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2016 Zipp 404 650c Firecrest Carbon Clincher Front Wheel

  • 2016 Zipp 404 650c Firecrest Carbon Clincher Front Wheel
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2016 Zipp 404 650c Firecrest Carbon Clincher Front Wheel

Product Description

General Information

The Zipp 404 650c Firecrest Carbon Clincher is the same 404 you already know, only in the smaller 650c diameter. If you have 700c wheels on your bike, you don’t need these. But if you’re a shorter person riding a smaller frame, particularly one designed for timed events, you might well have 650c wheels in your bike. These wheels are for you.

The 404 is a great wheel that tilts ever –so-slightly towards aerodynamics over low weight. But those aero benefits are sufficiently large that when you’re going fast, the benefits outweigh the savings of a lighter wheel.

The 58mm deep rim features a blunt end and a max width of 26.53mm, to make this firmly a wide-body rim. The width works both for aerodynamics, where the curve of the rim comes close to matching the curve of the tire, making the leading and trailing edges nearly identical, better controlling airflow around the rim, particularly in crosswinds. The width also works for reducing rolling resistance, as the wider contact patch is shallower and the tire turns better with a shape that's closer to a U than a bulb.

Zipp upgraded the spokes to Sapim CX-Sprint and hubs to the new 77/177 set to make the wheel faster. You might not think these things matter, but they do. Simply put, the stronger spokes, the better bracing angles, improve lateral stiffness, which means that less of your energy gets lost by the wheel flexing. The pre-load adjustment of the 88/188 set is gone, simplifying things, as well as designing in lower lateral loading so the bearings roll more smoothly. The front flanges are taller, wider, and hold the spokes in a stronger position. The rear flanges are arranged in a star pattern, allowing for better bracing angles and yielding a strong cross-two pattern and higher tensions.

For rear wheels, Zipp offers both a Campagnolo-compatible, and Shimano/SRAM-compatible cassette body. The latter comes with a spacer for 8/9/10-speed cassettes. In both cases, the 177 hub body allows you to install a SRAM XD-cassette body for super-wide range gearing.

The 404 will make you faster, no matter where you put it and whether it goes in front or in back. That written, pairing the 404 front with a 404 rear is common. Some folks will pair the 404 front with a deeper rear, like an 808 or a disc, taking advantage of the greater stability of the shallower front in crosswinds. Likewise, some folks will run a shallower front, like a 303, with 404 rear, for the same idea, just in different applications.

The wheel is delivered with a Zipp quick release skewer and Zipp Platinum Pro brake pads. Both have been updated: the skewer for better ergonomics and aerodynamics, and the pads for greater pad surface area as well as cooling. Zipp strongly recommends use of their pads on their rims and warns against using carbon-specific pads on aluminum rims.
Also included are Zipp rim strip, valve extender, and Zipp Tangente butyl road inner tubes. Zipp has taken innovation in their system to a new level with these tubes, which feature an aluminum, rather than brass, valve stem. Lighter, better-machined, and possessing a removable valve core. It also improves the balance of the spinning wheel. The wheels are not designed for compatibility with tubeless systems.

The Zipp 404 650c Firecrest Carbon Clincher means big aero gains for smaller riders.

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