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When you want an aero road wheel that climbs lickety split for your disc-brake bike, Zipp has you covered with their 404 Firecrest Tubular Disc-Brake Wheels. The 404 tubular saves a good bit of weight over the clincher version, even adding strength, and it can be both your road racing and cyclocross wheel provided you glue on the appropriate tubs at the right times.
Overall strength and stiffness are important to Zipp. These rims come over from the rim-brake version of the wheels. Zipp didn’t want to detract from impact resistance or lateral rigidity. So you get the same rims, but you’ll find 24 spokes front and rear, with a two-cross pattern both front and rear. In both cases, the change is as a result of needing to counteract the forces that stopping a rotor by the hub create. The spokes are the excellent, and light weight Sapim CX-Ray’s.
The rim itself is the proven 404 Firecrest shape: 58mm deep, getting as wide as 26.53mm, it moves through the wind but is still light enough for climbing. The oval shape that is blunt on both the leading and trailing edges is not only good in a headwind, but very stable in crosswinds. The width means a better tire shape, even with narrow 23mm tires, providing more air cushion and a better contact patch. Greater comfort and lower rolling resistance result. Weight for the front wheel is 710g, the rear 835g.
The hubs are a good bit different than what you’ll find on rim-brake wheels. Zipp employs their 77/177D hub set, which was purpose-built for disc braking. The flanges are slightly taller to work around the six-hole rotor mounts and the 17mm axle. While you can see that the spokes have a two-cross pattern, it actually possesses the lateral stiffness of a three-cross thanks to the size of the flanges and the orientation of the spokes. The benefits of the design are better aerodynamics and greater lateral stiffness.
For rear wheels, Zipp offers both a Campagnolo-compatible, and Shimano/SRAM-compatible cassette body. The latter comes with a spacer for 8/9/10-speed cassettes. In both cases, the 177D hub body allows you to install a SRAM XD-cassette body for super-wide range gearing.
The wheel comes with quick release, end caps to convert the hub for thru-axle use (end caps are hand swappable), rim strip, valve extender, and Zipp Tangente tube. The end caps can turn the front wheel into 12x100mm and 15x100mm thru axles, and the rear wheel 12x135 and 12x142mm thru-axles. Zipp has taken innovation in their system to a new level with these tubes, which feature an aluminum, rather than brass, stem. Lighter, better machined, and possessing a removable valve core. It also improves the balance of the spinning wheel. The wheels are not designed for compatibility with tubeless systems.
Tricking out your disc-brake road bike is easy with the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Tubular Disc-Brake wheels.