A dimplomatic affair.
With the tidal change towards disc brakes finally pushing into road applications and multi-surface adventuring storming into popularity, companies are scrambling to update wheelsets for compatibility with a new generation of framesets. Zipp's 404 platform has long been a standout for its versatility and aerodynamics, dimplomatically smoothing relations between wind resistance and wheel surfaces for riders across the world. Now, Zipp brings it into the next generation as the 404 Firecrest Carbon Disc Brake Road Clincher Wheelset to pair with that shiny new disc-equipped whip.
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 16.25mm internal rim width 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 jumps and sharp corners.
Aerodynamics are a key element of the 404 Firecrest's versatility. It features 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 see 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 inevitably encounter out on the road.
At the center, Zipp uses its 77 disc hub on the front and its 177 disc hub on the rear for a smooth ride every time you clip in. Featuring a new platform and graphics for 2016, these hubs boast increased bearing protection over their predecessors and are ready to roll without any pre-load adjustment. The rear hub is compatible with a separately sold XD driver body, allowing options for a wider cassette range of up to a 10-42 if needed. As an added bonus, driver bodies can be swapped out without having to re--dish the wheel to get back up and running. Each wheel includes an updated quick release skewer with a widened handle that provides better leverage for setting the wheel and sits close to the frame when close for cleaner lines than previous skewers.
Each the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Disc Brake Road Clincher Wheelset comes with 12 x 100mm and 15 x 100mm end caps for the front wheel, or 12 x 135mm and 12 x 142mm end caps for the rear wheel. Each wheelset also includes Zipp Tangente quick release skewers, rim tape, and core valve extensions. The rear wheel is available with either a Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo 11-speed compatible freehub body.