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Spotted: Zipp Cognition Hubs – Tubular Edition

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Currently only offered to the general public on Zipp’s 303, 404 and 808 NSW (Nest Speed Weaponry) Carbon Clinchers – the Peloton Service Course spotted some matte black Zipp Cognition hubs mated to 404 tubulars on Sir Bradley Wiggins’ black swan, the Pinarello Dogma F8 we saw on Sunday in Mission Bay, San Diego as the Tour of California rolled out. NSW wheels represent the cutting edge of Zipp technology and as such, cost north of $3000 a set. These hubs, on Wiggin’s tubular 404’s, may foreshadow NSW technology trickling down to the rest of Zipp’s wheels. 


RELATED: Read more on the Dogma F8 and the Bikes of ATOC 2016.

The Zipp Cognition hubset we spotted uses a magnetic ratchet system to reduce the friction that occurs in the freehub when a rider is free-wheeling. Traditional hubs act like a drum brake, incrementally slowing the wheel and bicycle down via the drag occurring between the driver body and hub shell. Increased drag found in this freehub construction can contribute directly to chain-dropping problems on top of slowing down the rear wheel itself. Zipp has developed what they are calling AxialClutch technology inside the new Cognition hubsets, to reduce this drag by more fully disengaging the ratchet mechanism when coasting.

Zipp Cognition Hubs

Since the bike’s momentum is less impeded with a Cognition hub, the rider can pedal less over rolling terrain, when sheltered in the peloton or exiting and entering corners to save energy. Once the rider begins to pedal from a coasting state during any of these scenarios, six magnets inside the rear hub work together to engage a 36-tooth ratchet for instant power transfer and increased acceleration time. These six magnets push the inboard ratchet ring away from the hubshell and instantly lock onto the outboard ratchet. In turn, the outboard driver body engagement is quick and the bike begins moving forward in a flash.


Zipp claims this design and use of the AxialClutch technology in the Cognition hubset will have increased durability, exhibit rapid rolling performance all while creating a laterally stiff feel on the road with significantly decreased freehub friction. Lastly, Zipp has made the Cognition rear hub compatible with their XDR driver, so riders looking to run a wide gear range with SRAM’s 1×11 setup can easily install a 10×42 cassette on the hub.

When, and if, this technology on a set of tubbies will be available for the general public remains to be seen. Stay in the loop by following updates from the #PelotonServiceCourse online or on our social media accounts @pelotonmagazine.


  • Front hub: 110 grams, 18-hole
  • Rear hub: 225 grams, 24-hole, Swiss stainless steel ABEC 5 bearings
  • Bearings come precision set from the factory, there is no set screw or bearing pre-load option
  • 17mm axle
  • 10 degrees of engagement
  • MSRP 404 NSW Clincher : $1,350 front/$1,750 rear