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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After my early morning ride today, I received a phone call from my good friend at my local bike shop. He told me that they had just received a set of the coolest clinchers ever.... the 404 firecrest carbon clincher. Their first set in our area, I am sure.

I was pissed because he knows that I have a weakness for wheels.... I just had to see them. So, after a couple of hours of thought and contemplation, I made my way to the shop to check them out.

I could not put them down. I could not let them go. They came home with me.

I think that they make my bike look pretty good.... what do you think???

Oh, and check Zipp's new skewers that came with the wheels. I am super stoked about the wheels and can't wait to put some miles on them.

:D
 

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what is the weight??? and about skewers?? good review?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Rode them today.... love them! Here is my short review...

I know what you mean.... Zipp's are over hyped and over priced, but you have to admit that they make some good quality stuff. Even more so since SRAM is running things. I still compare them to Edge and Reynolds which are just as good quality and possibly better value. But, there are some of us out there that do like Zipp's. To each his own.

With that all said, I have just returned from a great team ride and I put in 75 miles on the wheels now. I can sum the wheels up in one word for ride quality and looks.... Awesome!

The first thing that you will notice about the wheels is that they feel thicker than the earlier Zipp's. They did the same thing as their 303's. They are super stout and super stiff!! I hammered them on the road, on the hills, and just about anywhere that I could. They are not the lightest out there, but they did spin up pretty nice for the hard accelerations.

There were sections on the road that were a little bumpy and crappy in sections, plus there were several hard railroad crossing sections. I just hit those section as I normally would. Don't get me wrong, I was still prudent to some extent, but I wanted to see how the wheels would respond to hard bumps or things in the road. They felt great! No issues or a sense of uneasiness at all.

Due to the wider profile of the rim that made for a better feeling wheel going into tight turns. The wheels are stiff and I felt like I was riding on rails. The wheels and tires just hooked up. As far as tires go, I am running Continental GP 4000's and they did well.

One of you asked about the braking surface and braking in general. Well, I am running Swiss Stop yellow brake pads and at first I was thinking that they felt a little different then my Zipp 404 tubulars when it came to braking. There was a difference and I felt like the braking on the carbon clinchers was lacking some. However, I will say this... we were bombing down a serious downhill section of road. I was not familiar with the road nor was I familiar with what was at the bottom, which was a 4 way stop. I was third wheel and just hauling when all of a sudden I realized that I needed to stop and stop quickly. I immediately got a handful of brake and started to modulate. I did not lock up the wheels, but the bike came to a good stop within a fairly short distance. Ok, I was now a good believer in that the initial feeling was just something of not. I have complete faith in the wheels when I need to brake hard. Also, there was no pulsating or weird noises or anything out of the braking whether it was a hard brake or modulation or whatever. Things worked just great. And quite honestly, the braking on my 404 tubulars is a little more noisy... go figure.

The wheels are just plain awesome. I am very happy to have them and they are quite the looker on the bike. I kept getting lots of compliments from my team and some were quite jealous.

These wheels are now my go to wheels for anything and everything. Quality wheels for racing, training, or whatever.

Plus, it appears that the nipples are actually drilled right this time where the nipples are truly at an angle and are not straight like they normally are.

If you have the means and just need to try out a set, I would definitely say go for it. As stated earlier, there is always Edge and Reynolds, which also makes great stuff, but Zipp has really improved the design and performance of the new 404 carbon clincher and the new 303, which I hope to be able to get for CX season this year.

Let me know if you have any further questions.
 

· More carbon fiber please!
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Nice looking wheels. Just wish that most carbon clinchers were a lot lighter. I just find it hard to want to add 1/2 lb of rotating weight (or more in some cases) by going from my current wheelset to carbon. And as much as I love c/f it's damn hard for me to resist anyhow, lol.
 

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been200mph said:
Nice looking wheels. Just wish that most carbon clinchers were a lot lighter. I just find it hard to want to add 1/2 lb of rotating weight (or more in some cases) by going from my current wheelset to carbon. And as much as I love c/f it's damn hard for me to resist anyhow, lol.
Could always save weight, $, and increase performance with tubulars. I'm not bashing carbon clinchers, but I train with heavier alloy clinchers and race with carbon tubulars.
 

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Lookin good

Thanx 4 your first impression very informative. Bike lookin good, I've a question comparing the new wheels with your tubular which one you think its easy to maintain a higher average speed?

I'm thinking about getting a new set and doing some research right now I've few brands on my list and 404 are on it, but I also waiting for more info on a new product from madfiber their prices and weight, its really appealing.

http://www.madfiber.com/


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
pvflyer said:
Thanx 4 your first impression very informative. Bike lookin good, I've a question comparing the new wheels with your tubular which one you think its easy to maintain a higher average speed?

I'm thinking about getting a new set and doing some research right now I've few brands on my list and 404 are on it, but I also waiting for more info on a new product from madfiber their prices and weight, its really appealing.

http://www.madfiber.com/


Thanks
I think that my 404 tubulars are able to hold speed over distance due to the lower weight of the wheel. Less rotational weight will always win in my opinion.

