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EB13: Refined Zipp Service Course SL Handlebars Move Hoods Closer, Higher

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Zipp has redesigned their Service Course handlebar lineup for 2014, changing the angles and shapes to make them fit modern riding styles better.

As more and more riders sit in a slightly more upright position, traditional bar shapes had to be angled up to get the hoods to sit in a properly flat position. That resulted in weird angles for the drops and hook, making those positions less usable or comfortable. The new shapes aim to create a more natural hand and wrist position while in the drops and improve brake lever reach in all positions.

The ramp angles have been lessened, making the tops a bit flatter as they head to the brake hoods, and the brake perch has been flattened slightly to allow them to be mounted slightly higher without creating wonky angles.  The “Short & Shallow” model gets shorter and shallower, too. Lastly, outsweep has increased a few degrees and all measurements are now center to center at the brake perch.

To hold them to the bike, a new carbon stem was created, too…


First, a small graphical primer on the parts of the bar. For the comparisons that follow, the older (2013) shape is on the left, the new (2014) shape is on the right.


The Service Course SL-70 changes from 15º to 10º and gets a more pronounced bend at the brake perch.


This is what it looks like mounted up – note the flatter transition to the hoods.


The “Short & Shallow” model is now called the SL-80 and gets more dramatic changes: Angle at the top changes from 14º to 7º, drop decreases by 3mm and reach decreases by 4.5mm.


Once the SL-80’s taped up, it creates an almost perfectly flat top section to the hoods. Yay!


The “Traditional Bend” bar simply becomes the SL-88 and isn’t changed.


Fitters rejoice, Zipp’s bar measurements are now center to center at the brake perch.


The 2013 models are on the left, new models on the right. The SL-70 also has an “ergo” model with flatter top sections, and there are two budget editions available that use less fancy alloy to come in at half the price. Claimed weights are:

  • SL-70 (250g)
  • SL-70 Ergo (260g)
  • SL-80 (250g)
  • SL-88 (275g)
  • SC-70 Ergo (305g)
  • SC-80 (300g)

All will be available in October, and it’s worth pointing out that prices have dropped about $10 on all models compared to 2013.


Now that Zipp’s putting parts under powerhouse Mark Cavendish, they needed to create something that matched the stiffness of that massive Shimano Pro stem he was running. To do so, they borrowed the ExoGram hollow carbon construction used in SRAM Red cranks and ended up with the new Zipp SL Sprint Stem.

Stiffness comes in at 1.8g/Nm, a number they say beats the old standard of 1.7g/Nm and essentially should be understood as “this thing is massively stiff.” And it does so without being a pig. Claimed weight is just 165g (100mm) using an alloy faceplate and stainless steel Torx T25 hardware. It has a 12º angle and comes in 90/100/110/120/130/140 lengths. Retail is $250, available in October.

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10 years ago

Didn’t all other brands do these changes like five years ago?!?

10 years ago

Zipp needs to hire a better marketing manager. Their product naming schemes are extremely confusing.

Total Noob
Total Noob
10 years ago

Must be something I don’t understand yet.. so.. help me out here..

IIRC the Zipp SL alloy stem comes in at 120 grams. If that is the case, why would Cav need to ride a beefed up carbon stem that comes in at 165 grams? Is a carbon stem that much stiffer than an alloy?

And.. if you have enough torque on the bars to make an alloy stem flex.. shouldn’t a person be concerned about what that same force is doing to the carbon fiber steer tube. Especially on a specialized steer tube.

10 years ago

@Total Noob,

A beefy carbon stem is certainly going to be stiffer than alloy. 165g is pretty light for a sprinter level stiffness stem.

Carbon steerer tubes do flex, and they’re designed for that kind of force.

10 years ago

when did the industry decide that we want a “flat” hoods instead of a proper hook shape like road bikes had for the first 50 years of their modern existence?

this flat stuff sucks, makes you ride like a limp-wristed tri-clown.
if i wanted bullhorns, I’d buy ’em!

10 years ago

I saw this just in time. I got an SL80. It’s really great, just what I wanted. Replaced the stock giant defy advance bar. I guess the only thing I don’t like is the diameter of the bar, it’s a little more narrow than the one it replaces. Other than that – at last the drops and hoods are both comfortable now. In fact both are equally as comfortable, and sprinting is much better now.

Fair Wheel Bikes
10 years ago

Total Noob, as far as the stem goes, Cav likes an extremely stiff stem, here’s a comparison we did of a bunch of current model stems including the Pro carbon that he rode, notice how much stiffer it is than the others, but at the same time also how much heavier: http://fairwheelbikes.com/c/forums/topic/2014-stem-review-3/

As for the steerer tube flex, yes that should be a concern as well as handlebar flex.

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