Zipp’s new 404 NSW wheelset

Zipp, the company best known for its aerodynamic carbon fibre wheels, has just launched the new 404 NSW, which brings the company’s latest aero developments, including a new dimpled design, brake track and updated hubs, first introduced on the 808 NSW last year, to its most popular 58mm wheelset.

The deeper section 808 NSW has found success in Ironman and time trial championships since launch. The new 404 NSW brings the same developments to its most popular and best-selling rim depth, a popularity due to it offering a good balance of weight and aerodynamics making it suitable for everything from climbing to hilly rides, and durable enough to survive cobbled roads.

The key benefits claimed by Zipp for the new wheelset are improved aerodynamics, braking performance and crosswind stability. Developed in its top secret lab The Nest, the new wheel also uses an updated hub design, dubbed Cognition, which is claimed to provide improved durability and low freehub drag.

“Zipp NSW™ is basically the most advanced development technology that Zipp has at that time,” says Michael Hall, Zipp Director of Advanced Development.

Zipp 404 NSW rim
Zipp 404 NSW rim

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One of the downsides to riding deep section wheels is being blown around the road in very windy conditions. Great strides have been made though in producing deep section wheels that are less susceptible to crosswinds. Zipp claims a massive 34% reduction in crosswind side forces, providing improved stability (compared to a 404 Firecrest).

Braking performance has often been the Achilles heel of carbon rims, but again this is an area that has greatly improved. Zipp has developed a new Showstopper brake track for the 404 NSW wheels which it claims “deliver the best modulation and shortest stopping distances available, regardless of weather conditions or the length of the descent.” It features a deeper brake track made from a silicon carbide material with a siped pattern.

Zipp is famous for its dimples, and they have been updated. A new ABLC Sawtooth technology comprises redesigned dimples, with 12 nodes that are positioned to start aerodynamic shearing at a rate of 50hz at a rider speed of 20mph, which should mean better real-world aero performance for normal cyclists.

The new wheels also have the latest ImPress decal graphic treatment, which the stickers printed directly onto the rim which is said to allow the dimples to do their job better. It also saves a bit of weight.

It’s not just the rim that has been updated, Zipp has added the new Cognition hubset first seen on the 808 NSW wheels. Key to the development of the new hubs has been reducing friction in the freehub. It has developed the Axial Clutch which it says disengages the ratchet mechanism when coasting, using magnets rather than steel springs.