Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Over the past couple of years, Zipp has reworked their handlebar shapes to accommodate just about any preference you may have, and their stem and seatpost line runs the gamut from oversized carbon to minimalist alloy. If you’re the type that likes to match their wheels to the rest of the bits on their bike, there are few other brands that offer the complete assortment as Zipp. While I don’t have their wheels yet, I do like having a matched cockpit. I’ve also become a fan of aero parts, so I pieced together the Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar with their carbon SL Sprint stem and SL Speed seatpost.

Sure, the shape of a handlebar is a highly personal choice. But design quality, performance and easy of use are traits we can all appreciate. And once a properly stiff stem is in place, the weak spots in others becomes much more apparent. As for the seatpost, well, there were some limitations as to what I could feel with that one, but the technical pros and cons were readily apparent…

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The SL 70 Aero handlebar is Zipp’s premium handlebar, combining the CFD-designed, drag minimizing wing shape along the flats from their Vuka TT series products with a flared, bent drop shape.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

While a flat section like this could end up acting like a leaf spring, the UD carbon construction kept it stiff enough, but not so stiff that it transmitted all the little vibrations carbon is supposed to filter out. Zipp claims a 6.4watt savings (at 30mph) over a traditional round bar.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The upper is broad, which gives plenty of room for resting your hands when comfort overrides aero. The shape looks long, but it’s UCI 3:1 compliant.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The cable exit ports are huge, allowing everything to exit from one location as close to the center as is practical. Zipp calls out the ease of installation the bar provides, and as you’ll see, it lives up to the hype.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

This angle doesn’t do it justice, but the lower drops flare slightly outward to allow wrist clearance when riding low, which improves ergonomics considerably. Just underneath the centerline are two ports for cable entry, which gives you options based on which component group you’re running.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The SL Speed stem is oversized, square and stiff and heck. The main body is all carbon with metal threaded inserts bonded in. The faceplate is alloy, and the bolts are stainless steel Torx T25. They come with grease preinstalled, which is the rough stuff you might notice around the bolt holes…it’s not shoddy carbon workmanship.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The seatpost is what it is, so I’ll go ahead and wrap that one up here. My Alchemy road frame is on the very tall side, which means not much post extends out of the frame. In hindsight, I should have had them build the frame a bit lower, but c’est la vie…it still rides amazing. So, if the post is able to soak up some small bumps, I’m not getting it on this bike. The pros are that the clamping mechanism is rock solid and by using two bolts, it’s micro adjustable. The downside is that the forward bolt is a pain in the butt to access on the 20mm offset version tested, particularly with a small multi-tool (such as you might have with you on a ride), so mid-ride adjustments while you’re getting acquainted won’t be fun. But, once you get it set, the seat won’t budge. And if you get the 0mm offset SL Speed post, the bolts are far easier to get to. The stock clamps work with both round and oblong metal and carbon saddle rails.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Weights are:

  • SL Speed seatpost – 202g (31.6 / 330mm)
  • SL Sprint stem – 163g (100mm)
  • SL 70 Aero handlebar – 257g (42cm C-to-C)

INSTALLATION

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Since Zipp is owned by SRAM, it only makes sense the cable ports on the bar would line up with SRAM’s shifters, and they do. Here, the port on the outside of the handlebar goes unused…

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

…and both brake and shifter hose/cable run through the front port. There’s plenty of room for both to slide in easily, but not so much that things rattle around (and, they’re wrapped with tape anyway). I started with the hydraulic brake hose, disconnecting it from the caliper and feeding it into the bar through the entry port first, then watched in joy as it found its own way out of the exit port quickly and easily.

Next, I fed the cable through until it popped out the exit, checked to make sure it hadn’t somehow wrapped around the brake hose, then slid the housing over it to it’d be guided out to the shifter. Compared to another internally routed handlebar I’d sweated, cursed and screamed over, this one was a pleasure to install. Even without that other experience, I wouldn’t have anything bad to say about the process…it just went together easily.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

On the left, with just the brake hose installed. On the right, another view of both cable and hose entering behind the shifter.

RIDE REVIEW

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Zipp shaped the bar with 70mm reach and a 10º ramp angle so that shifter hoods would end up creating a level transition for your hands to rest on. It worked. That, plus the wide aero section across the top, opens up all manner of hand positions. Another nice feature is there’s enough room left on either side of the stem for a cycling computer mount, something not every aero bar has. It’s not rated for aero extensions, though.

