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A New Chapter In Speed.

404 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher

Naturally, we chose to launch our groundbreaking Firecrest® and Carbon Clincher designs with our most versatile wheelset, the 404. Its 58 mm rim depth is a classic all-around performer that has carried athletes to victory in every kind of event – triathlons, criteriums, breakaways, field sprints and even Grand Tour mountain stages.  

In fact, our first full-carbon clincher wheelset, the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, has been described as the most heavily anticipated wheelset of all time. And following two years of development for its revolutionary rim shape and carbon technology, we’re confident that the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher lives up to the hype.

Its Firecrest aero profile is the first deep-profile carbon clincher design to offer the superior aerodynamics, ride quality, strength and handling of a wider rim body. Yet the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher weighs just 1,615 grams per set, putting it among the lightest deep-profile carbon clinchers available.

Designed specifically to account for the differences in airflow patterns between clincher tires and tubulars, the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher far exceeds the aero performance of any other clincher wheelset in its class. As Zipp proved with the Paris-Roubaix-winning 303 Tubular, a wider rim offers greater vertical compliance for control and comfort on rough surfaces while increasing lateral stiffness for sprinting and cornering. The same holds true for Firecrest rims with clincher tires. And because the hook beads are farther apart, the tire itself takes on a more stable shape without adding rolling resistance.

Heavy continuous braking on carbon surfaces can cause spikes in rim temperature and tire pressure that impact performance and handling – especially with clincher tires. To solve this challenge, our U.S.-based composites supplier created a new heat-resistant resin exclusively for Zipp. This technology improves heat dissipation so substantially that ours are the only carbon clinchers to pass stringent European safety testing without limitations on rider weight or brake pad options.

New for 2014, the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher is built with a the latest iteration of our 188 rear hub, the V9, along with new spoke-lacing pattern for the rear wheel - refinements that result in improved stiffness and durability. The new hub was developed in cooperation of superstar sprinter Mark Cavendish of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team and is in use by other top pro cyclists and triathletes including Pete Jacobs and Mirinda Carfrae.

Cavendish received early hub prototypes in January 2013 and logged 13,000 kilometers (8,078 miles) on continually refined variants, including his stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and the 2013 Tour de France. His feedback helped optimize the hub’s flange geometry, stiffness and weight.

The new 188/V9 hub has larger precision Swiss steel bearings for increased durability. Our new “virtual 3 cross” lacing on both sides of rear wheel improves stiffness, achieving 3 cross stiffness in a 2 cross pattern with a new spoke geometry. The 188/V9 has 25 percent more torsional stiffness than a leading competitive hub. This measure of stiffness is crucial for the direct power transfer to the rear wheel for out-of-the saddle sprints and climbs. The new hub also is laterally (side-to-side) stiffer that its rival or predecessor.

New for 2014 wheels, our fully die cut matte White and matte Black rim decals are borderless, thinner and lighter.

11 speed compatible

This wheelset is not tubeless compatible.

Use 20mm rim tape with this wheelset.

Retail availability: September 2013

Recommended and approved brake pads

404 Drag comparison graph


Front wheel $1,227 / €1,138
Rear wheel  $1,498 / €1,387

Set Weight 1640g
Max recommended rider weight 250lbs
Front Wheel
Weight 740g
Hub Used 88
Rim Depth 58mm
Brake Track Width (center) 24.73mm
Max Width 26.53mm
Clincher Bead Width 16.25mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Ray
Spoke Count 18
Spoke Pattern Radial
Spoke Length 246mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
Track Adaptable Yes
Dimpled Surface Yes
Ceramic Bearing Aftermarket
Nipples Sapim®
External Nipples Yes
Rear Wheel
Weight 900g
Hub Used 188/V9
Rim Depth 58mm
Brake Track Width (center) 24.73mm
Max Width 26.53mm
Clincher Bead Width 16.25mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Ray
Spoke Count 24
Spoke Length Non-Drive 252mm
Spoke Pattern Non-Drive 2 cross
Spoke Pattern Drive 2 cross
Spoke Length Drive 250mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62 bars
11-speed compatible hub Yes
Track Adaptable No
Dimpled Surface Yes
Ceramic Bearing Aftermarket
Nipples Sapim®
External Nipples Yes
Zipp 404/808 Firecrest combo, Editors Choice 22- Triathlon  February 2014 [pdf]

"Still one of the best wheelsets around, this is why other companies compare themselves to Zipp"

Click on PDF to read full review

Best in Class: Thrive on any ride  April 2013 [pdf]

The 2013 Triathlete Magazine Buyer's Guide named the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher as its Best In Class wheelset. "Whether you want a wheel upgrade for races only or to make everyday rides more fun, the Zipp 404 excels in every way," the magazine concluded. 

Click on PDF to read full review

Zipp called leader in carbon clinchers  January 2013 [pdf]

Great Britain's Cycling Plus magazine reports Zipp at forefront of testing and developing carbon clinchers.

"Talkin' 'bout a revolution"  August 2011 [pdf]

Brad Culp of Lava Magazine reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher...

I’ve never used the word “best” in a product review. Never have I tested a bike, or a pair of bib shorts, or anything else that I’ve been convinced is the single “best” product in a certain market. That changed after my first ride on the Firecrest 404 Carbon Clinchers. I can say without a doubt that these are the best all-around wheels I have ever tested—and I’ve tested a lot of wheels. review the Zipp 404 and 808 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers here...

