All Around Advancement
If you had to choose just one wheel, the 404 Firecrest should be your choice. With the depth and shape proven in all conditions, it’s the all-around performer and the standard by which all other wheels are measured. Its 58mm rim depth is a classic all-around performer that has carried athletes to victory in every kind of event and situation – every triathlon distance, breakaways, field sprints and hilly finishes.
The 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher is where the Firecrest® Revolution began as the first deep-profile carbon clincher design to offer the superior aerodynamics, ride quality, strength and handling of a wider rim body. Yet the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher weighs 1,690 grams per set, providing best-in-class performance at a light weight.
At the center of the 404 Firecrest is Zipp’s 77/177 hubset with best-in-class durability and improved bearing protection with no pre-load adjustment needed. The result is improved stiffness, durability, simplicity and versatility.
Precision-engineered hubs along with Firecrest technology create something special. Designed specifically to account for the differences in airflow patterns between clincher tires and tubulars, the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher exceeds the aero performance of any other clincher wheelset in its class. As Zipp proved with the pioneering (and Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders-winning) 303 Tubular, a wider rim offers greater vertical compliance for control and comfort on rough surfaces while increasing lateral stiffness for sprinting and cornering. The same holds true for Firecrest rims with clincher tires. And because the hook beads are farther apart, the tire itself takes on a more stable shape without adding rolling resistance.
Heavy continuous braking on carbon surfaces can cause spikes in rim temperature and tire pressure that impact performance and handling – especially with clincher tires. To solve this challenge, our U.S.-based composites supplier created a heat-resistant resin exclusively for Zipp. This technology improves heat dissipation so substantially that our Carbon Clinchers have never had a heat-related failure.
Available in two decal options, the stealthy Matte Black or the distinctive Matte White decals. Each 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher wheel comes with Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads, Zipp Integrated Valve Extender with valve-core wrench, rim tape and quick release.
Front wheel: $950 / €1,000
Zipp 404/808 Firecrest combo, Editors Choice 22- Triathlon February 2014 [pdf]
"Still one of the best wheelsets around, this is why other companies compare themselves to Zipp"
Click on PDF to read full review
Best in Class: Thrive on any ride April 2013 [pdf]
The 2013 Triathlete Magazine Buyer's Guide named the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher as its Best In Class wheelset. "Whether you want a wheel upgrade for races only or to make everyday rides more fun, the Zipp 404 excels in every way," the magazine concluded.
Click on PDF to read full review
Zipp called leader in carbon clinchers January 2013 [pdf]
Great Britain's Cycling Plus magazine reports Zipp at forefront of testing and developing carbon clinchers.
"Talkin' 'bout a revolution" August 2011 [pdf]
Brad Culp of Lava Magazine reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher...
I’ve never used the word “best” in a product review. Never have I tested a bike, or a pair of bib shorts, or anything else that I’ve been convinced is the single “best” product in a certain market. That changed after my first ride on the Firecrest 404 Carbon Clinchers. I can say without a doubt that these are the best all-around wheels I have ever tested—and I’ve tested a lot of wheels.
NYVeloCity.com review the Zipp 404 and 808 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers here...
Firecrest Profile The biggest new feature of the Firecrest wheels is the rim shape. Zipp had the obvious (in retrospect) epiphany that the rim should be optimized to cut through the air with the tire as both the leading and trailing edge. A quick perusal of the latest offerings from Hed, Enve, 3T, and Shimano would seem to suggest that Zipp are on to something. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Firecrest profile completely supplants the familiar vee shape in a few years.
"Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher" August 2011
Florida Racing Magazine Reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher here...
The Bottom Line: All-round I love these wheels, I will be recommending them with confidence and I will be working hard to buy a pair for myself. Retail on a pair is $2700 which is steep but well worth it if you are contemplating dropping this kind of cash to keep from getting dropped.
"Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher" August 2011 [pdf]
Florida Cycling Magazine reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher…
The shape of the Firecrest rim also really improves handling. It essentially allows the air to stay attached to the rim, improving aero performance and moving the center of pressure of the wheel behind the steering axis. This allows the wind to have less torque when pushing the wheel, actually allowing the wheel to self-correct into the wind.
