Zipp 404 tubular wheelset review£1,900.00

Aero tubs

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You'll see loads of Zipp wheels anywhere that max speed is a priority, and after our testing on the 404s we know there’s a very good reason for that.

The 404s are a 60mm-deep rim, not a 40mm, but you wouldn’t know it from their weight or rapid acceleration. The deeper, dimpled surface section reduces straightline drag, but the bulged toroidal cross section still gives excellent manoeuvrability.

They stay stable even in gusting crosswinds too. The wider tyre track and a layer of shock-absorbing material makes them quietly comfortable on the road, so they work well for short-blast legs and long-haul use.

Kevlar thread reinforcement helps shrug off knocks and potholes, and there’s a 20 front, 24 rear spoke (rather than 16/20) ‘Max’ version for heavier riders. Our only grumble is with the supplied Zipp brake pads that aren’t as powerful as aftermarket options we’ve used.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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