De­spite the Air 9.9’s weight, I clocked one of my fastest times up a steep lo­cal climb

Cyclist - - Bikes -

was a heavy wheelset, and whether it was down to flex in the wheel or frame, the brake pads rubbed the rear rim with even the slight­est of stand­ing ef­forts. By con­trast, the switch to Zipp’s ex­tremely ca­pa­ble 404 Firecrest wheels means the new bike feels stiffer and de­liv­ers power more acutely to gen­er­ate speed. They’re aero­dy­namic enough to make the most of the frame’s curves while be­ing light and stiff un­der pres­sure.

The fin­ish­ing kit also com­ple­ments the build in terms of per­for­mance. That said, I might have ex­pected car­bon at this price, and the Tek­tro Bb-mounted rear brake is also a lit­tle ba­sic for the level of build else­where. Ul­ti­mately, though, the al­loy fin­ish­ing kit is light enough and stiff enough to do the job, and works well with the bike as a whole.

Per­son­ally I’d like to see the 44cm bars trimmed a lit­tle for a more wind-cheat­ing pro­file when rid­ing

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