Today Zipp brings to market three new wheelsets, bolstering its aero road wheelset offering with the unveiling of the new 454 NSW, 404 Firecrest, and 858 NSW wheelsets. The result is a total of 12 new products covering a mix of updates to existing options. That's a wheel for each depth, options for either SRAM XDR or Shimano/SRAM 10/11-speed compatibility, and even a tubular option for the 454 NSW.
The 404 Firecrest is the most affordable of the new offerings. Pricing for the front wheel is $925/£780 while the rear wheel runs at $975/£820. That's a $600 saving compared to the previous generation of the wheel while making the 58mm mid-depth wheel somewhat of a value proposition in the space. That saving doesn't carry any reduction of performance either. In fact, the new wheel represents a leap forward in most metrics.
The updated 404 Firecrest now features a hookless rim with a modern 23mm internal width. The new, wider rim, drops weight as well. Previously the Zipp 404 Firecrest was one of the heavier options for the depth, but with a 370-gram weight reduction (1,450g wheelset, Front 660g, Rear 790g) the new wheel is now among the lightest options available. According to Zipp, the "hookless rims have more efficient resin distribution, which means lighter, stronger wheels." It goes on to say that the hookless design also helps aerodynamics by creating a smoother transition between the tyre and the rim, and allows a cost-saving by facilitating reusable moulds in construction.
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The remaining new wheels represent the peak performance options for Zipp. First up is an update to the 454 NSW that in many ways brings it into line with the recently launched 353 NSW which Zipp announced back in April of this year.
The 454 NSW features Zipp’s most advanced technologies, and according to Zipp, its undulating 58mm Sawtooth rim shape with Hyperfoils is the most aerodynamic and stable wheel in the 404 family. This update means that if you want to take advantage of those technologies at a middling depth, there's now an option that also carries Zipp's most modern supporting technologies.
At the centre of the technological updates on the 454 NSW is a new hub. The Cognition V2 hub is re-engineered, in comparison to the outgoing model, for quicker engagement, lower friction, and improved durability. Gone is the magnetised system from the previous design and in its place is a simpler spring-based design.
In an attempt to put some numbers to all these updates, Zipp supplied the results of commissioned outdoor testing. The new wheel design is most efficient when paired with 25mm tyres. When paired up with that tyre width, you can expect a claimed 10-watt saving over the previous wheels. To be more specific, a bike-and-rider system weighing 85kg (187lbs) required 10 fewer watts to maintain a speed of 40km/h.
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If you happen to ride for a WorldTour team, or just prefer a tubular tyre, Zipp has updated the tubular version of the 454 NSW at the same time. The updated 454 NSW Tubular weighs 1,463g for the wheelset (front 683g, rear 780g). That's 105 grams heavier than the hookless, tubeless compatible option which has a wheelset weight of 1,358g (front 631g, rear 727g). Pricing for both the 454 NSW Tubular and the 454 NSW Tubeless is identical at $1,800/£1,425 front and $2,200/£1,775 rear.
The final announcement comes in Zipp's 808 series with a small change to the 858 NSW Tubeless Disc wheel. The 858 NSW already benefitted from the Sawtooth rim, Hyperfoil nodes and HexFin ABLC dimple pattern for top aero and crosswind-stability performance, but today's update comes at the centre, with the hub being replaced with the updated Cognition V2 hub internals. There's no switch to hookless here, though, despite the potential aerodynamic and rolling resistance gains. The internal width is 18mm, and they tip the scales at 1,773g for the set (front 838g, rear 935g). Pricing for the 858 NSW is $2,000/£1,786 front and $2,400/£2,144 rear.
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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Weight: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx