With the constant stream of innovation and forward thinking design coming out of Zipp’s wheel engineers you’d be forgiven if some of their recent bar and stem developments didn’t hit your radar. This isn’t to say they aren’t creating bars and stems that rival the best in the industry with incredible stiffness to weight ratios and ergonomically pleasing shapes. It’s just products like the new 101 aluminum clincher and the 404 carbon clincher with the new firecrest shape get a lot of press. They are sexy and striking products with a compelling tech story. Some other Zipp developments can get lost in the shadows.
Well, it seems like the bar and stem group at Zipp have had enough. They have created a new bar that has the looks and engineering credibility to go head to head with any of their new wheels… the new VukaSprint.
The trend toward sculpted flat top carbon drop bars has gained steam recently and it seemed the only way for a company to get their product noticed was to be more outlandish than the next guy. In typical Zipp fashion they went about creating a bar that would be aerodynamically fast while challenging the segment leaders on both stiffness and weight. The final appearance of the product would rely more on wind tunnel data and performance requirements than marketing.
And the final shape just happens to be the sexiest looking bar I’ve ever ridden proving that if form truly follows function good things will happen. The VukaSprint has an aesthetic straight from the Formula 1 grid. The flat tops utilize everything Zipp learned from the VukaBull about an aero section that is fast at the speeds and wind angles seen at the bars. A wider leading edge and pronounced bulge lead to a sharper trialing edge. This is a shape designed for slow speed aerodynamics. Yes, cyclists, even Cancellara, fall into the category of slow speed aerodynamics.
The flat tops integrate with the drops using a slight overhang which gives your hand many comfortable and confidence inspiring positions with the hoods. This overhang also allows the cables to be routed internally with a very clean appearance. And a big kudos to the Zipp engineers here. The internal routing is as simple as it gets, no cursing, no ruined cables and no silly plastic inserts to fall out and lose. The Zipp VukaSprint is quite simply the slickest use of internal cables in any bar we have ever setup.
Riders that do not use gloves and like to roll their hands back on the tops so the flat of their palm is against the trailing edge should be warned it is quite a sharp edge and can dig in after a few miles. Riders wearing gloves will have no problem with this at all.
The drop’s use two shapes Zipp riders are used to, their Short and Shallow ergo bend with a 128mm drop and their Traditional which drops 130mm. We tested the Short and Shallow, a shape we have ridden before and continue to love. Zipp offers the VukaSprint in two widths, 42cm and 44cm, both measured outer edge to outer edge.
The bars weigh 210 grams in short and shallow 42cm, a weight that makes them slightly heavier than their SL line of bars but puts them right on par with the lightest flat top bars on the market. Despite this light weight and flat cross section the bars are amazingly stiff with a wonderful lively feeling that inspires more power and more confidence for those out of the saddle explosions. When you do get off the front, the confidence in knowing your bars are as aero as they can be helps you put everything into your solo bid for glory, whether it’s in a race or on a club ride.
Zipp has used the old adage of form follows function to create a drop bar that is stiff and light with the best possible aerodynamics and easy cable routing with comfortable and confidence inspiring ergonomics. A giant bonus of all these features is they add up to one of the most beautiful bars on the market.
Weight: 210 grams
Size: 42cm & 44cm
Drops: Short and Shallow/ Traditional
Aero Bar Compatible: No