I love the CF wheels as well. Those madfibers look interesting no doubt. Let us know how it works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
been200mph said:
Nice looking wheels. Just wish that most carbon clinchers were a lot lighter. I just find it hard to want to add 1/2 lb of rotating weight (or more in some cases) by going from my current wheelset to carbon. And as much as I love c/f it's damn hard for me to resist anyhow, lol.
I know what you mean about the added rotational weight of most carbon clinchers over a tubular. If there weren't the PITA factor associated with maintaining tubulars I would be riding them everyday instead of just for races. With my new set of Zipps the weight at 1530 grams is not that bad. Yes there is about a half of pound additional rotational weight but the wheels ride great and plus they give the appearance of a tubular. My bike as pictured weighs 15.5 lbs and that is not too shabby. With my tubulars my bike weighs 14.8 by way of comparison.
 

· More carbon fiber please!
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mdutcher said:
I know what you mean about the added rotational weight of most carbon clinchers over a tubular. If there weren't the PITA factor associated with maintaining tubulars I would be riding them everyday instead of just for races. With my new set of Zipps the weight at 1530 grams is not that bad. Yes there is about a half of pound additional rotational weight but the wheels ride great and plus they give the appearance of a tubular. My bike as pictured weighs 15.5 lbs and that is not too shabby. With my tubulars my bike weighs 14.8 by way of comparison.
I didn't mean tubulars. I meant over some aluminum clinchers. My AC CR-350 wheelset is barely over 1300g. With those on my TCR ready to ride (with computer, two Arundel cages, Blackburn frame pump, seat pack housing a spare tube/tire lever/allen wrenches) it's 16.26 pounds. Stripped bare with just the bike itself it comes in at barely over 15 pounds even. This is with a saddle weighing over 200g. As much as I love carbon fiber I just don't do the kind of riding to justify carbon tubulars, and I have not seen many clinchers that are below 1300g which have good braking performance and durability. So, I'll live happily with my sub-$400 pr of 1300g wheels. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
been200mph said:
I didn't mean tubulars. I meant over some aluminum clinchers. My AC CR-350 wheelset is barely over 1300g. With those on my TCR ready to ride (with computer, two Arundel cages, Blackburn frame pump, seat pack housing a spare tube/tire lever/allen wrenches) it's 16.26 pounds. Stripped bare with just the bike itself it comes in at barely over 15 pounds even. This is with a saddle weighing over 200g. As much as I love carbon fiber I just don't do the kind of riding to justify carbon tubulars, and I have not seen many clinchers that are below 1300g which have good braking performance and durability. So, I'll live happily with my sub-$400 pr of 1300g wheels. :)
You do have a nice bike and if you are happy with what you have, then by all means stick with it. Your bike is light already... wow!

But think about this.... An aluminum 1300g clincher is nice to have no doubt. What you do lack is the aero advantage though. My 404 tubulars weigh in at 1250 grams. That doesn't seem like a huge weight savings over your current setup though. But, what my wheels would give is added aero efficiency and could possibly save you anywhere from 45 seconds to a couple of minutes over a 40km effort depending on your level of effort. For example, Zipp actually claims that their new 101 aluminum clincher will save 42 seconds over a 40km effort as compared to other aluminum clinchers out there. That is due to the aero rim of the 101 (small, but still aero somewhat).

But, like you said, there is the $ aspect of it all. $400 for your wheels compared to $2K for a nice set of tubulars. That is hard to swallow for some, but then again, that 45 seconds or even a couple of minutes over a 50 mile ride or race might make the difference between finishing on the podium or middle of the pack and that is why most serious racers will opt to pay the big bucks.
 

· More carbon fiber please!
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Yep, if I raced then I'd opt for a more aero wheelset. But generally I ride for recreation and also to stay in shape for hockey during the off-ice months. I upgraded the frameset this season for more encouragement to ride the road bike instead of just the mtb, lol. Thus I can't justify the $ for light tubulars although if a set came up for the right price... I'd consider them.
 

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been200mph said:
Nice looking wheels. Just wish that most carbon clinchers were a lot lighter. I just find it hard to want to add 1/2 lb of rotating weight (or more in some cases) by going from my current wheelset to carbon. And as much as I love c/f it's damn hard for me to resist anyhow, lol.
Edge 45 rims are <400g.
 

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mdutcher said:
I think that my 404 tubulars are able to hold speed over distance due to the lower weight of the wheel. Less rotational weight will always win in my opinion.

I love the CF wheels as well. Those madfibers look interesting no doubt. Let us know how it works out for you.
It's the other way around - the heavier clincher wheels will hold speed better than the lighter tubs, all else being the same and assuming all the weight difference is in the rim.
 

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Tires ??

Very nice. Looks like you have Continentals on them ?? A friend has one - I'll be sending him one of the new Bontrager R4 Aero tires to test fit and ride next week. I'll post some comments on his impressions. You should really go with some fast tires and latex to tubes to honor those new wheels. :D
 
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