Down in the drops, there’s enough give to absorb small bumps, but they’re stiff enough there and in the hoods to throw the bike around in a sprint. Which leads to the stem…

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The SL Sprint stem was designed to have the best stiffness-to-weight ratio of any stem on the market. I haven’t tried its main competitors (like the boxy Shimano PRO and FSA’s new stems), but I will say this stem is monstrously stiff. It connects the handlebar to the frame and fork like nothing I’ve felt before. Granted, I usually lean toward lighterweight stems, but even the Ritchey C260 stems are no slouch. This one just takes it to another level, which provides an enlightening connection between rider and bike. I grab the bars and lean and the bike sways, which provides better feedback in a sprint or even when just standing to climb.

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

The great thing is, that torsional stiffness doesn’t come at the expense of good looks or added weight. The rounded rear clamping section is also very knee friendly.

The complete package goes well together, aesthetically and functionally. We don’t have the means to test aerodynamic claims, but having ridden plenty of aero and non-aero bikes, the little touches do seem to add up even if you’re not cruising along at 30mph. The Zipp SL Aero/Sprint/Speed cockpit lives up to its hype.

Zipp.com

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Mike
Mike
6 years ago

“6.4watt savings (at 30mph)”. Chuckle. I own Zipp wheels, handlebars and stems, but that number doesn’t pass the smell test.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 years ago

My bet is that the bar itself saves 6.4W(or gram equivalent). Put a rider behind the bars and maybe you’ll save 2W compared to a round bar

Christobevii3
Christobevii3
6 years ago

Why would it save any watts when your thighs are behind it?

Michael Sarricchio
Michael Sarricchio
5 years ago
Reply to  Christobevii3

this bar has been a nice improvement over the stock 6061 one that came on my ’12 madone. I don’t have any negative notes. I have a 100mm SL sprint stem as well. when it was just a 100mm 6061 stem I could feel the bar moving the stem around haha, now I can throw the bike and make the tires make that ripping sound on the concrete. me likey.

Ripnshread
Ripnshread
6 years ago

Looks to me like with the bar angle you may be getting some aerodynamic lift….

Michael Sarricchio
Michael Sarricchio
5 years ago
Reply to  Ripnshread

I’ve adjusted mine while riding in high winds, the angle would come down if you like the front tire to stay planted at speed, this seems important

That Guy
That Guy
6 years ago

Matching cockpit, but an FSA spacer sits on your steerer tube along with a King headset? Also your bike is too big. Short seatpost AND stem. What is that, an 80mm stem? #chub

JustCurious
JustCurious
6 years ago

The stem – not likely to support putting a Di2 junction box within?

kel
kel
6 years ago

Every surface front, rear, top, or bottom is subject to wind drag… come on ppl. 6 watts at 30 mph is quite believable.

Antipodean_g
6 years ago

@That Guy, short post yes but also looks like a layback. And a short stem, yes but that does not mean wrong frame size. A shorter stem changes the handling of the bike for the faster.

Everyone sets their bike up differently and I’d dare to say these days there is no single ideal.

Ryan
Ryan
6 years ago

Wonder what his toe overlap looks like on that frame, ugh…

OfCourse
OfCourse
6 years ago

Do the aero bits compensate for the massive face that the SRAM hoods have?

C_spree
C_spree
6 years ago

@Ryan what is it about the set-up or frame, based on the photos and description to question what the toe overlap looks like?

C_spree
C_spree
6 years ago

@antipodean_g totally agree with you. Being a taller rider, depending on the type of riding I’m doing and the set-up I may want, I could be on a 60 cm frame with 100mm stem or 58 cm with a 120mm.

UnfilteredDregs
UnfilteredDregs
6 years ago

I’ve had quite a few issues with my Zipp Aero bars and successfully using compressionless housing such as Nokon. They don’t play nice together…

Rixter
Rixter
6 years ago

No place for a Garmin mount. Why do all these aero bars make it so difficult to mount a GPS?

James
James
6 years ago

@Rixter – there is space for a Garmin out front mount even when paired with the super wide Sprint stem

geoff
geoff
6 years ago
Reply to  James

James…you ever try putting the Garmin mount there. I’ve tried 3 different types and its wonky/half@ss at best. Zipp should have a better option (like Enve) for these type of mounts as popular as they have become IMO.

danny
danny
6 years ago
Reply to  geoff

I have found 1 mount that works and works well. But, its expensive because its only available in Japan. I use it for my Edge 1000 w/ this very setup, no problems clearing the stem faceplate and you can angle it anyway you want, so it looks super clean, very aero!

http://goo.gl/lR3AZc

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

I have the SL-70 and I found it difficult to mount a GPS on them so I built a mount to attach to the spacer on my top steerer. I’d post a pic if I could figure out how to do so.

Lee
Lee
5 years ago

I have just received a new set of these bars and the cosmetic finish isn’t anywhere as good as I expected with loads of what looks like scuffs and imperfections below the top lacquer, which itself is cloudy in most places. Has anyone else noticed the same or is this just a one off?