The redesigned Service Course SL carbon seatpost from Zipp might be a smart looking and well-made piece of kit, but we've seen lighter made from aluminium alloy, and it isn't noticeably more comfortable than its competitors at this price.
- Pros: Easy cradle setup, choice of 0 or 20mm layback
- Cons: Heavier than alloy and carbon options for similar money, no massive benefits in comfort
The previous couple of seatposts I've tested have been around the same price as the Zipp. The Hope Carbon was £135 and the Thomson Masterpiece £159.99, but I'd say both showed higher levels of attention to detail and engineering than the Zipp.
Zipp has gone for a carbon fibre tube with an alloy clamping system bonded into the top and it's quite a large lump of aluminium which no doubt adds to the overall weight. On the road.cc scales it weighed 247g for its 400mm length (the only option), compared to the slightly shorter (350mm) Hope and Thomson posts which are 50g lighter.
It is a simple to use saddle clamp design. The bolt heads are easy to get to even with a mini-tool, so tweaking when you are out in the field isn't an issue and I've tried it with both round and oval saddle rails.
This clamp sets the saddle back by 20mm, but you can also get a 0mm inline option, with both available in 25.4mm, 27.2mm or 31.6mm diameters.
All of the seatposts I've been testing have been fitted to my aluminium Kinesis T2, and swapping from cheap alloy to expensive alloy to carbon has seen very little difference in overall feel.
The Hope had a nice feel to it, absorbing just a little bit more road buzz than the Thomson, but it was pretty negligible and the Zipp felt no different really, so I can't endorse the company's claims of it being 'specifically tuned to be more shock absorbing than the 'comfort' seatposts on the market'; it hasn't quite gone far enough really.
Quality-wise, it's well made and the carbon is smooth and tidy even on the inside of the tube, which can be neglected on cheaper posts.
It passes Zipp's own mountain bike strength test as well, so it'll definitely be fine for use on a gravel bike.
Overall, Zipp makes a lot of claims for the Service Course SL, but although it's a decent enough post I'm not convinced it's special enough to stand out and justify its price.
A decent enough seatpost but not the standout comfort Zipp claims
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Zipp Service Course SL Seatpost (20)
Size tested: 400mm length, 27.2mm diameter, 20mm setback
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Zipp says, "Carbon can be tuned in an incredible variety of ways, thanks to clever engineers tweaking resin and layup to achieve their benchmarks. And with the definition of a road bike rapidly changing, we wanted the Service Course SL seatpost to provide real comfort when venturing off-pavement.
"The redesigned Service Course SL seatpost is a new carbon post from Zipp, specifically tuned to be more shock absorbing than the 'comfort' seatposts on the market, while still passing our strict internal MTB strength test. Flex engineered into the lightweight carbon tube keeps the rider comfortable over any terrain.
"Better fit means better performance, and if your saddle is out of position, you'll waste energy with every pedal stroke. The secure, two-bolt clamp makes for easy micro-adjustments of saddle position, and the head has been redesigned for maximum bolt head accessibility. With 0mm and 20mm setback options, it's possible for nearly any rider to achieve the perfect fit, and the clamp works with all saddle rail types.
"To ensure compatibility with most modern frame designs, the Service Course SL seatpost is available in a 400mm length, and three diameters: 25.4, 27.2, and 31.6mm. Weight is a svelte 240g for the 0mm setback and 249g for the 20mm setback."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Zipp lists these features:
Diameter 25.4, 27.2 or 31.6mm
Torque for saddle rails 7.0Nm
Minimum insertion length 100mm
Material Unidirectional carbon, AL-7050
Decent enough but nothing special.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a strong seatpost, designed to take in off-roading, but not noticeably more comfortable than others.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to set up the saddle rails.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive, with nothing really standing out for the money.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's pricier than most that are lighter, although it does come in a cool £100 cheaper than the Enve Carbon.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I wouldn't turn them away from it.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Zipp is a solid, well-made post but it is heavier and more expensive than a lot of its competitors.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.