There are a lot of things to consider when designing a new aero wheel set. Profile. Width. Material. And now, nature? That seems to be the angle Zipp has taken when they approached the design of their latest wheelset. Called the 454 NSW, the rim has a striking new shape that is hard to miss. Zipp claims the inspiration for the design came from looking to the ways animals have naturally evolved to be faster through the water, like the ridges on the fins of a humpback whale. With Biomimicry as the starting point, countless hours of design and testing led to Zipp’s new SawTooth equipped 454 NSW…
In typical Zipp fashion, the SawTooth profile started out as an idea that was quickly translated into testable prototypes. After 36 different rim profiles and 252 hours of wind tunnel testing, they claim to have achieved the desired result. That of course is a wheel that still provides the aerodynamic advantage of a traditional aero wheel, but offers better performance in terms of cross wind stability. Zipp claims that the rim profile along with their reshaped HexFin ABLC dimples work to reduce buffeting by providing higher frequency vortex shedding which in turn creates more vortices, but they are smaller and less powerful. Using a profile that is 58mm at the deepest section and 53mm at the shallowest, the result is a wheel that supposedly performs like a deep section wheel for aero speed, and a lower profile wheel in crosswinds.
The full carbon clincher is made in their Indiana factory and includes their silicon carbide Showstopper brake track treatment and their ImPress NSW printed graphics.
Complete wheelsets will include the Portuguese made Cognition hubset with straight pull Sapim CX-Ray spokes and Secure Lock nipples, 18 front/24 rear.
Coming in at 1525g for the set, the rims feature a 17mm internal width that does not appear to be tubeless compatible. Priced at $4000, the wheels include Tangente titanium skewers, Zipp valve extenders by Silca, individual wheel bags, Tangente Platinum Pro Evo brake pads, Tangente tubes, and Zipp rim tape. Available this month.