's Forum Archives - Components

Archive Home >> Components(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 )

QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...(32 posts)

QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...Spunout
Nov 25, 2003 12:15 PM
Well, I am getting new wheels for my fiancé. This is going to be the best trade I've EVER made.

Currently, I have beater wheels and chorus hubs 32h 3x 14-15-14 OPs for crits and racing. Race weight around 160. I am not a TT specialist, but will have to race a few in stage races.

What wheelset out there will I notice a performance difference on? K's, Eurus, Neutrons, still give me spokes and aluminum clincher wheels. There is not enough advantage over my chorus/Ops.

Thinking Zipps, must be tubies to lower the weight. I need a set of RR and climbing wheels, the only place where I wouldn't use them is for training crits or short fast crits. I've done alot of research and this seems to be my best choice for weight plus aero. Found a good deal for 2003 404s $975 USD.

Advice and your experience appreciated!!
I could offer a couple cons but...biknben
Nov 25, 2003 1:02 PM
All the issues I can think of are offset by the price you found. At nearly $400 off retail, they are hard to beat.
negatives, I'll tryDougSloan
Nov 25, 2003 1:39 PM
Here's the best I can do:

1. Tubies are inherently more trouble than clinchers
2. carbon rims, even the newer ceramic impregnated ones, do not brake nearly as well as aluminum
3. the deep rims can be more trouble in gusting cross winds
4. the ZIPP hubs are not that stout; I don't think I'd use them every day, by any means
5. must have a really long stem extensions
6. the weights are highly variable; specify and then verify, if it's important
7. 303's are lighter and you still get some aero benefit

That's the best I can do.

re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...ridewt
Nov 25, 2003 1:41 PM
Reynolds - Last night, a shop owner explained to me his opinion that the new Reynolds carbon wheels are much, much stronger than the Zipps. They come in shallow dish and deep dish, just like the Zipps. They also come in different spoke counts depending on your preference. From his opinion, it seems Reyolds are better. Plus, I think the Reynolds have a better braking surface. Still, they are so new that I doubt you'll get a deal. But, you may want to do some research to compare them. At that price, you'll want to have durable wheels.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...Woof the dog
Nov 25, 2003 2:13 PM
the only ones I've seen all broke or made a scary noise breaking while riding in the pack

nothing reliable can ever come out of these wheels but they sure are light and aero.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...asgelle
Nov 25, 2003 2:59 PM
In my opinion, the Zipps are about as good a set of wheels as you're likely to find. The deep profile makes them aero, but Zipp has gone further than most rim manufacturers and done wind tunnel testing on the shape of the inner edge of the rim and the sidewalls to optimize these shapes. I don't know of other manufacturers who have done this. For weight, I weighed my Zipp 440's and they turned out to be lighter than the wheels I had built around Mavic GEL 330 rims with TNT hubs (both very light). I got mine used but they have lasted over four race seasons now without the slightest problem. The braking is uneven from the carbon fiber braking surface, but this is only a problem for long technical racing descents where threshold braking is important.

