Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

Zipp Service Course Stem 2020

8
£50.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Loads of stiffness for the powerful rider and comes in at a competitive price – and in silver
Excellent stiffness levels
Classy looking finish
Limited lengths for the 25° option
Matt silver limits choice of matching components
Weight: 
165g
Contact: 

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

For 2020 Zipp has released some of its components in a silver colour, including this Service Course Stem. The finish looks classy and the stem itself certainly doesn't suffer in the stiffness stakes.

Silver components have been few and far between for years, so Zipp has gone for this 'Nano Blast Silver Anodize finish' to "Stand out amid the sea of stealthy black colour schemes".

> Find your nearest dealer here

> Buy this online here

As Simon pointed out in his review of the Service Course seatpost, the matt silver finish won't match with traditional polished silver components, but I think it looks really good in the flesh, showing off much more of the profiles and shapes of the stem than you'd normally see in black. It's a very resistant finish too, so you shouldn't need to worry about scratches.

The Service Course is a chunky looking stem compared to some on the market that have a round central section, but that certainly helps stiffness. Zipp claims a weight versus stiffness ratio of 1.75g/Nm.

Sprinting and climbing hard gives you a good sense of how stiff it is as there is no flex whatsoever, but it doesn't give a harsh ride – something I was expecting to find when looking at the stem's profile.

Zipp Service Course stem - 4.jpg

As you'd expect for a modern stem, it's designed to fit a 1 1/8in steerer tube and 31.8mm handlebar, and it provides a snug fit at both ends.

Zipp has said that the new faceplate design makes installation easier; I've never tried the previous version, but with this one it was simple to line up the bolts and tighten while holding the handlebar in my other hand.

Zipp Service Course stem - 3.jpg

Zipp uses T25 Torx bolts throughout as it reckons they bring more precision when used with a torque wrench.

The Service Course comes in a range of lengths and two angles, +/-6° as tested, or +/-25°. The former is available in eight lengths, from 60 to 130mm, in 10mm increments, while the latter comes in just 75, 90, 105 or 120mm options.

> 9 ways to make your bike more comfortable

Priced at £50, the Zipp is similar to other alloy stems from the likes of Easton, with its EA70, which is also a little lighter at 148g, and Genetic with its STV, which is even lighter at just 120g for the same money. Neither of these are silver, though.

Ritchey makes a Classic version of its C220 stem which is a high polished silver, although it's a little pricier at £57.

Overall, the Zipp Service Course delivers the stiffness required for larger and powerful riders without carrying any extra weight. It looks classy too.

Verdict

Loads of stiffness for the powerful rider and comes in at a competitive price – and in silver

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Zipp Service Course stem

Size tested: 6°, 110mm

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, "The ultimate in performance and technology

"The Service Course® stem delivers all you look for in a high-performance stem -- strength, stiffness, reliability, a precise fit and great visual look. The redesigned Service Course stem offers a new faceplate and body design for greater stiffness and easier installation at a price that meets any rider's budget. On today's road bikes, silver stands out amid the sea of stealthy black color schemes. This time-honored component color is available on the Zipp Service Course stem.

"The Service Course Stem's new shape and 3D-forged construction results in an improved stiffness-to-weight-ratio of 1.75g/nm. The stem design, along with its clean new graphics, also complement the aesthetics of modern frames. Made from 6061 aluminum, the stem resists flexing during sprints and accelerations."

It is a decent performing stem and looks smart in the silver colourway.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Zipp:

Sizes 60, 70,80,90,100,110,120,130mm

Clamp Diameter 31.8mm

Angle +/-6°

Steer tube diameter 1-1/8in

Stack height 41mm

Clamp width 47mm

Clamp torque - max 5Nm

MSRP USA 70

Material 6061 aluminum

Hardware Stainless steel with Torx® T25 heads

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It provides a good grip on the steerer tube and handlebar.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Impressive stiffness.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Zipp sits alongside stiff and good quality stems from the likes of Easton and Genetic around the 50 quid mark.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Zipp Service Course is well made, offers loads of stiffness, and the price is competitive.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

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,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

Add new comment

6 comments

Avatar
Fluffed | 3 years ago
0 likes

Zipp uses T25 Torx bolts throughout ..

OK, Im out.
 

Avatar
Mathemagician replied to Fluffed | 3 years ago
1 like

Yes, we should all shy away from using an inherently better drive type.

Avatar
Fluffed replied to Mathemagician | 3 years ago
1 like

They are a pain in the rear, a load of multi tools wont come with one, same with torque wrench bits, and if you get a cheap tool they are more inclined to round off. Nothing wrong with hex here.

Avatar
Mathemagician replied to Fluffed | 3 years ago
2 likes
Fluffed wrote:

They are a pain in the rear, a load of multi tools wont come with one, same with torque wrench bits, and if you get a cheap tool they are more inclined to round off. Nothing wrong with hex here.

Genuinely struggling to find any part of your post that has some basis in reality. If you use shit tools then its your own stupid fault for what happens to your bike, but the reason torx was developed was to reduce the risk of rounding bolts, so how you're somehow finding it easier to round them is beyond me. 

I'm going to let you in on one of the best kept secrets in the bike industry though- manufacturers hate this little secret getting out. If you don't like the bolts your new stem comes with, you can just use your old bolts! Crazy I know, but it's true. 

For the record, I'm not in the market for a new stem, and if I were then this would be no lower or higher on my list than any other of the usual manufacturers' offerings. But ruling them out on the basis that they use an inherently better bolt is one of the stupidest reasons I've ever heard. 

Avatar
ktache replied to Mathemagician | 3 years ago
2 likes

Torx bolts are becoming new the standard, I got myself as lovely set of Wera ones, much as hex took over.  I have less need of my set of spanners now, especially as I am mothballing my early 90s mtb Getting to Work bike.  And there are so few cross head screws, the JIS heads on my shimano adjustments being the only ones, and no flat heads.

Things move on.

My mutli tool parts are for emergencies when out only, even my Park one.  You have to get good quality workshop tools.  Even though they seem to become quickly redundent.

Avatar
ktache replied to Mathemagician | 3 years ago
0 likes

Sorry double.

I am getting athe Ajax error, a lot.

Must stop re "Save" ing

Latest Comments