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Zipp 454 and 858 Wheelset Review

Zipp 454 and 858 Wheelset Review

Earlier in 2017 Zipp launched the 454 and the 858 Carbon Rims and radically changed the design of what carbon wheels look like.  Zipp incorporated what they called a biomimicry-derived Sawtooth rim.

Zipp 454 and 858 Wheelset Review

Humpback Whales Aerodynamics And Hydrodynamics

Rather than the wheels being circular on the inside, a sawtooth pattern is used, mimicking properties of the dorsal fin of a humpback whale.  When Zipp’s engineers were looking to improve upon the Zipp 404s and 808s they looked to nature and how whales, specifically humpback whales use their dorsal fins in the water.

Since aerodynamics and hydrodynamics have similar properties, the thinking was that if something is efficient in the water it could be equally efficient in the air.  As it turns out this radically new design made the wheels more aero dynamic and improved crosswind stability, a big factor constantly changing race conditions.

Crosswind Wheelsets

To give you example of how the Zipp 454 and 858 wheel might play out.  When I was doing triathlons, my go to setup was to run a Zipp disk in the rear and a 808 front.  The problem with this setup is it wasn’t very forgiving if there was a lot of crosswind on the course.

At the Kona Ironman crosswinds could be absolutely brutal.  In an Ironman situation I often would go with a 808 or 404 rear and a 404 or 303 front, depending on the conditions.  The problem of course is if I traveled to a race in another state or country, I could only bring one set of wheels and I couldn’t prepare as easily for variable wind conditions.  In those situations I would often skip bringing the disk and instead go for a compromise wheel setup.

Running a shallower front provides a bit more stability and control from crosswinds.  With Zipp’s new 858 design, I could have easily seen me run dual 858s because of their crosswind stability and not have to worry about race day conditions.

Beyond The Sawtooth Design

While the Sawtooth design of the 858 and the 454 are head turners, Zipp has also incorporated other neat features including what they refer to as hexagonal ABLC variable dimple & ridged design.  These dimples and ridges help reduce air drag on the rim by braking it up.

The clinchers braking surface is coated with Zipp’s silicon carbide particles called Showstopper that provides an exceptional surface for braking.

Why Use 454 If The 858 Is More Aero?

To be honest the 858 is the faster wheel, but if you’re road racing it’s not as responsive as the 454 or as light.  My thought is the 858 is your go to time trial wheel and the 454 is your road racing and training wheelset.

 

Zipp 858 Specifications

Zipp 858 Wheelset Review

Front Wheel
Weight 808g
Hub Used Cognition
Hub Width 100mm
Rim Depth 77/82mm
Max Width 24.4mm
Internal Width 17mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Ray Straight Pull
Spoke Count 18
Spoke Pattern Radial
Spoke Length 224mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
Dimpled Surface ABLC™ HexFin™ Technology
Nipples Sapim® Secure Lock
External Nipples Yes
Rear Wheel
Weight 942g
Hub Used Cognition
Hub Width 130mm
Rim Depth 77/82mm
Max Width 23.7mm
Internal Width 17mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Ray Straight Pull
Spoke Count 24
Spoke Pattern 2 cross
Spoke Length Non-Drive 236mm
Spoke Length Drive 234mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
10/11-speed Compatible Hub Yes
XDR Compatible Yes
Dimpled Surface ABLC™ HexFin™ Technology
Nipples Sapim® Secure Lock
External Nipples Yes

Zipp 454 Specifications

Zipp 454 Wheelset Review

Front Wheel
Weight 690g
Rim Used X454NSW
Hub Used Cognition
Rim Depth 53/58mm
Brake Track Width (center) 26.4mm
Max Width 27.8mm
Internal Width 17mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Ray
Spoke Count 18
Spoke Pattern Radial
Spoke Length 248mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
Track Adaptable No
Dimpled Surface ABLC™ HexFin™ Technology
Nipples Sapim® secure-lock
External Nipples Yes
Rear Wheel
Weight 835g
Hub Used Cognition
Rim Used X454NSW
Rim Depth 53/58mm
Brake Track Width (center) 26.4mm
Max Width 27.8mm
Internal Width 17mm
Spokes Sapim® CX-Ray
Spoke Count 24
Spoke Length Non-Drive 260mm
Spoke Pattern Non-Drive 2 Cross
Spoke Pattern Drive 2 Cross
Spoke Length Drive 258mm
Max Tire Pressure 125psi
Max Tire Pressure 8.62bars
11-speed compatible hub Yes
XDR Compatible Yes
Track Adaptable No
Dimpled Surface ABLC™ HexFin™ Technology
Nipples Sapim® secure-lock alloy

Zipp 454 and 858 | Bottom Line

Cost is going to be a major point of contention for most when thinking about purchasing a set of Zipp 454s and 858s.  A set of 858s is going to set you back ($4,400 – $2,000 front & $2,400 rear).  It doesn’t get any better with the 454s, retailing for ($4,000 – $1,800 front & $2,200 rear).

For those who have money though, the Zipp wheels with their new Sawtooth technology are going to be an absolute joy to ride and you will probably be in envy of your biking group.

Adding a pair of Zipp wheels to your road machine will certainly give it a faster look.

Check out Zipp’s website for the full line of Zipp products (http://www.zipp.com/)

Alto Cycling CC40 Wheelset Review | 2018

 

 

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of GearMashers.com, 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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