I can see not using them in training races (why risk damage), but why not for short, fast crits? The aero benefit would be important here, too. (Don't say they don't accelerate well as their light weight and low drag makes them accelerate as well as any wheel.)
Yes, acceleration is key to me considering the tubular wheelsSpunout
Nov 25, 2003 3:59 PM
and all that lost rotational mass! One of my A-events is a 100km criterium (60 laps), 4 corners and a big-ring climb every lap...that means alot of accelerations. Crosswind stability doesn't bug me, look at the change in cross-section surface area compared to your whole body and bike...not much.
Yes, acceleration is key to me considering the tubular wheelsThe Human G-Nome
Nov 25, 2003 4:02 PM
if acceleration is the most important thing and you've got almost a grand to spend, why not wait a month and then buy the new AmClassic magnesium clinchers at 1200grams a set!!! lighter then many light tubular sets without and of the hassle of tubulars. same brake pads, better braking surface, etc. if i had another grand to blow on a race-day only set, that's where my money would go.
Acceleration is part of it, consider deceleration tooKerry Irons
Nov 25, 2003 6:30 PM
Yes, it takes a fraction more energy to accelerate a heavier wheel, but you get that back as the wheel slows down (conservation of energy, don't you know). Heavier wheels accelerate slower, and decelerate slower too, and by the same amount. Lighter rims/tires are only beneficial when you are braking for every corner, in which case the kinetic energy you put into the wheels is "wasted" as heat rather than returned in slower deceleration. The advantage to Zipps is getting the lower weight AND the aerodynamics. You'll have to deal with durability, braking issues, etc.
Aerodynamics of 30 mm clincher wheels?altidude
Nov 25, 2003 8:14 PM
How much true aerodynamic advantage do say 30 mm clincher wheels with fewer spokes provide versus say conventional clincher wheels with shallow rims and 32 spokes front and back?
Aerodynamics of 30 mm clincher wheels?davidxy
Nov 29, 2003 10:10 AM
I have both American Classic 350's (32 back, 28 radial front)as well as Zipp 303 clinchers. All I know is when riding the 303's my time in a 35 mile loop is always faster.
~20.3mph versus 19.6. I know this is empirical data, but the Zipps definitely are "faster" wheels. I notice this even more when it windy out on a ride.
Don't worrry about accelerationasgelle
Nov 25, 2003 6:30 PM
The issue of acceleration has been covered before. For all but short track events, power needed for acceleration depends only on total mass, not rotational inertia. You can work this out for yourself at
or read a summary at

The result, reducing wheel inertia by 50% reduces the power to sit-in in a Pro,1,2 crit by 0.13 W or 0.041% .
Don't worrry about accelerationaltidude
Nov 25, 2003 8:11 PM
Are you saying if you have two different wheelsets with the same total weight, but one wheel has 1000 grams of rim weight and the other has a total of 500 grams that it takes the same amount of energy to accelerate the 2 wheelsets at the same rate?
Don't worrry about accelerationasgelle
Nov 26, 2003 8:31 AM
No, what I'm saying is that the 1000 gm rim will take 0.13 W more power to accelerate than the 500 gm rim in a typical Pro,1,2 crit (for lower categories the power difference will be even less). Compared to the 250-300 W it takes to sit-in in the pack, this change is insignificant.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...lithiapark
Nov 25, 2003 8:47 PM
If I weren't happily married, I'd consider trading my 404's for your fiance. I have had good luck with durability of the hubs and spokes. Have used Zipp brake pads for carbon rims with them, and they seem to have as much stopping power as I could use, dry or wet, and seem to be wearing slowly. I weigh about 160, and have 2000+ miles on mine. Have used Tufo,195 gram tubulars with good result, and since slicing the sidewall of one irrepairably, have used the other as a spare and now have Tufo Elite Jet tires. These are 20mm and have a lenticular profile which seems to match up to the braking surface better than the others (19mm). Only have a couple hundred miles on them and like them a lot also. In very gusty quartering sidewinds they require close attention on steep downhills or riding along traffic; for me, it can be a little hard to keep them in a foot wide track at times. If you can move out into the road further it's not a problem. Bike is Serotta Ottrott and fork is Ouzo Pro and less aero wheels on this setup don't have as much movement, but they are heavier wheels too, and maybe gyroscopic stabilization is greater? I don't race, but some of the little rolling hills I encounter, these wheels seem to accellerate when I use the same effort that only maintains my speed with the other wheels on the same grade. Not a great difference, but I can definitely tell my cadence picks up. I ride these wheels when I want to play racer around my local routes. If I am on a recovery ride or out to get some fresh air, I use my other wheels (heavier, 23mm clinchers,not aero, more spokes) because they are quieter. The 404's have a lot of empty space in them and they turn road vibration into noise more than any other wheels I've had. On a recovery ride, I find this annoying. If I'm ride with my younger/stronger riding buddies, these are the wheels of choice:)
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...scorpionking
Nov 25, 2003 9:56 PM
You don't race but you use Zipp 404's? ROTFLMAO

