Zipp has announced several new wheels including 404 and 808 Firecrest Disc-brake wheels and a lightweight 303 NSW carbon clincher.
First up, Zipp has announced the introduction of new 404 and 808 Firecrest Disc-brake wheelsets that are available in both carbon clincher and tubular versions.
Read Your Complete Guide to Zipp Wheels here. Looks like we need to update that article now.
The 404 Firecrest is Zipp’s best known wheelset, seen everywhere from the cobbled Classics to pro triathlon races. The first of Zipp’s Firecrest wheels, it comes with a 58mm-deep rim and a wide profile nearly all the way to the spoke bed. The shape is designed to reduce drag at both the front and rear of the wheel (the tyre leading and the rim leading sections) and improve stability.
It looks like the Firecrest rim is unchanged (we’re trying to get some clarity on that) because the brake track remains, and that’s not something you’d associate with a rim made especially for disc brakes.
Zipp’s 77/177D hubs are thru-axle compatible thanks to end caps that can be swapped by hand. The front one can be 12 x 100mm and 15 x 100mm while the rear one can be 12 x 135mm and 12 x 142mm.
Zipp claims 800g (front) and 915g (rear) for the clincher wheelset and 710g (front) and 835g (rear) for the tubulars.
The clincher wheelset is £1,950, the tubular wheelset is £1,840. Both will be available from next month.
The 808 Firecrest Disc Brake wheels have 82mm deep rims so they’re less versatile than the 404s, although Zipp claims that this is the fastest disc-brake wheelset available.
They use the same Zipp 77/177D hubs as the 404s although the extra rim depth makes them a little heavier, obviously. Zipp claims the front clincher is 950g and the rear one is 1.025g.
The front tubular model is 820g and the rear is 940g.
The price of the clincher wheelset is £2,160 and the tubular wheelset is £2,080. Again, they’ll be available from May
As well as the usual black and white, both the 404 and 808 disc models are now available with red, green, blue or pink decals. These colour options are available on nearly all of the Zipp Firecrest wheels, but not those with a Campagnolo freehub body. Don’t ask us why. Maybe Campag users aren't into green.
Zipp hasn’t provided us with any information comparing the aero efficiency of the disc brake wheels with that of the existing rim brake wheels.
Zipp has also introduced the new 303 NSW to join the existing 404 NSW and 808 NSW wheels (NSW stands for ‘Nest Speed Weaponry’, the Nest being Zipp’s advanced development lab).
“Our top engineers… incorporated improved aerodynamics, industry leading braking performance, and reduced rolling friction to produce the lightest, highest performance 303 wheelset Zipp has ever made,” according to Zipp.
“It’s built to take the abuse of everyday training rides. Zipp has achieved this reliability at a lighter weight with a revised carbon fiber layup developed through testing on the famed cobbles of the Arenberg Forest with the world’s fastest riders.”
So there you go.
The rims are 45mm deep and they feature Zipp’s existing Showstopper brake tracks that are designed to perform well in both wet and dry conditions.
The ABLC Sawtooth dimple pattern on the surface is intended to reduce drag and improve crosswind stability.
The Cognition hubset is designed to offer very low friction thanks to Swiss stainless steel bearings and Zipp’s Axial Clutch technology in the freehub. This means that the ratchet mechanism disengages when you coast and magnets are used to re-engaged it when you start pedalling again. Zipp reckons the Cognition rear hub has half the rotating friction as the best traditional three-pawl design.
Zipp says 303 NSW clincher front wheel weighs 640g and the rear is 785g. The wheelset price is £2,150 and it’ll be available from May.
Finally, Zipp’s Super-9 Disc carbon clincher is available in this limited edition Canyon//SRAM Racing finish.
The wheel weighs a claimed 1,155g and will be available next month for SRAM/Shimano only at £1,625.
Our man Dave Arthur was at the media launch of the disc brake wheels at the end of last week so expect more details on road.cc soon.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.