If you've decided that a set of aero carbon race hoops are in your future, you might as well commit already and step into the abyss. After a pretty significant price drop this year, Zipp goods are looking more enticing than ever. Stop the endless nights of internet research and forum discussions and grab the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheel so you can get out and ride. The great thing about the 404 is that it's deep, but not so singularly focused that you won't be able to take it out as a training wheel when you aren't racing. At 58mm, it's just about the last choice before you plunge fully into the deep-dish realm, where wind gusts can render a wheelset useless for a training ride or race. You'll still have to pay attention to wind with a 58mm carbon rim, but you'll also gain a noticeable advantage on the flats. Once you rev these rims up to speed, they won't want to come back down. Eventually, you will have to bring your wheels back to earth for a major intersection or stoplight, and Zipp makes sure that you'll be able to by using a heat-resistant resin to craft the wheel's wide, 24. 7mm brake track. Rather than squeezing the levers with a grimace and a prayer, you'll be able to slow down with control when you need to, which is especially crucial in a crowded race. The 404's carbon construction certainly lends it aerodynamic advantage, but Zipp delivers further wind-cheating benefits by adding its Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control (ABLC) dimpling to the surface of each wheel, which help smooth airflow in a range of wind conditions, allowing you to slice cleanly through the air as you change direction throughout a race. Other important technology contributing to a smooth rolling wheelset includes Zipp's reliable 77/177 hubset, with improved seals against grit and water this year, as well as updated quick-release skewers that are now easier to hang onto and tuck more cleanly into the frame for less drag.
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Manufactured by Zipp
Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Road Wheel ships and sold by Backcountry
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