Zipp FC 404 or FC 404/808

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by Anikdote

I'm looking to get my first carbon clincher wheelset but I cant decide which wheelset I should settle for.
(I'm currently riding a stock axis 2.0 wheelset on my Tarmac)

404 FC front / 404 FC rear
404 FC front / 808 FC rear

I was thinking of getting the Rovals CLX50 but upon reading reviews about the braking surface in the dry and wet, I changed my mind.

6'1' (185cm), 155 lb (70kg) rider.
Location: NYC
I mostly do rides in prospect park, central park, 9W, river road, bear mountain, etc.
Avg grade % around here is 4%-8%.
In terms of climbing and sprinting, I like doing both but I'm more of a climber.

by Weenie

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by fa63

404. The 808 rear would look out of place on a Tarmac, in my opinion (too deep). Plus, the 404 would be lighter; this is still Weight Weenies after all

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by vanillaflyweight

Personally if you were doing crits and flattish road races I'd go for the 404s. If more climbing then possibly even the 303s would be better for you and at 45mm deep they are still reasonably aero. I'd only go the 404/808 if you were doing TTs regularly

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by FIJIGabe

If you're a climber, as you claim, then neither of these wheels will suit your needs. Invest in a set of 303's (or equivalent - like Enve 4.5's). You don't really need anything larger than 50mm to get the job done on that bike, and 404's (and worse, 808's) will actually hurt your performance, given the extra weight.
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by MomentumR5

I would say 404's front and back. Holds high end speed excellent and climbs well. 303's take more work to keep it going but spins up faster. I own both sets. 303 FC and 404 NSW's. If you want to run that staggered look, go 303 front and 404 rear. I wouldn't go 808 rear. It's heavy, crosswinds, and doesn't look right on a traditional frame.

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by JHeiro

I don't think crosswind stability would be an issue with 404/808 combination. even for a small rider (I'm 178cm / 64kg).

I'm switching between three wheelsets on my Pinarello Dogma F8: Lightweight Meilensteins, Bora Ultra 50s and Zipp NSW 404/808. The 404/808 combination is actually less susceptible to crosswinds than the narrow V-profile Lightweights. As for straigtline speed on the flats, the 404/808 combination is clearly the fastest of the three. I can feel the extra weight when accelerating, but it's not like there's a huge difference.

I live in a flat area though, and for climbing a 404, or a 303/404 combination as suggested before might be a better fit than 404/808.

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by alcatraz

I was in a similar position as you. Got a light climbing bike and wanted to get some new wheels. My routes include climbing but not always. I can benefit both from low weight and from flat road speed.

I went for zipp 404 (copies) in the end. With 23mm tires that grow up to 25mm and the toroidal rim being 27mm at it's widest point it's really perfect. I get a nice wing shape and I can use the lighter 23mm tires. I'm 60kg/175cm.

Not once have I been afraid of crosswinds. Going less than 404 because of crosswinds is something I don't understand.

Wheelset came in at exactly 1500gr. My old wheels (clincher kinlin xr200 were 1300gr). I took a 200gr weight penalty with the reasoning that the wheels are the fastest spinning part on your bike. Even for non aero frames there is low hanging fruit to be had here in the form of aero gains.

Your rear wheel I hear is not as important as your front wheel because your bike and you already disturbed the airflow. 808 was in my mind aswell but I settled for a 404 here. Just because it better matches the front and because the influence is smaller.


Edit: If you are coming from alloy rims your braking will be shit. Just remember that. Expect to replace (quite expensive) brake pads a lot more often and not getting much of a bite when braking. Going carbon rims and occasional climbing really puts the mind at disc brakes which is a whole other story and a hard decision. For heavy riders it's also important to not melt the rim, so good quality could be vital there.

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by Hexsense

i thought i can handle deep wheel very well until few days ago. Hurricane Harvey caught me off guard (even though it doesn't directly hit my area/state) by providing around 30-40 km/h steady crosswind with some faster gust. Now i think i could not live with a single pair of deep wheel without a spare shallower (less than 45mm) front wheel for the situation like this if i want to keep riding outside every few times a week.

So, if you don't get rid of your Axis wheel but rather, keep it as a spare. you are good to get any depth you like.
If not then get another front wheel 45mm (303) or less too. It doesn't have to be race-ready level because most race will cancel if the wind become this strong anyway.

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by inchul

I do not recommend zipp404 ...
808 is too much.

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by rossjm11

I own a pair of 404s, and initially had the 808 rear. The 808 has not gone on my bike once this season. The snappiness of the 404s is just unparalleled. Plus, aesthetics!!
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by Geoff

I would recommend starting with the mixed set. I have a set of Hed Stinger 6/9s and love them. I also got another Stinger 6 rear wheel later. You can do the same thing with your Zipps. The deep rear is just plain faster. The deeper wheels climb just fine. The big/little looks really cool on the Tarmac.

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by Philbar72

404's all round is the best median.

by Weenie

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