Zipp SL Carbon Handlebar $374.95
For us smaller riders have a hard time not developing a complex when it seems like the whole world has been designed for people four to six inches taller than you and I are. We are therefore excited when a company like Zipp throws its R&D weight behind the development of a superlight, minimalist handlebar like the SL Carbon Fiber Handlebar, a bar intended for climbers and more compact riders.
Zipp has spent four years researching, developing and refining this bar and claims that it has undergone over 40 revisions of the carbon laminate structure. Taking such care with how they lay up the carbon and in what percentage laminate is used is why the bars feel so smooth on the road. Zipp makes skillful use of its Visco-Elastic Constrained Layer Control, or VCLC, technology to absorb vibrations before they reach your hands and wrists. The key to the VCLC is a visco-elastic material sandwiched between layers of rigid carbon within the laminate. When you ride over rough roads, much of the shock is absorbed by the VCLC system, delivering a 10% reduction in vibration.
The proof is in the pudding, since the SL Carbon bar weighs an amazing 170 grams (in a size 44); however, there is never any hint of flex whether you’re heaving out of the saddle up a massive climb or sprinting out of the last corner at your weekend crit. The thickest point of the bar is 31.8 mm at the clamp and then it gradually tapers to a sleek 24.2 mm at the ends. It looks stunning and also makes it a comfortable bar to grab. The dual cable routing grooves make it easy to route your cables and ensures that you won’t have uncomfortable cable veins bulging out from under the bar tape.
Since the bar is so light, it is important to know that Zipp has accomplished this weight savings while still passing the EFBe Laboratory (the leading test laboratory for bike component quality and safety) test for top performance racing standard. Zipp also tests all their equipment to the EN standard +10% because the EN test is actually one of the best indicators for the lifespan of a product ridden constantly under the worst conditions.
The Zipp SL Carbon Fiber Handlebar comes in sizes Short/Shallow, Ergonomic, and Traditional in 40 to 44.