Zoom power for your ride.
The Zipp 404 holds a prestigious place in the heart of many a cyclist as the go-to all-around wheelset that will speed through any road challenge. Whether you're attacking the field in a local criterium, flying across a windy time trial course, or making the pack suffer across rolling terrain, the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheel delivers amazing versatility and a smooth ride quality.
The 404 is one of the more ambitious wheels in the Zipp line. Designed to bring near-tubular feel to the clincher world, the 404 Firecrest features an aerodynamic 58mm rim depth and a wide, 24.73mm brake track that gives the tire a solid platform to reduce instability caused by the side bulge effect found in tires mounted to narrower rims. Zipp testing shows that this design creates a more stable structure, providing greater radial compliance for a comfortably controlled ride over rough road surfaces. At the same time, this design also increases lateral stiffness for snappy sprints and railing corners.
To address the issue of carbon rims overheating under prolonged braking, Zipp incorporates a special heat-resistant resin in the carbon layup to increase heat dissipation and reduce potential for rim failure. Zipp claims that use of this resin has led to an impeccable record of zero heat-related rim failures, so you can ride those big descents with confidence that these rims will shepherd you safely onto the next valley floor.
Aerodynamics are a key element of the 404 Firecrest's versatility. They feature an updated version of Zipp's signature Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) dimpling, which uses strategically placed and sized dimples across the rim's surface to smooth airflow and reduce drag. ABLC boasts aerodynamic advantages at real-world yaw angles of ten to 20 degrees, which compares favorably to many wheels that feature minimum drag numbers at yaw angles of only five to ten degrees — conditions that rarely occur outside of a wind tunnel. In non-techy talk, that means these wheels outperform the competition in the conditions you'll encounter out on the road.
At the center, Zipp uses its updated 77 hub on the front and its 177 hub on the rear. They feature a new platform and graphics for 2016 for increased bearing protection compared to their predecessors. The rear hub is compatible with a separately sold XD driver body, allowing options for a wider cassette range of up to a 10-42t, so they're compatible with SRAM's new one-by drivetrains. As an added bonus, driver bodies can be swapped out without having to re-dish the wheel. Each wheel includes an updated quick release skewer with a widened handle that provides better leverage while installing the wheel and sits closer to the frame when closed.
Each Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheel comes with a set of Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads, a Zipp Integrated Valve Extender with valve-core wrench, rim tape, and a quick release skewer. The rear wheel is available with either a Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo 11-speed compatible freehub body. Please note that the Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads are designed specifically for use with Zipp's carbon rims. Zipp also recommends a maximum rider weight of 250lb for these wheels.
- 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.
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Reviews & Community
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.