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New Zipp 404 NSW wheelset released

Zipp 404 NSW rim
Stu Bowers
3 Feb 2016

The new Zipp 404 NSW is 137g lighter and, thanks to a hub and rim resdesign, is a whole lot faster.

Volkswagen has always been good at advertising and I’ve always had a soft spot for the ‘…just like a Golf’ ad, where various people describe different cars as being ‘just like a Golf’. Soon Zipp could make the same advert for the 404, so sure is it’s position as the benchmark wheelset.

Zipp 404 NSW

At a glance Zipp’s new 404 NSW doesn’t appear to have changed a great deal, aside from perhaps its distinct hubs, but look closer and you’ll see nothing has escaped at least a tweak. Zipp claims this is its fastest 404 wheelset yet, but also some 137g lighter per pair than its predecessor. Our set weighed in at 689g front and 838g rear, totaling 1527g, that’s 23g under the claimed 1550g.

Improving on something as highly regarded as the 404 has been the job of Zipp’s advanced development team, a bunch of specialist engineers who live in what Zipp employees term the ‘Nest’ (That’s also what the ‘n’ in NSW stands for - Nest Speed Weaponry), and with the exception of the hubshells, these wheels are all handmade in its Indianapolis facility. A key feature of the Cognition hubs is reduced drag at the freehub during freewheeling, such as when a rider is tucked in an aero position on a descent. Magnets aid the complete disengagement of the freehub’s axial clutch, which also has a 36 point engagement for a rapid pick-up, and both hubs spin on high quality Swiss stainless steel bearings. 

Zipp 404 NSW braking surface

Zipp’s Showstopper silicone carbide, grooved brake track, first seen in the limited Firestrike edition of the 404 in 2015, is further improved and should ensure decent braking performance in all conditions, plus a redesigned ‘Sawtooth’ dimple pattern Zipp claims a 34% reduction in crosswind force (compared to 404 Firecrest) resulting in increased aero efficiency plus better stability. Last but not least, Impress graphics means no more decals, the logos are applied directly on the carbon, further improving aero performance, but also giving the 404 NSW a distinctly sleek look.

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