Real world use of ZIpp 404 firecrest - I am struggling. Advice req.

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
KarlC
Posts: 721
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:08 am
Location: San Diego Ca USA

by KarlC

My first ride on my set of Zipp 404 firecrest tubular wheels was amazing, they felt so fast, so smooth I was in love. I never had any issue on down hill runs up to 50 mph with them and my BMC TMR01. I did get thrown around at times by strong gust of wind just on normal rides, these would freak me out a bit, and my back wheel would move side to side ezaly just by hand.

Like most of us after awhile I wanted a change and had read really good reviews about the Reynolds Aero line, these are more of a tear drop shape like the Reynolds RZR line. I came across a really good deal on a like new set of Reynolds Aero 58 / 72 Tubular wheels so I jumped on them.

Comparing these to the Zipp 404 Firecrest tubular wheels I have, I would pick the Reynolds.

The Reynolds are ....
- Lighter - They are right at 1300 grams
- Stiffer - They don't move side to side like the Zipp 404 are know to do
- Braking - Hands down the Reynolds are so much better, especially with the Reynolds Cryo Blue Power Brake Pads
- Better Quality - These things are a work of art
- Better Hubs - DT Swiss 240 VS Zipp hubs with know issues
- Wider - Not has wide as some of the current wheels but wider that the Zipp 404 Firecrest
- Faster - Its had to say but they do feel faster, and I have been setting new Strava PR's on every ride
- Cross Winds - You really don't even notice them, this is what I read in all the reviews and it holds true.

On top of all that they just feel better all around, I have more confidence riding them, this brings miles of smiles.

I kinda wanted the Reynolds 72 / 72 Aero Tubular wheel combo but ended up with the 58 /72 for a sweet deal and maybe that's better as I read this excellent post on Slow Twitch on crosswind stability. I was not aware of point 2. .....

A few thoughts on crosswind stability for you.

1. Front wheels cause more stability problems than rear wheels because they have a steering axis (your handlebars/head tube). When wind hits your front wheel it can cause the front wheel to turn, which can cause stability issues, and for lack of better terms, scare you. The depth of your front wheel, and the shape of your front wheel both contribute to the instability. In most cases, the deeper the wheel, the more unstable it becomes. With respect to wheel shape, wheels that produce a high amount of yaw torque (a fancy way of saying the wind causes your handlebars to turn) are also less stable. Some of the most modern wheel designs have taken not only aerodynamics into consideration, but also yaw torque. As an example, our design algorithm included yaw torque as a parameter. This is because we know stability is important, simply because a fast wheel that is nearly impossible to ride, will slow you down because you can't control it.

2. The depth ratio of your front wheel compared to your rear wheel matters when talking about stability. As your rear wheels gets deeper with respect to the front wheel, your center of pressure moves towards the rear end of the bike. To visualize this, imagine you were looking at a picture of yourself riding your bike from the side. If you had to find the center of the "area" you create, that would be your center of pressure. As you create more rear area with a deeper rear wheel, the center of that area moves backwards. As your center of pressure moves backwards, you reduce the force on your front wheel, and in turn increase stability.



So maybe a 58 / 72 size combo is more stable that a 58 / 58 or a 72 / 72 ?

antonioiglesius
Posts: 269
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

Dumb question: Is there any sort of measurement available today which indicates how unstable the wheel is under cross winds? I see a number of drag graphs but those don't indicate stability, do they?

by Weenie


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mpulsiv
Posts: 1039
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:17 pm

by mpulsiv

As others have mentioned, try shallower wheels (e.g. ~ 40mm). I understand that aesthetics is important but you'd have to sacrifice somewhere. On average, 15mm depth (from 40mm to 55mm) will yield ~5-15 seconds advantage in the mythical 40k between 0-10 yaw angle.
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TacoShoppe
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:56 am

by TacoShoppe

I have the Madone 9 as well and I get the same whobble with CLX 64 in strong winds. I find it if I descend in the drops and put a little more weight on the front of the bike it stabilizes a little.

addictR1
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:11 am

by addictR1

KarlC wrote:My first ride on my set of Zipp 404 firecrest tubular wheels was amazing, they felt so fast, so smooth I was in love. I never had any issue on down hill runs up to 50 mph with them and my BMC TMR01. I did get thrown around at times by strong gust of wind just on normal rides, these would freak me out a bit, and my back wheel would move side to side ezaly just by hand.

