New carbon-fibre bar combines aerodynamic performance with high stiffness, according to Zipp

Zipp is launching an aero version of its SL-70 handlebar that’s made from unidirectional carbon fibre.

If you think the SL-70 Aero looks a lot like Zipp’s VukaSprint, you’d be right, it does. But whereas the VukaSprint is not compatible with early electronic shift systems or with Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 mechanical components, Zipp say that the SL-70 Aero bar is compatible with all mechanical brake/gear systems and all electronic gear systems.

Zipp also say that the SL-70 is 30% stiffer than a VukaSprint bar... and you know how fond we are of a performance-related statistic or two here at road.cc. Speaking of which...

According to Zipp, “A traditional round-tube handlebar top creates drag of about 0.74 Newtons, which we found requires about 7.5 watts of effort at 30mph (48.3kph) to overcome. The SL-70 Aero exhibits just 0.11N of drag, which means a savings of 6.4 watts over a round bar.”

6.4 watts, eh? That's what they're saying. We've not even seen the bars in the flesh, still less taken them to the wind tunnel, so we're just reporting the claim rather than verifying it.

The drop distance is 128mm and the reach is 70mm so it’s a pretty compact option. The drop sweeps out 4° to provide enough wrist clearance.

The SL-70 Aero, which has already been raced this year by the Omega Pharma–Quick-Step pro team, uses the Rapid Routing system that Zipp originally developed for its Vuka Stealth integrated aero system, for internal cable routing.

It is available in 38, 40, 42 and 44cm widths (measured centre to centre) and weighs 240g (in the 42cm width), according to Zipp. It isn’t compatible with clip-on aero bars.

The SL-70 Aero is available this month at £266.

For more info go to www.zipp.com.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.