Zipp 404 Tubular/Clincher wheels

zipp 404 tubular1 Zipp 404 Tubular/Clincher wheels Zipp 404 is a stalwart of the Zipp arsenal. It’s an everyday carbon rimmed wheelset that comes as either a clincher wheelset with an aluminum machined braking surface (meaning you don’t need carbon-friendly brake blocks), or as a tubular wheelset with a carbon braking surface. The rim itself measures 58mm, and has some distinctive design features.

Zipp 404 Specs

The rim is dimpled and is not straight, but has a “toroidal” profile. Both features are the result of many hours of testing carried out by Zipp in the wind tunnel. The toroidal profile means that the rim looks a little bloated, however, the greater rim width adds more stiffness to the wheel and gives the wheels a more effective breaking surface. It also means that the wheel has greater impact resistance and road damping qualities. The Zipp hub has benefitted from an overhaul and is now stiffer thanks to a larger diameter axel. They are also more weather resistant.

404 Reputation

The 404 is very well known and has been around ever since Zipp started to make wheels. It has evolved and improved over the years, and today is one of the most popular wheels in the pro peloton. And for good reason - the ride quality of the Zipp 404 is superb. Whether you are competing in a criterium, or in a stage race over varied terrain, the 404 is a smooth riding wheel with all the qualities you would expect from Zipp.

Impressions

You might not choose a rim with this depth for climbing, but with a wheelset weight of 1276 grams (Tubular), you may well be pleasantly surprised. The 404s really perform on steadier climbs of up to 8% grade, where you can get full advantage of the aero profile and the low combined weight. The wheels also descend sweetly, and absorb the lumps and bumps at high speed without any difficulties. As for laying down power, in a sprint, the wheels feel very stiff with no detectable flex.

Wheelset Choices

The 404s come as a clincher wheelset or as a tubular wheelset. The clinchers are slightly heavier, and maybe more suitable for events where you may have to mend a puncture youself, such as a triathlon, or for long road rides where you don’t want to get stranded if you have a flat. Clinchers are a lot easier to deal with in these circumstances, whereas with tubulars, the entire tire may have to be removed and replaced with a new one, and if you can’t be sure you can correctly glue or tape your tires, this can be a serious hazard. But if you want a top-performing wheelset that will get you to the finish line first, these are among the best!

Recommendation

The Zipp 404 feels great in almost any cycling scenario. The wheel is stiff, yet vertically compliant, and the hubs feel like they would roll forever. It is not difficult to see why the Zipp 404 is one of the most popular wheels out there, for weekend warriors or in the pro peloton.

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