Zipp 404 NSW – First Look

Zipp couldn’t have introduced their NSW line of wheels in a more dramatic fashion this fall than when they were ridden to victory underneath Jan Frodeno the same week they first saw the public light. So obviously the big question today with the announcement of the next line of the NSW series – the 404 NSW; what do they plan on winning this weekend?


The Zipp 404 NSW

The new 404 NSW originates from the same best of breed mentality as the 808 NSW. Michael Hall, Zipp Director of Advanced Development said: “Zipp NSW is basically the most advanced development technology that Zipp has at that time.” NSW, which stands for Nest Speed Weaponry, comes from the nickname “The Nest”—what Zipp engineers call the windowless, high-security advanced-development lab in the corner of the Zipp factory.


The 404 has improved braking performance, increased aerodynamic efficiency, and enhanced crosswind stability for their most popular, and best-selling, rim depth. With a rim depth of 58mm, the 404 NSW is designed as a do-everything wheelset that is adept at climbing and maintaining speed on the flats; a wheel strong enough to handle the Spring Classics, but light enough to inspire sprints out of corners.


With its advanced aerodynamics, developed using 42 different CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) concept studies and weeks in the wind tunnel, the 404 NSWs feature up to 34% reduction in crosswind side force.


Like the 808 NSW before it, the 404 NSW features Showstopper breaking technology. Showstopper’s power resides in directional, molded-in texture paired with silicon carbide (SiC) particles suspended in the surface resin. SiC is nearly three-times harder than hardened steel, which helps ensure a strong and consistent braking experience. The grooves on the wheel also help to wipe water away and act as cooling vanes.


Also shared with the 808 NSW is the ABLC (Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control) Sawtooth dimple design, which consist of 12 nodes that are specifically clocked to start aerodynamic shearing at a rate of 50hz at a rider speed of 20mph. Sawtooth accomplishes this by inducing small sheet vortices that shed at a low magnitude, but at a higher natural frequency, thus decreasing the laminar bubble effect on the aerodynamically shielded side of the rim’s profile to further reduce high yaw drag and improve crosswind stability.


The Cognition hubset on the 404 NSW features Zipp’s Axial Clutch technology. Every time a conventional hubset starts to coast, friction within the freehub ratchet mechanism works like a drum brake to slow the rider down. Axial Clutch technology, reduces this drag by disengaging the ratchet mechanism when coasting. With less internal hub drag, a rider can pedal less when drafting in a headwind, achieve higher speeds when coasting in an aero tuck, or opt to stop pedaling a moment sooner before entering a corner and bank that wattage for use exiting the corner.

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Magnets are used inside the Axial Clutch mechanism, rather than steel springs, to move and engage lightweight Metal injection Molded (MIM) ratchet rings for reliable and consistent operation.


The Axial Clutch freehub mechanism is also compatible with XD drivers. This gives riders the option to select a 10-42 cassette to assemble a 1×11 drivetrain with an equivalent range to either a compact or standard road double drivetrain.


The wheelset weighs in at 1555g (705g/850g) and comes with a price tag of $3,100.


Wrapping Up

We just started riding 808 NSWs a few weeks ago, and even with just a few rides we are already becoming fans of Zipp’s newest technology. With the 404 NSW, now we can bring that tech to our aero road bikes. Yes we know that $3,100 is an incredible price for a set of wheels. But if you are looking for every possible advantage on the bike you can get – Zipp just offered up a new option for you.

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