You probably also believe that those carbon tubes in that stupid looking Ottrott frame somehow make it better because Ben and his marketing puppets told you so. You Serotta geeks are a comical bunch. Bunch of fools with more money in their wallets than common sense. LOL
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...lithiapark
Nov 26, 2003 7:32 AM
Yes, bicycles are just a hobby for me. For better or worse, I was not born with the physical capacity to be competitive in any sport. But I do like bicycles. I have seven bikes, which right away isn't common sense, because I can only ride one at a time. I also spent 16 years in post high school education during which there were several years all I could afford for transportation was a bicycle, and very cheap ones at that. Many would question the sense in that life choice as well. As a board certified neurosurgeon, I do have more money than most, and I like to spend it on "things" that I enjoy looking at and maintaining as well as just riding around. As far as beliefs of religious magnitude, I have very few that I know of. I always have lots of questions. One of them is why discussions of bicycles, which seems like it ought to be a source of joy for all involved, brings out the need for some of us to harshly judge others. But this is OT, needs to be on the "Psychopathology" discussion board.
If you're ever coming to Southern Oregon, around Ashland, let me know and we'll go for a ride! I have several bikes. Sincerely, Paul
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...altidude
Nov 26, 2003 8:49 AM
Thanks for the offer but no thanks. I have ridden with far too many of the Serotta bicycle snobs who believe in their dreamworld that unless one spends $7000 on a bike, they somehow have not gotten a raceable bike. Funniest thing of all is, most of these engineless blowhards couldn't race a bike if their lives depended on it. As far as psychopathology is concerned, that's a great suggestion on your part.

Every one of those Serotta geeks should be required to sit through about 100 hours of the stuff to bring them back to reality from their bicycle fantasy world. I mean seriously, you actually believe that by buying a 1300 gram tubular wheelset, it makes your cadence change going up[ a hill or makes it measurably easier to pedal your bike up a hill? Lets see now, I'm guessing you probably have somewhere about a 200lb total bike and rider package and you just stripped a whopping 1/2 pound off your bike, or about 0.25% of the total weight your dragging up the hill and that's gonna make your cadence go up or your climbing actually feel easier??? I suggest you go perform some self-neurosurgery with a laser, perhaps a few electrodes. Try dialing in the placebo effect part of your brain, because it appears to be in overdrive.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...altidude
Nov 26, 2003 9:19 AM
And what exactly is up with the 16 years of post high school education or BC'd Neurosurgeon stuff supposed to represent. Is that supposed to somehow make me think you are "intelligent'?

16 years of post high school education sounds more like a sign that you had a rich mommy and daddy who payed for you to go to school for 30+ years rather than get out into the workforce and actually earn a living or pay for your own schooling. If I had a dollar for all the clueless chimps I met with masters degrees, PHD's, JD's or MD's I'd have enough cash to buy an Ottrott with cash. If you think the amount of ones secondary education is an indication of their intelligence or lack thereof you pretty much confirm what I already think of you from a pure intelligence standpoint. Board certified neurosurgeon with 16 years of post HS education - sounds like you never probably worked a single day in yor life until you got into your mid 30's living off mommy and daddy, I'm real impressed.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...ngl
Nov 26, 2003 9:37 AM
You're just plain sad...divve
Nov 26, 2003 9:56 AM
.....for bashing a person who buys whatever he likes because it brings him enjoyment. If this isn't a prime example of deep seated spite I don't know what is.

BTW, the Ottrott ST is $7000 for just the frame set in Europe, cost of fitting session not included.
Hey! Take this over to the CHIP ON MY SHOULDER board. nmSpunout
Nov 26, 2003 9:56 AM
the personal attacks are unwarranted and violate terms of useDougSloan
Nov 26, 2003 10:34 AM strives to provide a product research resource and Web community of the highest quality and integrity. We encourage open, honest and respectful communication between all of our members. Our community guidelines are based upon these basic values:

We believe everyone has something to contribute

We believe that an open, honest and respectful environment can generate stimulating discussion and valuable contributions from all of our members

A healthy community has room for and encourages participation from everyone, regardless of their age, background or level of expertise

We do not and cannot review all content posted by viewers on the Web site, and we are not responsible for such content. However, we do reserve the right to delete or edit any reviews or other postings that are not, in our sole discretion, in the spirit of these basic values. We will monitor posting activity of anyone who violates the following guidelines and, if necessary, restrict their ability to post reviews or messages on the site.