Like most of us after awhile I wanted a change and had read really good reviews about the Reynolds Aero line, these are more of a tear drop shape like the Reynolds RZR line. I came across a really good deal on a like new set of Reynolds Aero 58 / 72 Tubular wheels so I jumped on them.

Comparing these to the Zipp 404 Firecrest tubular wheels I have, I would pick the Reynolds.

The Reynolds are ....
- Lighter - They are right at 1300 grams
- Stiffer - They don't move side to side like the Zipp 404 are know to do
- Braking - Hands down the Reynolds are so much better, especially with the Reynolds Cryo Blue Power Brake Pads
- Better Quality - These things are a work of art
- Better Hubs - DT Swiss 240 VS Zipp hubs with know issues
- Wider - Not has wide as some of the current wheels but wider that the Zipp 404 Firecrest
- Faster - Its had to say but they do feel faster, and I have been setting new Strava PR's on every ride
- Cross Winds - You really don't even notice them, this is what I read in all the reviews and it holds true.

On top of all that they just feel better all around, I have more confidence riding them, this brings miles of smiles.

I kinda wanted the Reynolds 72 / 72 Aero Tubular wheel combo but ended up with the 58 /72 for a sweet deal and maybe that's better as I read this excellent post on Slow Twitch on crosswind stability. I was not aware of point 2. .....

A few thoughts on crosswind stability for you.

1. Front wheels cause more stability problems than rear wheels because they have a steering axis (your handlebars/head tube). When wind hits your front wheel it can cause the front wheel to turn, which can cause stability issues, and for lack of better terms, scare you. The depth of your front wheel, and the shape of your front wheel both contribute to the instability. In most cases, the deeper the wheel, the more unstable it becomes. With respect to wheel shape, wheels that produce a high amount of yaw torque (a fancy way of saying the wind causes your handlebars to turn) are also less stable. Some of the most modern wheel designs have taken not only aerodynamics into consideration, but also yaw torque. As an example, our design algorithm included yaw torque as a parameter. This is because we know stability is important, simply because a fast wheel that is nearly impossible to ride, will slow you down because you can't control it.

2. The depth ratio of your front wheel compared to your rear wheel matters when talking about stability. As your rear wheels gets deeper with respect to the front wheel, your center of pressure moves towards the rear end of the bike. To visualize this, imagine you were looking at a picture of yourself riding your bike from the side. If you had to find the center of the "area" you create, that would be your center of pressure. As you create more rear area with a deeper rear wheel, the center of that area moves backwards. As your center of pressure moves backwards, you reduce the force on your front wheel, and in turn increase stability.



So maybe a 58 / 72 size combo is more stable that a 58 / 58 or a 72 / 72 ?


Exactly what Karl said. I have the 72/72 combo and freaking love it. I suck at descent.. easily toasted previous two sets of farsport. Braking on these are fantastic even for a novice like me. Crosswind... hum.. u feel some but coming down at 35mph I feel very confident with these set. With the previous 38mm farsport in both V or U shape, I feel pushed around, but not much so on these Aero72.


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cyclespeed
Posts: 585
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:45 am

by cyclespeed

I ride Lightweight Meilensteins (47.5mm) all year round in quite a windy environment. I have no problems whatsoever despite these wheels being supposedly 'vastly inferior' to the newer toroidal shapes.

Sure it can twitch a bit in gusts, but it's never an issue. This includes fast descents. Up to about 60km/h wind is perfectly safe. Beyond that you need to be able to swerve up to 1m across the road if necessary....!

dmtevo
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:35 pm

by dmtevo

I ride Zipp 303's and in a constant cross wind they're not too bad. You get a fairly consistent feel and can counter it without too many problems. I've not had issues when descending but I rarely achieve over 40mph and if i do its only for a few seconds.
The trickiest part tends to be the gaps in the hedge rows or field gates where the wind can gust quite quickly and catch you out but I find this with my Zipps and regular sectioned wheels.
Maybe a slightly wider bar width would help to build confidence. This might give you a less twitchy feel..

NiFTY
Posts: 1145
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 11:26 pm

by NiFTY

I think its you. Unless you are extremely light. I am 70kg. I ride meilensteins, as above, notoriously twitchy handlers, downhill at over 90kmh without fear, sitting on the toptube. No speed wobbles. Does the wind blow them, yes, do i counter steer, yes.

Mindset is an amazing thing. I had a crash on my motorbike up a mountain road. No damage, luckily, as i landed in leaf litter. Rode back home just as fast. Had some time to think about the crash later that night and rode like a snail for the next 3 months always looking at the outside of the corner, not the exit.

