Zipp's new Firestrike carbon clincher wheelset builds upon the shaping (and patents) of the company's 404 Firecrest. It offers the same aerodynamics as its predecessor, with a reduction in side force and improved wet-weather braking. Zipp claims a 34-percent reduction in side force (the side pressure you feel with perpendicular wind gusts), thanks to a refined shape, and "greater stopping power in wet conditions than any carbon wheel ever produced".
Years ago, Zipp incorporated dimple technology, like that of a golf ball, into the surface of its rims. Never short of proprietary names for its processes, Zipp's new ABLC (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control) keeps the air smoother as it passes across the wheels, the company claims.
The new Showstopper brake track is a moulded-in pattern with a silicone carbide surface. The result, Zipp claims, is a wheel that stops like an aluminium wheel, but has superior weight and aerodynamics.
The 404 Firestrike has a new 'Showstopper' brake track that beats all competitors for wet braking, Zipp claims
While Zipp's rims have always been among the very best, the same hasn't always been true of the hubs. The 404 Firestrike gets a new (version 10) iteration of the 88/188 hubset, which, unlike past models, comes with the bearing load preset. The hubs also come with ceramic bearings.
A pair of 404 Firestrike wheels with 58mm tall rims, 18 spokes up front and 24 in the rear, weighs a claimed 1,620g.
The Zipp 404 Firestrike CCL front wheel will retail for US$1,625 / €1,450 / £1,250 and the rear for US$1,975 / €1,750 / £1,500.
In related news, Zipp will begin selling a disc-brake version of its 202 carbon clinchers in July. The wheels, with 32mm carbon rims, weigh a claimed 1,530g per pair, with 24 spokes front and rear. The 10- or 11-speed hub features the road-disc standard 135mm hub.
The202 Firecrest CCL Disc-brake front wheel will sell for US$1,272 / €1,131 / £966 and the rear for US$1,553 / €1,380 / £1,179.
The disc 202 will be available in July