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Zipp 1ZERO HITOP SW Review: The New Benchmark for Carbon XC Wheels

Zipp has finally entered the XC arena with its new 1ZERO HITOP wheels, and it's come out swinging. I rode the 1ZERO HITOP SW for two months, and was seriously impressed with their low weight and excellent composure in rough terrain. 

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Features

Zipp has been one of the leaders in carbon road wheels for decades, but they've only recently dabbled in mountain bike wheels. Their previous offering, the 3ZERO MOTO, was a beefy, single-wall trail and enduro wheel with impressive levels of compliance. Now, they’ve come out with a new lightweight carbon wheel designed to appeal to XC racers and weight-conscious riders: the 1ZERO HITOP. 

Zipp’s caps-locked and number-based wheel naming remains, but the super compliant single-wall rim design used on the 3ZERO MOTO is gone. Instead, the 1ZERO HITOP has a more traditional double-wall rim design, but it also uses a “HITOP” carbon lay-up that provides extra compliance. After spending the last two months hitting the trails on these wheels, I’m definitely impressed. 

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Zipp 1ZERO HITOP Highlights


  • 1,325 grams
  • 30mm internal rim width
  • ZM2 SL Hub w/ 66 points of engagement
  • Includes the new TyreWiz 2.0
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • $1,950.00

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  • 1,495 grams
  • 30mm internal rim width
  • ZM 900 Hub w/ 52 points of engagement
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • $1,350.00

    Zipp 1ZERO HITOP Overview

    Zipp 1ZERO HITOP SW Review LeadvileThere are three parts to the 1ZERO HITOP release. There are two versions of the wheel: the top-of-the-line 1ZERO HITOP SW and the slightly more affordable 1ZERO HITOP S. Released along with these two new models is the new Quarq TyreWiz 2.0, which is included with the 1ZERO HITOP SW, or it can be purchased separately for $120. 

    The wheels only come in Boost (15x110mm / 12x148mm) axle configurations and are centerlock only. The front hub comes with torque caps installed to work with newer RockShox forks, but it will also come with standard end caps to fit other forks. The rear freehub is available with SRAM XD or Shimano Micro Spline drivers. It also comes with a pair of centerlock lockrings for brake rotors.  

    The 1ZERO HITOP Carbon Rim

    Zipp 1ZERO HITOP ReviewAs I mentioned earlier, the 1ZERO HITOP uses “HITOP” technology in the rim, which as I understand it, refers to a proprietary carbon lay-up. Really, I have no clue what that means and Zipp doesn’t provide any specifics about what makes it proprietary (maybe it’s just marketing). Hopefully, the Zipp engineers will give us some more details in the future. 

    What I do know though is that compliance was one of the main design goals of the 1ZERO HITOP, and the carbon lay-up is intended to maximize vertical compliance without sacrificing the stiffness and snap we expect from carbon wheels.

    Zipp 1ZERO MOTO ReviewThe improved compliance is intended to both improve rider comfort and confidence by improving traction and composure in rough terrain. By absorbing impacts that are too small or at too high of a frequency for the suspension to respond, it helps riders stay glued to the trail and carry more speed through rough and chattery sections. 

    If you’re going to be moving faster in the rough stuff, then your wheels will need to hold up to some hard impacts too. Despite the impressively low 1,325-gram weight, the 1ZERO HITOP claims to have the durability required for trail bikes with up to 130mm of travel. If you do manage to crack it while riding, it has the requisite Lifetime Warranty, meaning Zipp will replace it. 

    There’s also another feature that I’m happy to see pop up on more MTB wheels: a wider flange or rim wall. Zipp calls it a “winged” rim, but it’s also known by a few other names. ENVE calls its version the “Wide Hookless Bead” while Roval calls it the “FlatTop Bead.”

    Zipp 1ZERO HITOP rim profileThe Zipp 1ZERO HITOP rim profile showing the "winged" rim.

