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2016 Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Front Wheel

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

Product Description

General Information

If there is a happy medium in the Zipp line, one where the intersections of aerodynamics and weight cross, leaning towards the aero, it’s with their 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher. And it’s been improved with the addition of the 77/177 hub set.

The new hubs are a marked improvement over the old. 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 holds the spoke 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, also thanks to Sapim CX-Sprint spokes, meaning the wheels will barely deflect under the highest-torque loads. The hubs are lighter, too.

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.

Cool fact about the external spoke nipples. When they are on the trailing edge, the wind flow is such they are invisible to the wind.

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 he 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 a Zipp rim strip, valve extender, and Zipp Tangente butyl road inner tube. Zipp has taken innovation in their system to a new level with this tube, which features 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 wheel is not designed for compatibility with tubeless systems.

The Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher has gotten stronger and faster.

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