Wind Tunnel Tested: Five Aero Wheelsets

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Jan 30, 2013
  • Updated Dec 30, 2014 at 9:04 AM UTC
Photo: Scott Draper

Zipp 404 / 808 Firecrest Carbon Clincher

Roll it: For an outstanding all-arounder wheelset suited for any ride

Keep looking: If you want aluminum-rim braking, but really, these wheels have no ride-quality shortcomings

Braking performance: Another pair displaying impressive stopping performance for carbon rim wheels, Zipp’s Firecrest wheels boast the testers’ second-ranked brake feel among the all-carbon wheels. They gradually increase stopping power and gave one tester complete and unexpected confidence during a tight-packed group ride.

Cornering and acceleration: With the ability to spin up to speed, smoothly track through a corner and “stay stiff and solid while descending aggressively,” Zipp’s carbon clinchers won praise from testers for their all-around performance. Although they didn’t dominate any of the test conditions, these wheels excelled across the board.

Road feel: Steady crosswinds seemed to roll right off Zipp’s Firecrest rim shape. The wheels tracked perfectly through moderate winds and were still stable in any conditions faced during the test. With the exception of the Heds and Bontragers, these wheels dampened vibration better than the rest, creating a smooth yet responsive connection with the pavement.

Overall: Stupendous tunnel performance coupled with flawless ride feel.

RELATED – Fast Company: The Zipp Story

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FILED UNDER: Bike / Gear & Tech / Hi Tech Upgrades / InsideTri

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

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