Zipp claims to have improved its 404 wheels: better braking; more aerodynamic, unrivalled stability in cross-winds, and they even use a new hub.
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Historically the appeal of Zipp’s 404 hoops, to both amateurs and pros like Mark Cavendish, has been the do it all 58mm rim: deep enough to provide an aero advantage, whilst not being too heavy or overly susceptible to cross winds.
The first wheelset in Zipp’s new NSW series (in case you were wondering it stands for Nest Speed Weaoponary, the ‘Nest’ being Zipp’s blue sky thinking division), the 808 NSW was launched at the 2015 Ironman World Championship.
The introduction of the 404 NSW brings the new technology to Zipp’s most popular rim depth: new hub; new braking surface; and new aero profile.
The other changes might be hard to spot to the uninitiated, but the 404 NSW’s new hub looks completely different. The narrow silver, and most recently black, hub of previous Zipp models has been replaced by the broad black “Cognition hubset.”
The theory is that the new hubset disengages the ratchet mechanism when coasting which in turn reduces the friction created by a standard freehub when you free wheel – meaning you have to pedal less to go at the same speed.
The biggest complaint when it comes to carbon rims is the at times questionable braking, especially in the wet.
With its new NSW exclusive silicon carbide Showstopper braking surface (which has lots of grooves) the 404 NSW look to enhance stopping power and modulation, irrespective of the conditions.
The 404 NSW is designed to be an all rounder, strong enough to take some punishment, light enough for climbs and, importantly, built to slice through the air.
Zipp says that the 404 NSW’s aerodynamic profile was developed after some extensive research – including 42 different CFD (Computational Fluid Dynmanics) concept studies and weeks spent in the wind tunnel.
If you look closely you’ll notice the golf ball dimples associated with Zipp’s most recent wheels have been revamped. The new wind cheating pattern includes 12 nodes and is called ABLC Sawtooth Technology.
Zipp says that compared to the Zipp 404 Firecrest the new 404 NSW’s profile reduces side force by up to 34%!
The Zipp logos have also been updated and the changes aren’t solely aesthetic.
Rather than using stickers, the logos on the 404 NSW are printed directly onto the rim so as not inhibit the dimples.
The wheelset has a claimed total weight of 1,555g (505g front; 850g rear) and will set you back £2,150.
The wheels will be available towards the end of February. For more information go to Zipp.