for durabilty no question go with the Kysriums. IMO and having owned both I would not get Zipps or Kysriums. Reynolds, Edge, and a host of others make a better performence wheels. Open pros or Velocity rims on a good hub will give you evertthing that Kysriuns will and are easy to repair and cost less.

  18. #18
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    Here's a very open ended question for those who have had both the zipp 303s and ES'; can you really feel the aero difference, or is it mostly marketing?

    sorry, I couldn't resist
    Wake Forest University Cycling: Click

  19. #19
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    yes you can feel the difference. I found the Zipp 303 better in a cross wind and get to and hold speed better..............until they cracked (Kysriums are known to crack too). Just for reference the Zipps are not on the same class as my Boras for performence of durability. I have a friend that tried his hand for a year on the pro scene in Europe, broke 3 Zipps in a season (2007 model) my point is that there are much better options available. I should point out however that I ride in the 250 mile a week range and am a 210lb sprinter type (I break things) and if your a light spinner your results may be better. There are still better options for you. Do some research

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by homebrew
    yes you can feel the difference. I found the Zipp 303 better in a cross wind and get to and hold speed better..............until they cracked (Kysriums are known to crack too). Just for reference the Zipps are not on the same class as my Boras for performence of durability. I have a friend that tried his hand for a year on the pro scene in Europe, broke 3 Zipps in a season (2007 model) my point is that there are much better options available. I should point out however that I ride in the 250 mile a week range and am a 210lb sprinter type (I break things) and if your a light spinner your results may be better. There are still better options for you. Do some research

    I'm 235 lbs. and built more like an NFL running back. Normal Zipps are not recommended for people that weigh as much as we do! So I've been looking at the Pave version, which incorporates an extra layer of carbon and of course more spokes. My heavier SLs have been solid wheels, others on this board have spoke about the lighter ES cracking. I have broken things in the past and in that process Iíve learned that I can't go with the lightest components.

    Okay, so is there another company offering heavier aero carbon rims for big guys?

  21. #21
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    Edge rims are the best with the 2.0 being the strongest. They can take high tension spokes as the spoke holes are molded in instead of drilled. Second choice is the Reynolds. BTW it was the Pave Ziipp I cracked

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