    The concept is essentially the same for all of these rims. The rim wall is extended to be wider and flatter. This wider surface helps prevent pinch flats — where the rim flange cuts the tire when you bottom out your tire and experience a rim strike. If you don't run a tire insert, it’s a nice bit of extra insurance. I’ve had good luck with it on other wheels and I’m personally sold on the tech.


    Zipp 1ZERO HITOP SW vs 1ZERO HITOP SThe 1ZERO HITOP S is $600 cheaper and 170 grams heavier than the 1ZERO HITOP SW. The two wheels use the same carbon rims, so the difference is down to the hubs and spokes

    The 1ZERO HITOP SW uses lighter ZM2 SL hubs. The freehub mechanism uses an offset 6-pawl design with 66 points of engagement and it’s essentially the same design as the high-end ZR1 road hubs used on Zipp's Firecrest wheels. This is paired with Sapin CX Ray spokes and alloy nipples.

    The 1ZERO HITOP S uses a ZM 900 hub, which is essentially the SRAM 900 hub that has been around forever. It uses a 4-pawl design with 52 points of engagement, Sapim CX Sprint spokes, and alloy nipples.  

    The only other differences are the graphics and the inclusion of the new TyreWiz 2.0. The 1ZERO HITOP SW uses waterslide decals (in silver or blue to match the latest RockShox SID) that are baked onto the rim and clearcoated. The 1ZERO HITOP S uses adhesive decals that can be removed if desired. 

    If you’re already familiar with the TyreWiz, not much has changed with the TyreWiz 2.0 other than its shape. Instead of looking like a lollipop on your valve stem, it now fits more discreetly against the rim. It still connects to the SRAM AXS app, allowing you to see your tire pressure, accurately change pressure out on the trail, and get tire pressure recommendations. You can also connect it to a head unit to continuously monitor tire pressure. It weighs around 10 grams, is compatible with multiple rims shapes, and can be bought separately for $120. 

    My Zipp 1ZERO HITOP Ride Review

    Specialized Epic Evo Zipp 1ZERO HITOPThe 1ZERO HITOPs compliment a bike like my Specialized Epic Evo perfectly. 


    • Super light
    • Super composed in rough and techy sections
    • Relatively good value
    • They make you feel pretty fast


    • Do we need the TyreWiz?
    • Will the hub have enough engagement for you?

    My 1ZERO HITOP SW test wheelset arrived in early July, and immediately after opening the box, the wheels got passed around TPC so all the mechanics, sales reps, and any passersby could marvel at their weight. In your hand, they feel shockingly light. On the scale, with tape and TyreWizs already installed, my set actually came in under the claimed weight at 1,320 grams! 

    I set the wheels up with a pair of Vittoria Mezcals, which seated easily with a floor pump, and I slapped the wheels onto my Specialized Epic Evo. My bike is sort of downcountry, and I ride it hard, but I like to keep it light (it's under 23 lbs) and race my co-workers up every climb. The 1ZERO HITOPs fit its vibe perfectly. 

    Payson McElveen Leadville Zipp 1ZERO HITOPPayson McElveen (pictured here at Leadville), Alex Howes, Sarah Sturm, and Lance Haidet have already put these wheels to the test racing in the Life Time Grand Prix this year. 

    The 1ZERO HITOPs feel super light when you’re pedaling. They spin up quickly and make you feel like you can grind uphill in a gear harder than normal. For XC racing and long, tough climbs, it’s exactly what performance-focused riders will want. But you expect this from a sub-1,400-gram carbon wheelset, so I don’t think any of that should come as a surprise. 

    What did surprise me was how composed these wheels felt on descents — just as advertised. At 190 pounds geared up, I’m a heavier rider and I generally shy away from featherweight wheels, especially on a mountain bike. But within the first ride, I felt confident enough to let go of the brakes to straight-line through chunky sections of trail and slap the rear wheel hard into ruts and berms. I was able to ride as hard as I did with the Revel RW30s I had on my bike before. Over my test period, the durability of the wheels never felt like a concern. (Note: the wheels do have a 286lb/130kg rider + bike weight limit.)

