During the development process for the 404 Carbon Clincher, chemists and engineers from Zipp’s composites supplier made repeated visits to Zipp’s R&D lab to test and refine the new technology, which offers more consistent braking performance and prevents spikes in tire pressure on long descents.
According to Jim Douglas, Zipp product manager for wheels, “The versatility and popularity of the Zipp 404 made it a natural choice for carbon clincher. The performance characteristics of the 404, combined with the functionality of our carbon clincher and Firecrest rim shape will make it a success among triathletes and road racers alike.”
Indeed, the 58mm-deep 404 has long been a favorite of Zipp athletes for long-course triathlons, field sprints, rolling breakaways, and even mountain stages.
Like all Zipp carbon wheels, the 404 Carbon Clincher uses rims manufactured in-house by Zipp, premium Sapim CX-Ray spokes (16 front/20 rear), and US-made hubs with Swiss steel bearings.
Suggested retail price is $2700 U.S. per wheelset.
It’s no surprise that the world’s fastest riders want the world’s fastest wheels, and Zipp’s lineup of teams for 2010 surpasses that of any year in our history. Here’s a preview of who’ll be riding Zipp wheels this year.
TEAM SAXO BANK
Since 2004, our partnership with Bjarne Riis’ program has yielded nothing but results, on the road and in the design lab. The team has won world championships, Olympic gold, Spring Classics, the Tour de France, and countless other races. Their testing and feedback have helped make Zipp wheels lighter, stronger, and faster.
Team Saxo Bank’s 2010 roster is as versatile as ever. Fabian Cancellara will look to retain his title as the world’s best time trialist and return to top form in the Spring Classics after last year’s injury-plagued early season. Meanwhile, Frank and Andy Schleck will hunt for wins in the hillier Classics and build their GC form for the Tour de France.
Key wheel: The new Super-9 disc will play an important role as the Schlecks improve their time trial performances and Cancellara continues to dominate in the race against the clock.
Last year, Cervélo TestTeam’s debut season included a strong campaign in the Spring Classics, multiple stage wins in each of the Grand Tours, and capturing the green jersey at the Tour de France. Meanwhile, Cervélo’s women’s team won the Giro d’Italia and La Grande Boucle. In 2010, the TestTeam will once again be on Zipp wheels as they make the transition from upstart to established powerhouse.
Cervélo TestTeam has a shot to win almost any race. On the men’s team, Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler offer balance for the Classics and Tour de France stage wins. Carlos Sastre’s Tour victory in 2008 places him in the upper echelon of GC contenders, along with stage race standouts Claudia Haeusler and Emma Pooley on the women’s team.
Key wheel: The supremely versatile 303 will provide strength and toughness in the Spring Classics along with light weight and aerodynamics for breakaways in Grand Tour transition stages.
ASTANA CYCLING TEAM
The final addition to Zipp’s 2010 sponsorship roster was a big one. The revamped Astana Cycling Team features two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, 2006 Tour winner Oscar Pereiro, and Alexander Vinokourov. Like Team Saxo Bank, Astana will be riding Specialized bikes with Zipp wheels and SRAM components.
Having won the last four Grand Tours he’s contested, Contador will again be the odds-on favorite for the 2010 Tour de France. But he’s not Astana’s only card to play. Vinokourov, Pereiro, and sprinter Allan Davis are all experienced race winners.
Key wheel: Astana will rely on Contador’s climbing ability to deliver a third Tour win, and he’ll rely on the Zipp 202 in the high mountains.
All three programs will have access to Zipp’s full range of high-performance race wheels, all made by hand in Speedway, Indiana: the 202 climbing wheel; the all-around 303 and 404 models; the 808 and 1080 wind tunnel tuned wheels; and the Super-9, Sub-9, and 900 discs. No other company offers as many options to suit all conditions and terrain.
Photo credits: Tim De Waele