Zipp have announed 3 new wheelsets at today’s product launch – the road Zipp 454 NSW, the road Zipp 404 Firecrest, and the time-trial Zipp 858 NSW. Zipp are coming to the market with wheels promising more speed & at a seriously reduced price – here we take a look at the tech & how they’ve done it. Not convinced by the science? We are an official Sram – Zipp test centre & we have Demo Zipp wheels available for test rides from our Girona shop.
Zipp Wheel Philosophy: Total System Efficiency
Zipp have a simple philosophy for their wheels: “Total System Efficiency”. The barriers to speed are wind resistance; gravity; and rolling resistance. It’s well known that as speed increases the need for better aerodynamics increases. Historically brands have been focusing entirelly on aerodynamics & relying on wind-tunnel testing to prove new imporvements in performance. In their new line Zipp have also given thought to reducing weight & rolling resistance & headed out for some real-life, on-road testing. The results are dramatic at lower speeds which, let’s face it, are more the norm for most of us, especially when heading out on rough gravel trails.
Zipp Tech: Hookless Rims – What Are They & Why Are They Catching on?
A key part of the Zipp philosophy is hookless rims; these rims are just as safe as traditional hook interface regarding tyre retention & come with a whole host of benefits. With hookless rims you can use a hard tool to shape the rim instead of silicon in the manfacturing process. Silicon is thrown away creating waste, whereas the hard tool can be reused many times. Not only does this give a more consistent rim, the production uses less resources & is also cheaper to produce.
Zipp have kindly decided to pass these cost savings on to the cyclist, meaning we can purchase lighter wheels at a better price. A note of warning – not every tyre is compatible with hookless rims, so you’ll need to ensure the tyres you choose to ride are compatible (head over to our you tube channel to see Head Mechanic WillemJan chat all about tubeless set up)
There are three new wheelsets, two road racing sets, and one time-trial set!
Road Racing Wheelsets
The two new wheelsets are the 454 NSE, and 404 Firecrest. These have evolved from the Zipp 400 (1990), and the 404 Firecrest (2010).
Zipp 454 NSW Tubeless
These wheels have a sawtooth rim design and are stable in crosswinds. The hookless design means they’re 420g lighter (that’s a whole jar of Nutella lighter!) They also have a new hub which means there is less drag, and it’s lighter too.
These wheels are meant for the road & not for high speed time trials. Adopting their total system efficiency philosophy, Zipp have come up with a design which is slightly less aero that their predecessors but achieves a lot less rolling resistance – meaning a rider of average weight can travel at the same speed, but save 12 watts of power. Zipp have sacrificing a little bit of aerodynmaics, but made huge gains in other areas.
The price has also come down to €3600 for the set from €4000, a nice saving of €400.
Zipp 404 Firecrest Tubeless
Zipp have gone for another hookless design which are 350g lighter for the set! These are built with wide, 23 mm internal rims, and are tubeless only. The wheels are optimised for 25c but depending on the rider weight 28c could perform better.
The price is down to €1800 from €2600 – a huge saving of €800.
Time Trialling Wheelset: Zipp 858 NSW
Zipp have made some small updates to their time-trial wheelset. These are more aero, although not as light. There is no change to the rims, but they do have a new hub! The Cognition DB v2 with a new spring system ‘cylamer’ foam. The hub is light and retains shape, and replaces the 12 parts in the old hub, it also reduces friction when freewheeling.
The wheelset retails at €4400 – no change in pricing.
Lets Talk Tyre Pressure
Tyre pressure choice is different for every individual, circumstance, tyre, and weather, its about education on what will work best for you on the day!
Use the Tubeless Tire Pressure Calculator in AXS app to help and Tire Pressure Whizz to measure tyre pressure in real time. Also, check out our Cyclist’s Guide to Tyre Pressure for more information.
Zipp Wheels In Stock
We stock a number of Zipp wheels, and are also currently running a Zipp Wheel Test Programme! You can book yourself a test ride on the Zipp 303s, or 303 Firecrests – with the new 404 Firecrests on the way.
Come to the shop with your current wheels, we’ll swap your cassette and discs, and fit the wheels to your bike. They’re free to test, but a deposit is required. Please bring your ID.
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