Firecrest Profile The biggest new feature of the Firecrest wheels is the rim shape. Zipp had the obvious (in retrospect) epiphany that the rim should be optimized to cut through the air with the tire as both the leading and trailing edge. A quick perusal of the latest offerings from Hed, Enve, 3T, and Shimano would seem to suggest that Zipp are on to something. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Firecrest profile completely supplants the familiar vee shape in a few years.

"Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher"  August 2011

Florida Racing Magazine Reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher here...

The Bottom Line: All-round I love these wheels, I will be recommending them with confidence and I will be working hard to buy a pair for myself. Retail on a pair is $2700 which is steep but well worth it if you are contemplating dropping this kind of cash to keep from getting dropped.

"Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher"  August 2011 [pdf]

Florida Cycling Magazine reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher…

The shape of the Firecrest rim also really improves handling. It essentially allows the air to stay attached to the rim, improving aero performance and moving the center of pressure of the wheel behind the steering axis. This allows the wind to have less torque when pushing the wheel, actually allowing the wheel to self-correct into the wind.


"Map My Ride Aquaphor Le Tour Challenge"  August 2011

Patrick Brady reviews the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher as part of the Aquaphor Le Tour Challenge.  Read the entire review here...

"Zipp's New Shape"  July 2011 takes a closer look at the new Firecrest rim shape.  Click here for the full story.

"Brand New Kit"  February 2011 [pdf]

Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers receive the TriathlonPlus Peak Performer Award.

"Zipp Reinvents the Wheel."  February 2011 [pdf]

Cycling Weekly takes a closer look at the new Firecrest platform.

"Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Review"  February 2011 reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher here. First Look at the Zipp Firecrest 404  December 2010

Check out the first look at the Zipp Firecrest 404 Carbon Clinchers here.

"The Racing Post" Reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers  November 2010 [pdf]

So, are they worth it? If you aren’t currently riding aero wheels, then the answer is an unequivocal yes. It’s a great all-around wheel that will stand up to everyday use and makes sense across a variety of conditions.

If you are already own race wheels, I’ll leave you with this: I’ve never been more excited about a set of race wheels; not when I got GP4s, not when I got Heliums in ‘99, not when I had the first set of Ksyriums in the city a few years later. In the words of Ferris Bueller “it is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

New Peloton Magazine Reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher  November 2010 [pdf]

The all new Peloton Magazine reviewed has reviewed the new Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher.  Check out what they have to say in their very first issue.

"Reviewed: Zipp Firecrest 404 Carbon Clincher"  October 2010 [pdf]

Lava Magazine reviews the all new Zipp 404 Carbon Clincher.

"2010 Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers."  October 2010

Liberty Sports Magazine Reviews the Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers.  Click here.

"How Carbon Fiber Takes Your Wheelset Up a Notch"  October 2010 [pdf]

Check out "How Carbon Fiber Takes Your Wheelset Up a Notch" by Christopher Kautz in the September 2010 issue of Triathlete.

"Wind Cheating Wheels Reviewed."  October 2010 [pdf]

Aaron Hersh of Triathlete explores the evolution in rim shape and reviews several aerodynamic wheelsets.

ProCycling's Wish List  October 2010 [pdf]

404 Carbon Clinchers in ProCycling's Wish List.


With the new proprietary Firecrest rim shape in our 202, 303, 404 and 808 Firecrest wheels, Zipp wheels make a bigger difference in more ways than ever. Not only is Firecrest more aerodynamic than any other rim design, it improves handling in crosswinds and overall ride quality.

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Carbon Clincher

Our superior Carbon Clincher technology is the culmination of two years of intensive prototyping and testing. We worked with our composites supplier to develop an exclusive heat-resistant resin based on the materials used in motorsports brake systems. This proprietary technology improves heat management so substantially that all Zipp Carbon Clinchers pass stringent CEN safety standards.

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ABLC™  (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control)

Advanced Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) refers to the patented and instantly recognizable dimpled pattern found on all of our carbon rims. ABLC smoothes airflow across the rim's surface and is tailored to every model from the 202 to the Super-9 Disc. The third-generation of ABLC has up to four times more dimples than before.

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VCLC™  (Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control)

Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control (VCLC) uses a vibration-absorbing material sandwiched between layers of rigid carbon laminate in the rim. When the wheel receives an impact from the road, much of the shock is absorbed by the VCLC system, delivering a 10% reduction in vibration.

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88/188 Hub Technology

Every aspect of our 88 and 188 hubs sets a new benchmark. The standard steel bearings are the roundest in the industry. The 17mm axle is the stiffest of any road hub we've tested. The wire EDM-cut hub internals are the most precise. When it comes to precision and performance, there's really no comparison.

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Wire EDM

Electron Discharge Machining allows us to cut the materials for our rear hub drive internals after they’ve been hardened through heat treating, negating the warping and imprecision caused by the heat-treating process.

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Steel Bearings

Zipp is the only company specifying Swiss made highly specialized ball bearing cartridges. Working with a family owned Swiss bearing manufacturer, Zipp is able to attain a superior level of bearing smoothness and long life. Zipp ball bearings are specified to 10 millionths of an inch tolerance, guaranteeing that they are at least 2.5 times rounder and better matched than most company’s “high precision” balls, and more than five times tighter than most “precision” balls.

Read More on Zipp hub technology