Zipp Launches New Full Carbon 404 Clincher

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Speedway, Indiana, U.S.A. – Zipp Speed Weaponry has revealed details of the company’s highly anticipated 404 Carbon Clincher, the first deep-profile carbon clincher design to offer the superior aerodynamics, ride quality, strength, and handling of a wide rim body.

Available now through authorized Zipp retailers around the world, the 404 Carbon Clincher employs a radical new aerodynamic rim profile, dubbed Firecrest™, and exclusive materials technology developed in collaboration with Zipp’s composites supplier.

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As a result, the 404 Carbon Clincher reaches an unrivaled level of performance for clincher wheels and a total weight of just 1557 grams, putting it among the lightest deep-profile carbon clinchers available.

Zipp Technical Director Josh Poertner said, “This is a product that a lot of people have been waiting for, and we wanted to give them something unlike any other wheel on the market. We spent two years optimizing our carbon clincher technology and it’s probably the biggest leap forward we’ve ever made.”

To address the differences in airflow patterns between clincher tires and tubulars, Zipp engineers developed the fully toroidal Firecrest profile with a complex set of high-radius curves that adjust the width of the rim from 25.5mmm at the braking track to 27.5mm at its widest point.

This wider, less tapered version of the proven hybrid-toroidal profile used in Zipp’s previous clincher wheels particularly improves the aerodynamics of the rear wheel as it rotates within the frame and makes the 404 Carbon Clincher by far the most aerodynamic clincher wheelset in its class. The new rim shape also directs airflow so precisely that handling is noticeably improved.

As Zipp discovered with designs like the Paris-Roubaix-winning 303 Tubular, a wider rim also increases lateral stiffness for sprinting and cornering yet offers greater vertical compliance for more control and comfort on rough surfaces.

With clincher tires, the wide rim design offers even greater benefits, as the tire takes on a more stable shape that places more rubber on the road while cornering without adding rolling resistance. Increased air volume also reduces the likelihood of pinch flatting compared to narrower rims.

Because clincher tires are more susceptible than tubulars are to the effects of heat buildup from heavy braking on carbon surfaces, the 404 Carbon Clincher is manufactured with a heat-resistant resin based on the materials used in motorsports brake systems.

During the development process for the 404 Carbon Clincher, chemists and engineers from Zipp’s composites supplier made repeated visits to Zipp’s R&D lab to test and refine the new technology, which offers more consistent braking performance and prevents spikes in tire pressure on long descents.

According to Jim Douglas, Zipp product manager for wheels, “The versatility and popularity of the Zipp 404 made it a natural choice for carbon clincher. The performance characteristics of the 404, combined with the functionality of our carbon clincher and Firecrest rim shape will make it a success among triathletes and road racers alike.”

Indeed, the 58mm-deep 404 has long been a favorite of Zipp athletes for long-course triathlons, field sprints, rolling breakaways, and even mountain stages.

Like all Zipp carbon wheels, the 404 Carbon Clincher uses rims manufactured in-house by Zipp, premium Sapim CX-Ray spokes (16 front/20 rear), and US-made hubs with Swiss steel bearings.

Suggested retail price is $2700 U.S. per wheelset.
For more information –

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.

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  • Kenneth Trueman says:

    They had me at ‘Hello’.

  • chris says:

    Interesting that a wider wheel would be more aero?

  • J. Hamilton says:

    It’s funny that the test rider is using a Edge fork for a Zipp ad.

    1557 grams….hell my Edge 1.45 clinchers with DT240, XRay/20/24 come in at 1325.

  • cyc1 says:

    Too heavy! Back to the drawing board. Needs to be at least 300g less, If they really want to compete with Edge, Easton, Reynolds and Fulcrum. Not good good at all

  • jj says:

    About 800 grams lighter than my Vuelta Corsa HD wheelset but I paid $130 for the set.I’m in no hurry.Just love reliable.

  • Dave says:

    The market does dictate what companies think. So now Zipp is making a full carbon clincher? What about the “carbon” clinchers they make that have aluminum brake surfaces. It took them that long to solve the heat/braking problems? What was everyone else doing selling full carbon clinchers if this problem had not been taken care of yet ? A little too late with too much cost. $2,700 is not chicken feed for a 1557 gram wheel set.

  • Antonio Gutierrez says:

    For the first time all the public comments I am reading make terrible sense-normally the market follow up on those feelings…
    This new wheelset seems to appear in a moment when even one of the best wheelsets-Campagnolo Boras and Hyperons-are lowering their price for the new ONE models
    Why ZIPP is going the opposite, on the other hand what will happen to the rest of their line ? specially their best seller 808, are they going to fatten that wheelset too and increase the price ? maybe I should hold on my planned purchase

  • Cliveds says:

    The proof will be in the ride.

    Zipp are way ahead of many other wheel manufacturers, I would not knock these before you have tried them.

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