Zipp 404 Wheels: Going Fast Just Got Easier

By Eric Riggs It has long been my opinion that wheels are the most important thing a cyclist can get right in his equipment lineup order to go fast. Even as the sport is rapidly approaching this new era dominated by aerodynamic road bikes and helmets, wheels are still the most important piece of equipment to making a cyclist go fast.

With this in mind, I couldn't be more pleased that Team Mike's Bikes p/b Incase are riding ZIPP 404 Firecrest for the 2013 season.

These wheels are the fastest on the market and a testament to ZIPP's innovative thinking and approach to wheel building.

Aero wheel designers typically focused only on the front half of the wheel. While this will produce a fast front half, when it is flipped in reverse on the back half it would often slow a wheel down and never reach that wheel's full potential.

ZIPP started looking at how wind attaches to a wheel and then trails off, which caused them to spend a considerable amount of time working on the back half of the wheel. They found this was a vastly superior approach to aero wheel building. The end result of this labor is the Firecrest wheel.

Racing these wheels for two years now, my experiences have reflected the data. These wheels are obscenely fast. I was dorking around and threw my 404s on an old, steel Lemond frame and was absolutely amazed at how much faster the bike rode. Racing these wheels in technical crits they are adequately stiff to get me around the corners and take a tremendous beating when I'm throwing tons of force into the front end during sprints and attacks. Strangely enough, these wheels seem a ton more stable in crosswinds that other deep dish carbon wheels I've ridden. I can't really explain it, but it feels like they are just slightly being pressed by crosswinds rather than wrecked and thrown around all over.

Feel free to demo these wheels and see what I'm talking about: