ZIPP SPEED WEAPONRY WHEELS
Zipp Speed Weaponry 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset
- Item: ZIP0209 Claimed Weight:"Claimed Weight" is an unconfirmed weight provided by the manufacturer. 1525 g
Back in the early days of carbon clinchers, four or five years ago, it wasn't unusual to feel like we were getting all of the drawbacks and none of the benefits of each. They were heavy, and in very bad situations, the carbon braking surfaces could not withstand the braking forces required for mountain descending. With the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset, not only do we emerge from the Dark Ages of carbon clinchers, we warp ahead to what is surely a cycling Utopia.
In order to offer the best of carbon and clincher properties, Zipp focused much of its R&D efforts in creating the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers. Making a clincher out of carbon was really an effort in reinventing the wheel. As far back as 2004, Zipp was running tests to see just how much energy a carbon clincher rim could withstand -- not only from the heat of the breaking, but also from the pressure of the inner tube pushing against the rim wall. What Zipp found was that if the wheels were built based on aluminum designs, it wasn't able to withstand much energy at all. So, Zipp's engineers started exploring alternate resin suppliers. This was easier said than done. It needed new suppliers for a product that didn't quite exist -- a resin that could take the heat while still being tough enough to withstand the road impact. Upon finding a manufacturer that could conjure this magic, Zipp was able to create a rim that has a resin with a glass transition temperature that's 100 degrees Fahrenheit higher than any other wheelset. The 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher rims can withstand more energy and greater temperatures than the best tubes and tires. That means that you can push these rims as far, or further, than aluminum clinchers.
But, the innovations don't end there. These 404s have been completely redesigned by Zipp using its groundbreaking Firecrest rim shape. The new design comes from Zipp's knowledge that focusing on how the shape of the back half of the rim can become a second leading edge improves aerodynamics. Zipp being Zipp, this meant that it went through many iterations before finalizing the Firecrest. And though its profile may appear a little bland, it is anything but. The complexity of the rim shape performed so well in the wind tunnel that the Firecrest 404s returned better numbers than the 808s used in the 2010 Tour. In fact, they performed well across the board, regardless of tire width or wind direction.
Not only were the aero benefits off the charts, but it became clear that at critical yaw angles, the handling became more stable than any Zipp wheel, or for that matter, any competitor's wheel. The 404s are now easier to handle in cross winds than the 303s, for instance. By optimizing the back half of the rim, the center of pressure caused by the wind is pulled back behind the hub so that the crosswind becomes much more predictable. The wind essentially hits the wheel on the steering axis, taking away the lever effect that typically happens when the wind catches the front half of the rim. This makes the wheel feel like it self-corrects with little need for input from the operator. Saxo Bank's Baden Cooke said it felt like the wheel rode within the wind and not against it.
Aside from these advancements, the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset also offers the VCLC vibration-dampening properties that give you as soft a ride as possible. Combined with the aero dimpling, you'll be saving so much energy that by the end of a five hour ride over rough roads, you'll still have enough snap in your legs to take the final sprint.
For the build, Zipp laced the 404 rims to its own proprietary hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes. The front uses 16, radially laced to a Zipp 88 front hub. For the rear, 20 are laced radially on the drive-side, cross on non-drive, to a Zipp 188 rear hub.
The Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Wheelset comes in the color Black with either Black or White Zipp decals. It is available with either Shimano or Campagnolo compatible freehub bodies, and the Shimano option is also compatible with the new Shimano Dura Ace 9000 11-speed shift system. The wheelset weighs in around 1525 grams, and it comes with a set of Zipp quick-release skewers and Zipp's Tangente Platinum Pro brake pads.
Please Note: Zipp's Tangente Platinum Pro and cork brake pads are designed specifically for use with their carbon clinchers. Use of brake pads other than these is highly recommended against and will void the wheel warranty.