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If you've decided that a set of aero carbon race hoops are in your future, you might as well commit already and step into the abyss. After a pretty significant price drop this year, Zipp goods are looking more enticing than ever. Stop the endless nights of internet research and forum discussions and grab the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheel so you can get out and ride.
The great thing about the 404 is that it's deep, but not so singularly focused that you won't be able to take it out as a training wheel when you aren't racing. At 58mm, it's just about the last choice before you plunge fully into the deep-dish realm, where wind gusts can render a wheelset useless for a training ride or race. You'll still have to pay attention to wind with a 58mm carbon rim, but you'll also gain a noticeable advantage on the flats. Once you rev these rims up to speed, they won't want to come back down.
Eventually, you will have to bring your wheels back to earth for a major intersection or stoplight, and Zipp makes sure that you'll be able to by using a heat-resistant resin to craft the wheel's wide, 24.7mm brake track. Rather than squeezing the levers with a grimace and a prayer, you'll be able to slow down with control when you need to, which is especially crucial in a crowded race.
The 404's carbon construction certainly lends it aerodynamic advantage, but Zipp delivers further wind-cheating benefits by adding its Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) dimpling to the surface of each wheel, which help smooth airflow in a range of wind conditions, allowing you to slice cleanly through the air as you change direction throughout a race. Other important technology contributing to a smooth rolling wheelset includes Zipp's reliable 77/177 hubset, with improved seals against grit and water this year, as well as updated quick-release skewers that are now easier to hang onto and tuck more cleanly into the frame for less drag.
- Carbon fiber rim
- 58mm deep, 24.7mm brake track width
- Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control dimpling
- Zipp 77/177 hubs
- Heat-resistant resin brake track
- Max rider weight: 250lbs.
- Item #ZIP002R
- Q & A
Light, Fast, Stiff, & Dimples.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Zipp's new 58mm-deep Firecrest rim profile admittedly takes a while to get used to, what with its unusually fat width, nearly board-flat sides, and decidedly blunt nose but when out on the open road the only thing you're likely to think about is, 'holy crap, I'm flying!'
If your ultimate goal is flat-out speed and you're not interested in tubular's, there's a lot to like with Zipp's new 404 Carbon Clincher - they're fast with a big, fat, capital 'F' and offer handling stability in crosswinds unmatched by other aero wheels I've used.
Rims are great, but they needed to built into a wheel, so for 2016, the attention has been focused on improving their hubs. The new 77/177 hubset gets a precision bearing preload that's set at the factory rather than being user adjustable and a bigger 17mm axle.
The larger diameter axle provides a more robust connection in the frame and a stiffer platform for the bearings to roll on, which improves durability and performance.
The Zippy 404's are a high end wheel set that claims exceptional performance, but its most exceptional trait may be how good it is as an everyday wheel set.