Zipp 404 Firecrest Tubular Review

zipp 404 firecrest tubular wheelset

Once again, Zipp have proved themselves in their latest update of their 404 wheels. They are sure to be the most versatile, predictable and significantly comfortable wheelset released onto market yet, which makes them a solid contender for the aero all-rounder title.

Zipp’s rim profile stands out because it is distinctly blunt nosed and fat bodied, which is where their Firecrest tag came from. The rim profile has been designed with these unique qualities in order to manage the leading, as well as the trailing, edge airflows, which then shift the aerodynamic centre of the wheel backwards to the hub instead of towards the front edge, as you often find with regular wheels.

You’ll be able to notice this effect straight away, as you won’t come across the ‘tramlining’ effect, which so often occurs with 60mm wheels. You’ll also find that you won’t have to battle against it snatching the steering when you’re cycling in windy conditions and although you will still be pushed to the sides by gusts of wind, it will be predictable and you’ll have a lot more control.

Without testing the wheels by riding through a wind tunnel, it can be hard to measure Zipp’s aerodynamic claim. However, through comparing heart-rate against speed, there are noticeable average speed gains and the 404 wheels hold their speed at considerably greater wind angles then other, more traditional wheels.

The rims are very lightweight and with the overall set weighing in at 1,286g, you can be assured that you’ll not be disappointed when it comes to racing and going uphill. When at maximum power, there is no rim rub either and not only does the fatter profile with wider tyre base increase speed but they make everything a lot more comfortable and also help to decrease tiredness.

We are thoroughly impressed that Zipp have increased compliance as this means that you can throw them into cornering and they are also outstanding when you are descending. If you choose to go with Zipp’s Platinum pads, then you’ll also find that braking is much superior to most other carbon hoops, the tubs weigh 279g less than the carbon clinchers do and the fact that they cost £400 less is another huge bonus.

Zipp 404 Firecrest Tubular

Rating by Adam Samuel: 5.0 stars

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