    I even got to test out the “winged” rim. A week before I had to return the wheels, I came up short while trying to gap over some rocks and bottomed out my rear tire super hard on a square edge. There was a loud thud followed by an immediate hissing. I had punctured the tire, so I quickly inserted a tire plug. The rim itself came away completely unscathed. 

    The winged rim didn’t stop the puncture entirely, but it could have been much worse. In the past, a regular rim would also cut the tire near the bead, ruining your tire. With wider rim flanges, either the tire doesn’t puncture, or the puncture is mild and up by the tread where it is easily plugged. Both are preferable to a cut near the bead. With wide flanges, I’ve generally been experiencing fewer flats, which has emboldened me to run lightweight XC tires like the Vittoria Mezcal on regular trail rides. 

    On the topic of compliance, the 1ZERO HITOPs don’t actually feel any more comfortable than any of the other high-end carbon wheels I’ve tried. They don’t have the super noticeable compliance of Zipp’s 3ZERO MOTO wheels (which I honestly felt were too compliant). It’s more subtle.

    The 1ZERO HITOP simply feels calmer and more well-mannered many carbon wheels I've ridden. When you fly through a chattery section of roots or rocks, the wheels don’t get harsh or buzzy. They track well and don’t get knocked off line easily. I think they’re tuned just right for a short-travel bike

    After two months, I don’t really have any complaints. For some, the rear hub might not have enough engagement. But it’s fine for me, especially since I get along well with DT Swiss hubs which have less engagement. My freehub did pop a few times under load during my first ride, but once I got a few miles on it, it was rock solid. 

    TyreWiz 2.0 Zipp 1ZERO HITOPTyreWiz is neat, but not for me.

    Then there’s the TyreWiz 2.0. It works like the old TyreWiz, which is fine, but I didn’t really care for it. I use a fancy floor pump with a good digital gauge built in. I air up before every ride and never really change from my preferred pressures. My style is fairly set-and-forget, and I just don’t find TyreWizs to be particularly useful. I would rather save the extra grams, complexity, and cost. I will say though, that the pressures it recommended were very close to what I like to run, so there’s that. 

    Final Thoughts

    Zipp 1ZERO HITOP reviewThe feathery 1ZERO HITOP shines on the rough XC and trail rides.

    It’s often very hard to put the qualities of a particular wheel into words, whether positive or negative. I happen to ride a lot of different, very nice carbon wheels, and usually, I just buy the ones I like based on whatever gut feeling I have when I ride them. 

    All to say that the 1ZERO HITOPs felt very good to ride. So good that I missed them once I sent them back. Now, I’m actually planning to buy a set of wheels for myself to run on my Epic Evo for some future XC races. 

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    DT Swiss XRC 1200 SPLINE



    DT 180


    ENVE M5



    I9 Hydra


    Roval Control SL Carbon



    Roval / DT 180





    Zipp ZM2 SL


    Reserve 28|XC



    DT 240


    To me, the 1ZERO HITOP is also super appealing because of the price point. Compared to many other high-end, name-brand carbon XC wheels, you’re getting one of the lightest wheels on the market for a bit less money. Even better, it’s one of the few super light XC wheels with 30mm internal rims, my preferred width. 

    I was originally going to buy a set of Roval Control SL wheels for my Epic Evo, but now that the 1ZERO HITOP is an option, I’ve changed my mind. Sure, the Rovals are 85 grams lighter, but that’s not worth an extra $550 to me. 

    Is saving 170 grams worth $600 though? I think the slightly lower-end 1ZERO HITOP S wheels are actually the best deal at $1,350. The highlight of the 1ZERO HITOP is the rim, and that’s unchanged in the 1ZERO HITOP S. Most of the extra weight is concentrated around the hub, where it has less impact. Plus, with the slightly thicker Sapin CX Sprint spokes, they might be slightly stronger too. We’ll see what I end up with after Christmas! 

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