Firecrest are a relatively stable wheel. Decent braking. No history of delaminating. Its you. Wasting money on a new wheel is not going to give you courage. Just ride with a good descender and follow their line and look through the corner. Get out of your head before you hurt yourself.
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Marin
Posts: 2816
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:48 am
Location: Vienna Austria

by Marin

Get light 25x25 wheels, in a straight line the aero will be basically the same as tall wheels, when climbing they are lighter and under crosswinds you'll be faster because you're not scared. win/win/win.

Make them enves if you need the branding, or anything else. I love my 1280g Light Bicycle 25x25mm set :)

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mrgray
Posts: 787
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:56 am

by mrgray

i think different wheels offer vastly different performance in the scenario you outline (fast descents in gusting winds). i like you can be severely impacted by a front wheel that moves without my input. in short it scares me to death. cyclespeed above cavalierly describes the lateral movement that can occur with lightweights. i can't ride those on descents because they scare me to death. i think once you get nervous one tends to shift weight backwards and this compounds the problem. then of course you're on carbon clinchers and you're braking alot for fear of higher speed and this introduces the potential over heating issue. in summation - no fun.

for me the whole thing has led to having wheel setups which mean i don't have to fear gusts. it just isn't worth it.

and it has really worked. as my wheel setups have more stability it is something i worry about less (not at all anymore) and that gets me more forward and it just isn't an issue.

wheels i have found to be great re: stability are
- boras (even 80 mm are very good i find) 35, 50
- hed stingers 5/6 combo (just absolutely not an issue, amazing in a cross wind)

the worst wheels for me re: gusts are without any doubt the v-shaped ones. they seem to hold and then release and the effect is not conducive to building confidence in my opinion.

good luck with sorting it out. first step, ride anything other than these 404s by the sound of it.
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SixThirteen
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 11:49 am

by SixThirteen

TacoShoppe wrote:I have the Madone 9 as well and I get the same whobble with CLX 64 in strong winds. I find it if I descend in the drops and put a little more weight on the front of the bike it stabilizes a little.


That wobbling happens to me as well, on 60mm FLo. I've been told that if you press your knees to the top tube while descending they add as a damper and lessen the wobbles. I've been testing and so far a little better.

diegogarcia
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:31 pm

by diegogarcia

Thanks all, I appreciate all input and advice.

Just back from a decent 32 mile 'recovery' ride / bimble after last weeks big effort and I relaxed and rode well and used the mantra "i am the force and the force is with me". Yes, Rogue One delivered yesterday LOL. I did relax and it was a littel choppy in places but I will continue until I cannot and even if I have to back the bike off, I will. It may be that the Madone is confined to fast Tuesday and full gas rides and I buy something else, like a disc brake bike for overtly 'hilly days'. The other thing I have concluded as a zipp 303 front may be a decent, cheaper option than a whole wheel set or a.n.other bike. Mulling it over.

Thanks again and good to know I am not alone in this descending with deep thing.

Johnnysmooth
Posts: 183
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Beantown

by Johnnysmooth

spdntrxi wrote:Get a 202 front for the mountainous / windy days . Atleast try to borrow a swallow wheel and see


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I have used wheels similar to the 404s in depth and x-winds didn't bother me as much as the harshness of ride and switched to Reynolds MV 32s for years and now ride the mid-depth Boras.

Another option, throw a Zipp 303 on the front and keep 404 on rear. Better stability in x-winds and still get some of benefit of deeper rim in rear.
It only hurts if you think.

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nickf
Posts: 580
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:34 pm

by nickf

I have had my Bontrager Aeolus 5 tubs for a couple of years now. I don't get blown around at all. The times i had them up in the mountains they are stable and predictable. They come in at 50mm deep and pair well with a 25mm tire. Clincher has a 27mm outer width and 19.5 inner. I wont use any other wheel. The hubs are far superior to zipp IMO, bearings and all.

diegogarcia
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:31 pm

by diegogarcia

OK thanks all.

Cash wise somethings are out of reach unless I sell the 404's on first.

However, I have worked out the cheapest option is to get a 303 for the front and partner that with a 404 rear and call them 707 !

So, can anyone advise to the 303 being a better / safer/ easier to handle wheel at only 13mm less deep than the 404.

Presently, this makes the most sense as in the long run I could run 303 front and back / add another frame later on.

Many thanks.

by Weenie


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