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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".
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.
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 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.
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.
Loads of stiffness for the powerful rider and comes in at a competitive price – and in silver
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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?
Sizes 60, 70,80,90,100,110,120,130mm
Clamp Diameter 31.8mm
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
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
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
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.
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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!