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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on Zipp's Firecrest 808s?

    Upgraded to a Cervelo S5 Aero Frame recently and would like to replace the wheels as the stock shoes are... lacking. After exhaustive research on a variety of aero wheel manufacturers, I've decided on the Zipp 808 Firecrest model. I plan to use them all the time, not just for racing. I like Zipp's warranty and crash replacement policy, and have heard that the new Zipp's can handle quite a lot in terms of abuse.

    The standard Tubular/Carbon Clichers are 16/20 spoke front/rear. I'm 6'0 and weigh between 205 - 210 on average, but am more stocky than anything. As a result, I tend to put a lot of power down when I ride. The standard (non-track) 808s have a weight limit of 250 lbs., so I'm well below this. What I am concerned about, is wheel flex. Even Zipp has research demonstrating higher stiffness as spoke count increases. So while I may be able to comfortably ride these wheels without damaging them for years to come, I worry about losing power while climbing, sprinting, etc.

    I contacted Zipp directly about my concerns, and they weren't a whole lot of help. They indicated that their standard wheels would handle my weight fine, but if I was concerned about flex, I could buy the rim and have additional spokes added as part of their MAX wheelset (24/28 front/rear), which is not advertised on their website. They do have Track Tubulars listed with 20/24 spoke count, but the weight limit on these is actually LESS at 225 lbs. I don't understand this at all. Additionally, I would really prefer clinchers since tubulars seem like a pain in the butt to deal with.

    Anyway, I was hoping to get some thoughts from you more powerful, heavier riders. Thanks in Advance.

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    How much more does the 24/28 configuration cost than the regular wheels? I personally would feel a lot better on 24/28 (in fact, that's what my wheels are, Easton EA90SL) and I only outweigh you by a whopping 10 pounds.

    Personally, I'd get 404s (those are in fact the wheels I regularly drool over). They seem to have a great balance between aero drag and usability in all conditions. I'm guessing you're not doing time trials or Tris or you would have gotten one of the P bikes.

    Naturally, when you get them, you are required to come back and post pictures.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Personally, I'd get 404s (those are in fact the wheels I regularly drool over). They seem to have a great balance between aero drag and usability in all conditions.
    Agreed. Haven't ridden either wheelset, but friends who've ridden the 808s say they can be a bit... dramatic... in cross-winds. They're mostly lighter guys, however. Still, common wisdom seems to suggest that the 404s are the best all-around Zipp wheels.

    If I were going to invest in a set of 404 or 808 wheels, I'd want to test-ride them first. There are a few shops in my area that rent aero wheels, mostly to triathletes, on a daily or weekly basis. I think most will credit your rental fee toward a purchase if you end up buying. Might be a good way to give either the 16/20-spoke version of the 808 (or 404) a try before making a decision...

  4. #4
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I have a set of 45 mm carbon and can tell you i feel the wind much more than on my a23 rims.

    on top of that, 808s would never be classified and sprinting or climbing rims.

  5. #5
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    50mm wheels and about 210, the wind blows me around on decents its scary to think about riding 80's or 100's on the front. Race wheel only then the 808s might be fine but also for club stuff now you will be putting others in danger since i doubt you can ride straight in cross winds or decents. Want some bullet proof wheel for every day stuff, look into mavic carbone slr.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    The 808's are more than stiff enough for you. I'm taller and heavier than you and own several sets of Zipp wheels. One set since 2005 and they're daily drivers (so to speak). They're more than durable enough.

    Not that you asked but I'd be more inclined to go with the 404's too. I think they're a better all around wheel. If you are worried about the wind at all you might think about an 808 in the rear and a 404 in front. You could put a disk in the back in a wind storm and it won't affect the handling that much so the 808 is fine. It's the front that you have to watch out for.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    How much more does the 24/28 configuration cost than the regular wheels?
    Not sure about the 24/28, but the track tubulars 20/24 seem to be pretty close in price.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Personally, I'd get 404s (those are in fact the wheels I regularly drool over). They seem to have a great balance between aero drag and usability in all conditions. I'm guessing you're not doing time trials or Tris or you would have gotten one of the P bikes.
    I am considering the 404s, but the 808s are only 235 grams more weight-wise. While that is rotational mass, I just don't know if the added aero advantage outweighs the minor weight savings.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Naturally, when you get them, you are required to come back and post pictures.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum!
    I will and thanks!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    The 808's are more than stiff enough for you. I'm taller and heavier than you and own several sets of Zipp wheels. One set since 2005 and they're daily drivers (so to speak). They're more than durable enough.

    Not that you asked but I'd be more inclined to go with the 404's too. I think they're a better all around wheel. If you are worried about the wind at all you might think about an 808 in the rear and a 404 in front. You could put a disk in the back in a wind storm and it won't affect the handling that much so the 808 is fine. It's the front that you have to watch out for.
    Thanks for the info! Good to know. Will continue to research the 404's vs. the 808's, but am still leaning towards 808.

    For those who have commented about their stability in crosswinds, the firecrest line is supposed to handle much better in the wind than the prior generation. I believe I read that the new 808's are more stable than the old 404's.

    I am going to try and find a LBS that'll rent them. Thanks for the recommendation on that.

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