Zipp Speed Weaponry is a company synonymous with two things, carbon and aerodynamics. It was this fact that made the September announcement describing their latest products, a new line of bars and stems, a bit puzzling. They don’t posses a new carbon lay up with space age resin and there are no revolutionary aero shapes sculpted in the wind tunnel. These are straight forward aluminum bars, stems and seatposts.
Why would a company with Zipp’s pedigree and reputation go after a saturated aluminum cockpit market? The new product line’s name gives us our first hint. “Service Course”. This is the name European pro teams give their headquarters; typically a cavernous bat-cave like warehouse stocked with bikes, wheels, a stack of aging tubulars, and 4 or 5 grizzled mechanics smoking Gauloises.
Why “Service Course”? Zipp’s goal is to get a European Pro team completely out fitted with their wheels an
cockpit components, add parent company SRAM to the mix and the synergy is obvious. So what’s wrong with their current crop of carbon bars and stems? Nothing at all, but European pros require more than light weight and stiffness. Having grown to trust carbon wheels and frames it’s not catastrophic failure while under load that concerns them, it is crash performance. While most of us that go down hard on a training ride or in a master’s crit will simply call it a day and lick our wounds. Pros don’t have that luxury. Their first instinct is to bounce up and get rolling. You can ride on bent bars, but you can’t ride on snapped bars. Aluminum bends, carbon snaps. It’s that simple.
While many pros have made the jump to carbon bars, Vinokurov and his white FSA Plasma’s can often be seen on the front, many pros stillswear by aluminum. It is this fact that created the need for Zipp’s “ServiceCourse” line. There is no doubt Zipp’s desire to capitalize on its brand recognition at a price point made possible only by aluminum also plays a major factor.
The line consists of two versions, “Service Course” and lighter “Service Course SL” components. All the components are made from high strength 7075 Aluminum with the exception of the “Service Course SL” bars, which use proprietary Zipp ZTL-71 alloy. The “SL” line relies on intricate forging and machining to reach their lighter weights. The bars come in Traditional Bend and Zip’s popular Short and Shallow ergo style. The four most common widths are offered, 40, 42, 44 and 46cm. It should be noted that Zipp measures outside to outside, not center to center as most manufacturers do.
Zipp “Service Course” stems cover ranges from70mm to 130mm with two available angles, +/- 6º and +/- 17º. The seat postshave been designed with a clamp that maximizes for and aft positioning. The different, drops, lengths and angles that can beachieved by “Service Course” components ensure just about any ride can dial in their unique fit. The standard “Service Course” cockpit components come in at respectable weights with very attractive price points, while the “SL” versions are only marginally more expensive with extremely competitive weights.
Look for a long term test of both versions of Zipp’s“Service Course” cockpit components later this fall.
Service Course drop bar$90 280g (S&S drop, 42cm)
Service Course SL drop bar$110 260g (S&S drop, 42cm)
Service Course stem $70130g (100mm)
Service Course SL stem$100 120g (100mm)
Service Course seatpost$90 270g (350x27.2)
Service Course SL seatpost $120 220g (275x27.2)