For 2015, Zipp has introduced their most advanced and refined 404’s to date. In an effort to eke out the last mile of performance, nearly every surface is tweaked to make these Zipp’s fastest and brake-iest carbon clinchers to date.
I’ll start off with the features that are visible in the above image. You’ll notice a modified dimpling pattern that I’m told is considerably more wind-cheating (keep reading for more on this). But, the feature I’m psyched about most are the micro grooves you’ll notice in the new Silicon Carbide brake track. Zipp calls this Showstopper, and with it you’ll reportedly experience stopping performance on par with traditional aluminum braking surfaces. That alone is something to cheer about.
The clincher bead is also 1mm wider than the standard 404’s, giving you straighter sidewalls with wider tires. Wider is better and running 25mm tires with these 404’s just got a little sweeter.
What’s also astounding is that the revised aerodynamics represent a 34% decrease in side force over their Firecrest equivalents. The wind-cheating performance also gives riders increased confidence on technical descents with variable cross winds and conditions such as the consistent crosswinds so prevalent on races such as Ironman Kona World Championships.
Something else to note with the 404 Firestrike’s is the addition of a new hubset that eliminates the need for pre-load adjustments and includes ceramic bearings.
Zipp 404 Firestrike key features:
- Refined lay-up process delivers the most durability Zipp has produced
- Revised, waved dimpling pattern for improved wind performance
- Showstopper features a molded-in groove pattern with Silicon Carbide surface
- Revised 88/188v10* hubs with ceramic bearings
- 17.25mm clincher bead
- Titanium skewers
- Price: $3600 ($1625/front and $1975/rear)
Zipp 404 Firestrike Launch Video
The Bottom Line
There’s now way around the awesomeness going on here, but there’s also no ignoring the wallet-busting price — $3600 for wheels isn’t for everyone. Zipp is producing these in limited quantities, but if you so desire, they can be yours. If you need to squeeze out every last watt and demand foul-weather performance, the new 404 Firestrike wheels are going to be hard to beat.