First Look | The new ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheels get a hub upgrade, price comes down

It was almost two years ago when we first laid our paws on the striking ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheelset. Featuring an unusual single-wall carbon rim design, ZIPP’s high-tech mountain bike wheels promised a radical improvement in compliance, along with greater impact strength too. And they lived up to the hype – we’ve been super impressed by the silent and smooth ride quality of the ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheelset, so much so that they made their way into Mick’s top gear list for 2019.

They’ve continued to be thrashed since then, and impressively, both rims remain intact despite running some seriously low pressures. In fact, we’re still yet to bust a spoke, and neither wheel has required truing at all.

It’s been a different story with the hubs however – after a year’s service, the bearings in our test wheelset were starting to feel pretty rough. Mick has since replaced the bearings twice, which we reckon is due to poor sealing in the hub and the cheap OEM bearing spec. In talking with other ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheel users, it would appear that we weren’t alone either.

It would appear that ZIPP has also been aware of those hub issues, because the US-based brand has just launched an updated 3Zero Moto wheelset that features – you guessed it – a brand new hubset.

zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
ZIPP has updated the 3Zero Moto wheelset with a brand new set of hubs.
zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
The ZM2 hubs promise improved durability, and a faster-engaging freehub.

New ZM2 hubs

Replacing the ZM1 hubs in the original wheelset, the new ZM2 hubs have been engineered in Germany and receive all-new alloy hubshells and internals. The main goal here was to improve sealing, in order to reduce the chance of water and dirt getting to the bearings in the first place.

ZIPP also wanted to improve pickup speed and has employed an all-new freehub mechanism to do so. Compared to the old freehub that offered 52-engagement points, the new ZM2 hub delivers a whopping 132 engagement points. The metallic buzz is very similar, it’s just extra buzzy now, with a scant 2.73° of rotation between each click.

zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
The hubshells are new, and so are the internals.
zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
There are 12 pawls in total, with two rows of six pawls positioned side-by-side.

More pawls, faster engagement

Whereas the old ZM1 hub used a 4-pawl system, the new ZM2 hubs get 12 (yes 12!) pawls in total. The way ZIPP has gone about this is quite clever too.

Pull the freehub assembly out of the rear hub and you’ll discover two rows of six pawls. The pawls engage a 33T steel drive ring, which is about double the depth to accommodate the extra width of having two rows of pawls together. From there, the 12 pawls are arranged into four different phases (three per phase – got it?). At any one time you have three pawls engaging the drive ring simultaneously in each phase. As you rotate the freehub, the second phase of three pawls engage, then the third phase, then the fourth phase. With that staggered offset, the 33T drive ring then delivers 132 engagement points in total.

As well as speeding up engagement, the new freehub system allows for deep, chunky teeth in the drive ring. According to ZIPP, this makes for a stronger mechanism, to the point where the new ZM2 hubs (and the 3Zero Moto wheelset as a whole) are now officially rated for e-MTB use. Not that that stopped Mick before.

Anything else different?

Nope, just the hubs. The single-wall carbon rims remain the same, and ZIPP will continue to build each complete wheel with 32 x Sapim J-bend spokes and external nipples. The 120kg weight limit stays the same, and so does the lifetime warranty for the original owner.

Unbelievably, the price has come down

When the ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheels first launched, they came with a very bold sticker price of $3,499 AUD for the pair. Despite the upgraded hubs however, the new wheelset has actually come down in price to $2,726 AUD. That might make it the only product of 2021 that’s gotten cheaper.

There is a caveat to this – ZIPP is no longer including two TyreWiz’s with the wheelset. If you want those wireless pressure gauge, you’ll have to buy them separately.

However, it’s worth mentioning that PSI Cycling, the Australian distributor for SRAM, RockShox and ZIPP, will continue to sell the ‘old’ ZIPP 3Zero Moto wheelset with the ZM1 hubs and the TyreWiz pressure gauges included for the same price of $2,726 AUD.

zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
The single-wall carbon rims deliver a unique ride quality that is both smooth and very quiet. We dig ’em.

ZIPP 3Zero Moto Wheelset

zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
The carbon rims are unchanged, and feature a 30mm inner width.
zipp 3zero moto carbon wheels
We’ll be putting the updated 3Zero Moto wheels to the test to see just how improved the new hubs really are.

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