Zipp News

Back 8.18.2014

Revolution Sparks Evolution

What You Should Know about the Zipp 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher

What was the motivation behind the development of 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher?
Zipp Firestrike™ wheels provide a limited number of customers with leading-edge technology currently unavailable in standard production. With our core lineup of Zipp Firecrest® wheels, we optimized aero efficiency and crosswind stability. With Firestrike, we wanted to continue to add speed by way of improving on other factors slowing you down, such as cornering performance and braking in wet conditions. Firestrike also reduces side force by 34 percent for the ultimate in aero balance. We’ve employed all new production techniques to produce this advanced rim. With the 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher, we started with our revolutionary Firecrest technology and took it through the next evolution to create an exclusive wheelset.


How is the new Firestrike design different than your Firecrest technology?
The 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher is unique. We started with the same rim patent used in Firecrest and added a host of innovations for enhanced performance:

Braking: Showstopper™ brake track technology uses a pairing of a directional, molded-in, texture with silicon carbide particles suspended in the surface resin. The molded-in groove is specifically tuned for the Zipp Tangente Platinum Pro EVO Brake Pad. Showstopper provides equal brake force in wet conditions when compared to industry leading aluminum rims.

Stability: Designed using CFD (computational fluid dynamics), the Firestrike rim shape provides a 34 percent reduction in side force while achieving Firecrest’s aero performance. Also, Firestrike received a revised use of our famous (and effective) ABLC® (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control) to induce vortex shedding for smoother airflow.

Rolling: Our 88/188v10 adds torsional stiffness through a virtual 3X lacing pattern using Sapim® CX-Ray® spokes. Ceramic bearings provide a smooth ride. Bearing preload precision set with no adjustment required.

Cornering: 17.25mm wide clincher bead results in less tire deformation for better cornering performance.

What about durability?
The 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher goes through a completely new manufacturing process, has a new rim layup and uses a new resin. This new process allows us to increase the impact resistance without adding weight.

What was some of the testing that helped lead to Firestrike?
We design our products to succeed at the highest, most demanding level. This Zipp video shows some of the testing we did last fall with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Pro Cycling for Paris Roubaix on the Carrefour de l’arbre sector. Paris-Roubaix is a top objective for the team, so they were looking at every component and race situation closely. The team wanted a wheel that would survive a slow-leaking tire through a cobble sector. We were nearing the end of a day of testing with no impact damage to the Firecrest wheels when our engineers saw two riders approaching with what looked like double flats. After the riders stopped the engineers noticed the tires had some pressure, less than 20 psi. The riders said they wanted to see how the wheels would ride over the cobbles and corner. The rims had no impact damage.

In April, Niki Terpstra of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rode to a brilliant victory in Paris-Roubaix aboard Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels. The Zipp engineers who were there for the fall testing were the same engineers working on the Firestrike rim design. They studied the carbon layup process and applied it to Firestrike.

Why is Firestrike available as a 404?
The 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher represents the most advanced wheel we’ve ever made in our 26 year history. With its 58mm rim depth, the Zipp 404 is our most popular and versatile wheelset for climbing, time trialing, road racing and triathlon. The 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher combines that versatility with all of the advancements we’ve just discussed. Zipp’s full line up Firecrest wheels – from the 32mm deep 202 Firecrest to the 82mm deep 808 Firecrest – provides that revolutionary aero performance and stability in both Carbon Clincher and Tubular.

When and where can I get it?
Zipp 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher is available for a limited time and in limited quantities globally. Contact your local bicycle shop. Get them while they last.