- - Zipp Rolls Out 404 Firestrike Tubular Wheelset

Zipp Rolls Out 404 Firestrike Tubular Wheelset


Zipp rolled out the new tubular version of its popular 404 Firestrike wheelset this week, calling it the “most advanced race wheel ever”.

Zipp launched the clincher version of the 404 Firestrike last year, thus whetting the appetite for a much anticipated “sewn-up” version.

The 404 tubulars feature Zipp’s Carbon Shield technology, which utilizes a new carbon layup method that equates into a far more durable and impact resistant outer rim. To wit:

“The Carbon Shield is achieved through a new ply orientation of unidirectional carbon and mould tooling design to achieve the optimal laminate properties for a Firestrike rim,” says Zipp.

“This new process was verified and refined in 2013 during test riding sessions with top riders from one of Zipp’s UCI ProTeams. These sprinters and strongmen hammered away on prototype wheels built with a variant of Carbon Shield on le Carrefour de l’Arbre, one of Paris-Roubaix’ punishing five-star cobblestone sectors. The pros took repeated test runs on the cobbles at race speed, including with lower than normal air pressure, yet the rims remained undamaged.”

In addition, the new Firestrike features Zipp’s ImPress direct-print black razor graphics – a process that involves printing the graphics directly  onto the rims rather than using decals, which not only enhances wheel’s appearance, but saves weight as well.

Furthermore , the wheels incorporate Zipp’s 88/188v10 hubs, which are fitted with preloaded CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings, thus reducing both resistance and weight.

The 404 Firestrike rim, shares many of the same design cues as the brand’s current 404 Firecrest; namely, a 58mm rim profile, albeit with a slightly wider width of 27.8mm versus 26.53 of the Firecrest’s 26.53mm, and a brake track that’s a bit taller too. 

Additionally, the wheels also feature newly designed titanium quick-release skewers, which make use of a wider handle for better leverage.

According to Zipp, they achieved a 34% reduction in side force with the new Firestrike, while its aerodynamic properties remained unhindered..

In addition, the wheels feature Zipp’s “Showstopper” braking technology, which creates a unique pattern that’s molded into the brake track with the addition of a silicon carbide (SiC) surface that’s designed to improve wet weather braking.

Moreover, Zipp claims, wheels equipped with its Showstopper technology, “deliver greater stopping power in wet conditions than any [other] carbon wheel ever produced, offering braking on par with aluminum braking surfaces”. Also, the surface is said to not wear out brake pads inordinately either.

The 404 tubulars are built using Sapin CX-Ray spokes, with 18 x 24 pattern front and tear.

Zipp puts the the tubulars at 1395g per set, which is almost a 300g reduction in weight over their clincher counterparts.

The wheelset comes equipped with QR skewers, valve extenders, individual wheel bags, Zipp’s Platinum Pro Evo brake pads.

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