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Zipp have long been known for two things: aerodynamics and carbon. It makes sense then, for it to take its innovative spirit beyond the wheelset and into the other parts of the bike, parts that help determine rider feel and performance. Zipp’s bars have always been sensibly shaped and reasonably priced, but there has been differentiation between the carbon and alloy models, which can make it difficult for those with multiple bikes to match positions.
The move towards hydraulic levers in ‘cross and gravel, as well as the fact that we all want a longer stem and fewer spacers, has caused a growth in the popularity of shorter reaches and shallower drops on road bars. Gone are the days of the “Belgian bend” and the odd “ergo” kinks of the late ’90s. They have been replaced with shallower, more curved, profiles that are actually ergonomic. Zipp has always been at the forefront of innovative design and its aluminum SL70 Service Course bars quickly became a favorite for bike fitters and riders in all disciplines due to their short reach, shallow drop and comfortable bend which allowed just about any size rider to reach the brake levers.
Despite the success of the alloy SL70 bars, carbon remains the benchmark material for performance bike parts and Zipp remains a master of the art of weaving it into high performance components. Until recently, its handlebar line lacked a carbon analog for the SL70. With the release of the SL70 Ergo Carbon, this has changed. The 70mm reach and 128mm drop of the SL70 has been retained, but the tops have been slightly flattened and backswept to offer comfort for long days. These aren’t the radically flattened tops of the Contour SL bar, but a subtler shaping which won’t change the classic lines of any bike (or, god forbid, go unwrapped). The slightly out-swept drops mean you won’t be hitting the tops with your wrists in a sprint and the ten-degree ramp angle delivers a flat platform when paired with the SRAM Red eTap HRD levers, which came on our test bike. The variable radius bends allow for easy reach to the brake levers and, when combined with the short reach, allow for a longer and slightly lower stem position even with larger hydraulic hoods. The bars weigh just 205g in a 42cm size, a saving of 55g over their alloy counterparts.
Zipp say the bars are plenty tough enough for ‘cross, gravel or adventure cycling at $275 they offer decent value for those looking to increase comfort and decrease weight.