Just riding along a swamp with a GoPro, taking a selfie, and then alligator!
My first ride at PressCamp ‘14 was in a freak summer mountain snowstorm on a Felt with the all-new, Zipp Firestrikes. I couldn’t tell you at the time what the model was and how they performed in the howling wind, sleet, hail, and snow because Zipp hadn’t officially announced the wheelset yet.
Now, with the embargo over, here are the photos and initial review.
Developed four years after the first Firecrest, these are Zipp’s next-level, aero racing wheel. On the second day in sunny conditions with a strong headwind against my chest, I titled them with confidence along the yellow center line, as it curved into the next turn on the descent. Like a S model iPhone, it’s similar to the phone before it, with a snappier, faster feel.
Basics of bicycle science
Here’s the science Zipp used to focus their development efforts on making a rim deeper than the 303 that handles better thanks to
optimized edges that move the center of pressure nearest the steering axis
and the complex wheel shape that imparts a shedding pattern which achieves a thirty four percent reduction in side force. That means these wheels are exceptionally stable and steerable including when ridden in an unexpected, windy snowstorm. Before the pads froze on that ride, they gripped the new molded-in, textured brake track and provided certainty that the bike was going to stop when I wanted it to. In normal Park City summer temperatures, I grabbed the brakes hard and power slid the bike. I don’t remember ever doing that on 303 Firecrests…
New dimple pattern and an embedded braking surface
I’ll have more observations about the 404 Firestrikes in the 14th issue of our magazine. After the snow and mountain sun, I’ll take them out in the Pacific Northwest rain.
That was cold
The Zipp 404 Firestrike Carbon Clincher is available now for $3,600 USD and ships with
- TI QRs
- Zipp rim tape
- Tangente Tubes
- Tangente Valve Extensions
- Tangente Platinum Pro Evo Brake Pads
- Wheel bags.
Mercedes GLA with Tern, Photo by Pei Ketron from MBUSA
Last time I saw Pei was in Austin during SXSW and she rode the Mobile Social with us and spoke about mobile photography. Recently on Instagram she shared a photograph of a shot she did for Mercedes with a Tern Tern. Follow Pei and see where she ends up next, she occasionally spots a bike like this and is riding a Tern around Taiwan.
A Moment with Pei in Austin
Getting the shot in Park City during PressCamp
Getting the shot with @jakobschiller and @tinyblackbox in the PressCamp Summer Snowstorm…what usually happens at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City Utah is journalists meet with product and brand managers in the morning and then ride in the afternoon. Yesterday after a rainy day turned to sleet, some hail, and then snow, I rode two laps around the lake on a Felt with Zipps and SRAM RED before the brake pads froze. When soft rubber pads freeze hard like a hockey puck, they don’t grab the brake surface with enough force to adequately stop, as I learned. Also, when the hard rime built up on the seat post and aero bars, the sound changed from whoosh to a soft whistle.
The Sugoi jacket I wore worked great! Being from Seattle, I was prepared with wool, ‘cept for knickers or knee warmers, so my knees were bright red when I dismounted and Jakob and Jim were there with cameras. Not sure if we’ll ride today, but the bike I want to ride the most is the GT Grade. They’ll have to replace the slicks with file treads though, cause it’s gonna be greasy out there.
Made a whistle sound
Looking to the sky from the condo windows too and hoping the sun comes out.