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Zipp's all-new XPLR gravel bars

Stu Bowers
4 Sep 2019

Road speed guru, Zipp, launches gravel-focussed Service Course 70 handlebar line

It's telling how much of a sizeable impact the gravel boom is having on the bike industry when brands such as Zipp - a road, aero and speed focussed marque - are turning their attentions to off-road specific products too.

Earlier this year Zipp's carbon wheel range extend further into off-road categories, including a completely new MTB line, and today sees the launch of two brand new handlebars: the Service Course SL 70 XPLR and Service Course 70 XPLR, both with a gravel/all-road focus.

The moniker - XPLR – is essentially an abbreviated form of ‘explore’ suggestive of Zipp’s aim to make a bar with the capacity to take bikes far from the beaten path.

Both are alloy bars, and as you might be able to guess the Service Course SL is the lighter of the two, using more advanced construction and materials, for a claimed 260g (42cm) versus the 305g for the standard version.

The SL, however, does cost twice as much: £109 versus £54

Both share exactly the same dimensions, and there's more to the new bar shape than first meets the eye.

A key part of the new bar shape was to create a flared bar that didn't cause the shift/brake levers to excessivley lean - which is the case with many gravel bars currently on the market - and which can negatively affect the ergonomics of the lever hoods.

As the name suggests, both new bars have a 70mm reach, and feautre a 3° backsweep, with a 5° flare and an 11° outsweep, the latter being the crucial part to extend the bar width below the levers, but without affecting their position, to allow a neutral hand/wrist position while riding in the hoods.

Zipp has also opted for a very compact 115mm drop, a shape it suggests is preferable to make an easy switch of hand position from hoods to drops, also without the position becoming too aggressive, and maintains the shift and brake levers within easy reach no matter where your hands are on the bar.

Both bars are available to buy immediately, the SL available in 40, 42, 44 and 46cm widths, while the standard version omits just the narrowest 40cm size.

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