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I acquired old zipp 303 tubular wheelset. I am trying to figure out the following information.

  1. What is the year of manufacture. Specifically - if I had to replace one of the tires - what is the maximum width I can choose ? Current tires are Tufo S3 lite < 215g, Diam .28", Sect 21 mm. Looking at https://www.sram.com/en/service/articles/zipp-decal-timeline it seems to be circa 2005 ?

  2. The rear wheel is losing air within couple of hours. There is a leak. Wondering I have to re-glue with a new tire or whether I can try the Tufo tire sealant ?

I have attached some pictures.

Thanks Zipp wheel picture 1Zipp wheel 2

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  • The company still appears to exist -- I think many companies would even answer a support request, either by mail or phone, especially the ones which produce higher-end products. I had good success once with a specific question about a car seat. Commented Jun 21 at 15:48

2 Answers 2

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On the first question, with a clincher rim, you could feasibly mount as wide a tire as your frame will handle. With a tubular rim, which I have less experience with, you may be limited by the rim's surface area - you probably don't want to have the base tape overhanging the rim.

Now, tubular tires are a dying breed. Certainly nobody is making 32mm road tubular tires. The Vittoria Corsa Pro tubular is available up to 30mm, and if anyone else offers tubulars, their width should be similar.

If you have 21mm Tufo tubulars mounted now, and a sliver of the base tape is showing, then I would guess that 23 and 25mm tubular tires should be acceptable. I wouldn't mount wider than that unless a competent mechanic advised me otherwise. Also, your frame may lack the clearance. I'd hazard a guess that 28mm tubulars won't work well.

2005-ish clincher rims would have mostly been designed for 23mm tires. The idea of wider tires was only starting to enter the public consciousness.


The second question is easier. You can indeed try Tufo's tire sealant. In fact, any modern tubeless sealant can work provided the sealant isn't terrible - by this, I mean just use Orange Seal, and definitely avoid Muc Off, and you likely have a friend that has Orange Seal or some other credible brand. You preferably don't want to let that tire get fully deflated after this, as the tube can stick to itself - do note that high end tubulars are very likely to have latex tubes inside.

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Sealant may help, and its worth a try given that you will need some anyway.

As for width - you'll need to match the curve on your rims. Notice the middle image - the tyre will conform a little under pressure, but you really want to avoid the tyre "bending back on itself" as it passes out from under the rim into open air.

enter image description here

From https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/64993/19705

I found this posted in 2011

from the 303 tubular FAQ page: Recommended Tire Width 21-35mm

I'd be confident saying that 23 and 25 mm widths will fit perfectly, and a 27mm is very likely going to be fine.

Larger sizes become progressively more likely to fold or crease at that lip.

On the other hand - wider tubulars seem very hard to find so you may be limited in selection.


I've got some tubular wheels, with almost-new tyres fitted. They hang in the shed waiting for the right time to be used, like a Merckx time trial.

I tried commuting on them until I got a flat and had to walk for 5 hours, because you can't just swap tubes and roll on. For me, that makes tubulars "race day only" or perhaps in a velodrome.

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