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zipp 303 or 404(9 posts)

zipp 303 or 404slasher
Dec 31, 2001 8:02 PM
I'm looking for a liteweight/aero wheelset for training and racing, and have decided on zipp (mainly 'cos I can get great discounts on any zipp product - factory connection). My problem is where I ride is very windy, and I'm a little worried about a 404 on the front in a crosswind. I have a few friends who swear by 404's tho - say they're much faster than 303's. How about a 404 on the back and a 303 on the front? Which raises the question, do rear wheel aerodynamics matter as much as the front?
Any tips from people with experience with either of the wheels would be great.
re: zipp 303 or 404schills
Dec 31, 2001 10:11 PM
Generally speaking, the more surface area on either wheel, the faster it will become if designed properly. I'm 180 and ride wheels with more surface area than the 404s in gusty offshore winds in LA. I think you could probably handle the 404s unless you weigh 30-40 pounds less, or are just beginning to aquire your bike handling skills.
The new 303 clinchers would be my choicespookyload
Dec 31, 2001 11:31 PM
They integrated the carbon to aluminum for the 303's this year and they are sweet. They go for about 1200g a pair, and are plenty aero for training. As far as the aero in general goes, even when racing, your body position and posture can negate any aero advantage a wheel set will give you. So get the 303's that are very aero anyways, and work on your riding position for the real aero benifits. Plus the 404' require you to carry those damn valve extenders to inflate the tires, the 303's you can still use 60mm valve stem tubes on.
re: zipp 303 or 404mackgoo
Jan 1, 2002 10:23 AM
I've been using some 440's, they can get feeling uncomfortable in cross winds. Not as bad as Rev X's wich I had for a short time before these. I dumped the Rev X's for the cross wind thing and I've been looking for 340's (budget/wife requires used products for me) The cross wind thing for the 440's is bearable but the shallower V I want particularly because i'm a recreational rider and just don't need it. One thing to note though, in the tour the zipps that were used were 404's. I do hope your going tubular.
I have bothgimondi
Jan 1, 2002 8:28 PM
I have both and prefer the 404's for pretty much anything and everything I ride. They are stiffer laterally and do not seem to get blown around too bad (i weigh 150) even here in the mountains of Colorado. The one thing nobody mentioned is that the 404 has a bit of vertical compliance due to its shape, which makes it way more comfortable than any other wheelset I've ever owned, and I thought the 303s were really comfortable. Because of this I started riding all my long rides on them, and basically just never took them off. The 303's are lighter, but it is only 60grams per rim, so you can't even tell the difference when you are on the bike, even in the mountains. I would get 404 tubulars front and rear. no worries
re: zipp 303 or 404tr
Jan 1, 2002 8:53 PM
Rear wheel aerodynamics do not matter as much as front. By the time you get to the rear wheel there is alot of turbulence coming off of the rider and frame. You get more benefit off of the front, but as you know handling qualities is an issue in the crosswind. This is why he see the front normal, back aero config so much. I think 303 on the front and 404 on back is a good idea if you want.
re: zipp 303 or 404Woof the dog
Jan 5, 2002 1:10 PM
I asked about aerodynamics on Rob said that it is the front one that is better aerodynamically speaking. However, lots more said it is the back one, since thats where the air is leaving the bike+rider. I am still not clear as to what is better in terms of pure aerodynamics. They did mention it is better to have the rear one for better handling.


Woof, the aerodynamic dog (glue my ears for TTs)
Jan 3, 2002 10:17 AM
Please do not even think of buying clinchers. Basically you are paying a premium price for a super light weight and high quality producy and then slapping an ugly and heavy piece of aluminum in the worst place, furthest from the hub.
I have ridden both and at the factory they will tell you the 303's are quicker and the 404's are faster. I bought the 404's and haven't looked back since. The wheels are a dream to ride and the tubular tires are so much smoother than clinchers, I always knew there was a reason all pros rode sew-ups. The maintenance on them has potential to be more expensive, but Tufos are cheap and durable. Good luck with your decision, its an enviable one!
I agree w/ Bill...ciocc rider
Jan 5, 2002 5:00 AM
I just bought two pairs of 303 tubulars (both at 1/2 price at Bikesport in Dearborn, MI,, limited-time Zipp promotion, don't know if it's still available). I'm quite a light rider, 125#, and had some concerns about crosswinds. I went tubular for exactly the reason Bill said, and basically believe that "racing clinchers" is an oxymoron. JMO...