General Guidelines

No insults or personal attacks

No profanity or obscene language

Debate - yes! Arguments or "flame wars" - no!

Post solicitations to buy or sell products only in the "Marketplace" section
the personal attacks are unwarranted and violate terms of usealtidude
Nov 26, 2003 3:12 PM
Oh boy, I see all the internet geeks have come crawling out of the woodwork like a bunch of cockroaches talking about what should be said and what should not be said. Listen geeks, this doesn't involve you, so take you phoney holier than thou personas and click on your keyboards elswhere. Nothing worse than having a good old fashioned argument interupted by a bunch of pretentious holier than thou internet geeks.
Nov 28, 2003 10:01 PM
It's my job to come out of the woodwork. By the way, I know what you are up to. You've been warned.

Who peed in your cornflakes altidude or scorpionking?Lone Gunman
Nov 27, 2003 10:16 AM
Put up or STF UP!! Produce a list of 7000 clueless chimps with the higher education degrees that you supposedly know and maybe we'll give you a bone for each one you can prove is a clueless chimp.
Somebody has some jealousy issues....nmrussw19
Nov 26, 2003 9:53 PM
Talk you OUT of them? I'd try and talk you INTO them!MShaw
Nov 26, 2003 10:26 AM
I own a pair of 404s that I race at the track. Mmmmmm! Fast!

That said, if I owned a pair for the road, I'd ride them for most everything but the most technical slow crits. Anything else and they're going to be faster than pretty much anything else out there.

Recommendation time: buy used! You can get the same wheelset for about half what you're about to spend if you surf ebay or the classifieds here. Zipps aren't everyday wheels for most guys so they aren't worked when they're sold.

I have a Zipp 340 rear wheel that I built up as a "training wheel" on my track bike. There's a noticable difference in feel at speed between the rear 340 and my 404 front wheel.

That help?

re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...jw25
Nov 26, 2003 1:50 PM
Errr, I wish I could talk you out of them, but it's awful hard.
I just picked up a set of older 440's for my TT bike. The rear hub's a freewheel, but I'll be relacing the rim to a casette hub over the winter. It was a great excuse to get a tensiometer...
They are fairly unique wheels, though. If you've never ridden deep carbon rims, it's worth it even to try them out. The fact these are my first tubies makes a difference, too, but some of it's the construction. I've ridden deep aluminum rims (Mavic Cosmic Pro - 37mm deep), and they don't even come close.
Braking is less of an issue than it's made out to be. If you're concerned, spend the bucks and get some Zipp carbon/carbon pads. I use Koolstop blacks, and they're fine. Granted, I'm not riding these in rain.
And, as was mentioned, check Ebay for loads of lightly used pairs for far less than $975. They might not be new, but that'll save you enough for spare tires. Consider that the breakthrough strength of the rim is something like 4 times the tensile strength of a 14g spoke, and I'm pretty sure a person would be hard-pressed to damage these rims without it being glaringly obvious.
That said, if you go Ebay, check the seller's feedback and their policies to avoid a scammer. Usually, they're blatantly obvious (no feedback, only takes escrow, outside the US), but there might be a couple smart ones out there. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I say get them - you'll love them.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...altidude
Nov 26, 2003 3:15 PM
Now where exactly is the rocket scientist, I mean career student, I mean brain surgeon, who thinks by trimming .25% weight off his ride package he suddenly accelerates up hills with so much more ease, or his cadence picks up ROTFLMAO!!
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...lithiapark
Nov 26, 2003 6:18 PM
Whoa! Just got home from a busy day at the office saving brains. It seems like I am caught in an Abbott and Costello routine. Instead of "Niagra Falls" though it is "Serotta Ottrott......slowly he turned.....step by step....." Well, you know how it goes.

Got to go, I need to work on convincing myself that those little black fish eggs really do taste good, and are worth the money.

Have a good Thanksgiving everyone.
re: QUICK!! Talk me out of a set of Zipp 404 tubulars...koala
Nov 26, 2003 8:16 PM
Hey maybe you could do the world a service and take the hostility out of some of some of the brains around here. BTW, saw a pick of your Ottrott and I for one like it. Good looking ride...