When it comes to talking about Zipp wheels, it's easy to default to names like Cancellara and Roubaix or Carfrae and Kona because those riders have won those races on these wheels. But with the 404 Firestrike Carbon Road Tubular Wheelset, that's not an option. The 404 Firestrikes were only produced in a batch of 404, so they aren't even common enough for the pros to use, and they definitely won't haunt local start lines with the ubiquity of Zipp's 404 Firecrest model. Given their rarity, chances are good that you'll never see another pair like them in person even if you do start seeing them in Kona replays and the spring classics. The new Firestrike is loosely based on the Firecrest rim, albeit with a few updates to the rim shape and brake track. The rims were reworked to produce a 34% net reduction in side forces from crosswinds and unfriendly yaw angles, making for more predictable handling in the conditions you'll likely experience in an actual race, not just a wind tunnel simulation. The Aerodynamic Boundary Layer Control ABLC dimples also got an upgrade, appearing across the 404 Firestrike's surface in greater number with smaller diameters than on the Firecrest models, resulting in yet more stability at speed. Zipp christened the new brake tracks Showstopper, a glamorous name for a fairly simple yet effective design feature. Showstopper involves a unidirectional molded pattern imbued with silicone carbide particles for increased modulation control and grab while braking in wet conditions. Zipp claims that this technology allows the Firestrike brake track to mirror aluminum rim braking when things get rainy when paired with the included Platinum Pro EVO Brake Pads, eliminating worries of poor braking that can plague carbon rims in wet weather. The leading edge clears debris and channels water off of the rim, allowing the chasing edge of the pad to gain purchase on the textured brake surface. The new Carbon Shield construction process further refine...