Zipp News

Back 9.2.2010

New Wheels Featuring Firecrest Design


Zipp Speed Weaponry’s most popular wheelsets have undergone major transformations, with a radical new aerodynamic rim shape named “Project Firecrest” now applied to the 404 Tubular, 404 Carbon Clincher, 808 Tubular, and the new 808 Carbon Clincher.


Bryan Hite, Zipp product manager for wheels, said, “We worked for two years until the 404 Carbon Clincher was ready, and now all that technology is making its way through the rest of the Zipp line. The 808 Carbon Clincher was next in line because the 81mm depth performs so well for both road cycling and triathlon.”


Like the 58mm-deep 404 Carbon Clincher that debuted in May 2010, the 808 Carbon Clincher uses Zipp’s proprietary heat-resistant resin to improve braking performance and handling by preventing the spikes in rim temperature and tire pressure that can occur under heavy, continuous braking.

With this technology, all Zipp Carbon Clinchers pass stringent CEN safety standards without any limitations on rider weight or brake pads – a certification that no other full-carbon clincher wheelsets have achieved.

Also introduced as part of the 404 Carbon Clincher, the Firecrest rim shape is the first aero concept to focus specifically on controlling airflow around the back half of the wheel.

Zipp Technical Director Josh Poertner said, “Firecrest refocused our thinking about aerodynamics from the front to the back of the wheel, and it also gave us a chance to explore how even the smallest adjustments in the curve of the rim profile can improve every other aspect of the wheel’s performance.”

Whereas Zipp’s earlier designs placed a toroidal bulge behind the tire to reduce turbulence at the wheel’s leading edge, Firecrest shifts the widest point of the rim inward towards the hub and tapers only slightly towards the tire.

At a 10-degree wind angle, the performance improvements from Firecrest are substantial: 9 seconds over 40km for the 404 Tubular, and 15 seconds for the 808 Tubular that is now faster than any 90mm rim and even some disc wheels. At higher wind angles, the benefits are even more dramatic.


In crosswinds, Firecrest rims provide markedly more stable handling than other rims of equal or even shallower depth. The wide rim profile also increases stiffness for sprinting and cornering while adding comfort and durability on rough surfaces.


Despite their upgraded aerodynamics, weights for Firecrest-based wheels remain among the lightest in class: 1278g for the 404 Tubular, 1557g for the 404 Carbon Clincher, 1519g for the 808 Tubular, and 1759g for the 808 Carbon Clincher.


Suggested retail prices (USD) are $2300 for the 404 Tubular, $2700 for the 404 Carbon Clincher, $2500 for the 808 Tubular, and $2950 for the 808 Carbon Clincher.


Clincher wheels with aluminum braking surfaces are still available for both the 404 (1658g, $2,300) and 808 (1912g, $2,500).


The 404 and 808 Carbon Clincher is available only in 700c. Each wheel includes one pair of Zipp Tangente cork composite brake pads plus a skewer, rim tape and valve extender.


Zipp 808 Carbon Clinchers will be available in October 2010.

Zipp 808 Tubulars will be available in November 2010.

Zipp 404 Tubulars will be available in December 2010.