James asked to have his ZIPP 404 clincher wheel set upgraded to DT240s hubs. This would allow him to run 11 speed Shimano/SRAM cassettes on this older set of ZIPP wheels. The black nipples and black Sapim CX-Ray spokes definitely indicate a custom ZIPP build.

ZIPP has done well over the years, but I have to say, these rims technologically are showing their age. First, they are traditional width rims, at about 20mm wide. Secondly, the construction techniques of these older ZIPP models left a lot of bladder material and remnant carbon inside the rim. These often rattle loose over time and cause noise while riding.

While building these, I accidentally dropped a nipple inside the rim. This proved more challenging than usual to remove mainly due to the small nipple holes inside the rim combined with carbon remnants and plastic bladder remnants inside the rim blocking the nipple’s movement. After several attempts, I managed to get the nipple out. While doing that, I shook loose what I thought was a piece of bladder. It turned out to be a rolled up ball of masking tape, likely an artifact from the manufacturing process.

The wheels came in at 1800 grams for the set. While not too bad for 24/28 alloy brake rim carbon clinchers, they are heavier than today’s standards of sub 1500 grams for all-carbon clinchers.

That said, this extends the useful life of these aerodynamic wheels and I’m sure Jim will be happy knowing his original investment will result in many more years of use.

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