"Map My Ride Aquaphor Le Tour Challenge" August 2011
Patrick Brady reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher as part of the Aquaphor Le Tour Challenge. Read the entire review here...
"Zipp's New Shape" July 2011
Tri-Magazine.net takes a closer look at the new Firecrest rim shape. Click here for the full story.
"Brand New Kit" February 2011 [pdf]
Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers receive the TriathlonPlus Peak Performer Award.
"Zipp Reinvents the Wheel." February 2011 [pdf]
Cycling Weekly takes a closer look at the new Firecrest platform.
"Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Review" February 2011
Cyclingtipsblog.com reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher here.
TriRig.com First Look at the Zipp Firecrest 404 December 2010
Check out the first look at the Zipp Firecrest 404 Carbon Clinchers here.
"The Racing Post" Reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers November 2010 [pdf]
So, are they worth it? If you aren’t currently riding aero wheels, then the answer is an unequivocal yes. It’s a great all-around wheel that will stand up to everyday use and makes sense across a variety of conditions.
If you are already own race wheels, I’ll leave you with this: I’ve never been more excited about a set of race wheels; not when I got GP4s, not when I got Heliums in ‘99, not when I had the first set of Ksyriums in the city a few years later. In the words of Ferris Bueller “it is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
New Peloton Magazine Reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher November 2010 [pdf]
The all new Peloton Magazine reviewed has reviewed the new Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher. Check out what they have to say in their very first issue.
"Reviewed: Zipp Firecrest 404 Carbon Clincher" October 2010 [pdf]
Lava Magazine reviews the all new Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher.
"2010 Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers." October 2010
Liberty Sports Magazine Reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers. Click here.
"How Carbon Fiber Takes Your Wheelset Up a Notch" October 2010 [pdf]
Check out "How Carbon Fiber Takes Your Wheelset Up a Notch" by Christopher Kautz in the September 2010 issue of Triathlete.
"Wind Cheating Wheels Reviewed." October 2010 [pdf]
Aaron Hersh of Triathlete explores the evolution in rim shape and reviews several aerodynamic wheelsets.
ProCycling's Wish List October 2010 [pdf]
404 Carbon Clinchers in ProCycling's Wish List.
With the new proprietary Firecrest rim shape in our 202, 303, 404 and 808 Firecrest wheels, Zipp wheels make a bigger difference in more ways than ever. Not only is Firecrest more aerodynamic than any other rim design, it improves handling in crosswinds and overall ride quality.
Our superior Carbon Clincher technology is the culmination of two years of intensive prototyping and testing. We worked with our composites supplier to develop an exclusive heat-resistant resin based on the materials used in motorsports brake systems. This proprietary technology improves heat management so substantially that all Zipp Carbon Clinchers pass stringent CEN safety standards.
ABLC™ (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control)
Advanced Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) refers to the patented and instantly recognizable dimpled pattern found on all of our carbon rims. ABLC smoothes airflow across the rim's surface and is tailored to every model from the 202 to the Super-9 Disc. The third-generation of ABLC has up to four times more dimples than before.
VCLC™ (Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control)
Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control (VCLC) uses a vibration-absorbing material sandwiched between layers of rigid carbon laminate in the rim. When the wheel receives an impact from the road, much of the shock is absorbed by the VCLC system, delivering a 10% reduction in vibration.
Electron Discharge Machining allows us to cut the materials for our rear hub drive internals after they’ve been hardened through heat treating, negating the warping and imprecision caused by the heat-treating process.
Zipp is the only company specifying Swiss made highly specialized ball bearing cartridges. Working with a family owned Swiss bearing manufacturer, Zipp is able to attain a superior level of bearing smoothness and long life. Zipp ball bearings are specified to 10 millionths of an inch tolerance, guaranteeing that they are at least 2.5 times rounder and better matched than most company’s “high precision” balls, and more than five times tighter than most “precision” balls.