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Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebar



Expensive, but easy to set up and delivers a great ride and performance
Excellent stiffness levels without being harsh
Easy to run cables through
A big investment
Very little room for fitting computers etc

At 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.

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The Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebar is an expensive way to save some watts, but it certainly delivers on the stiffness and comfort front. Also, for an internally routed bar, fitting cables is a relative cinch.

Using a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) program for the design, Zipp makes some decent aerodynamic claims for the SL-70 Aero's wing-like shape.

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According to Zipp, a round-tube section handlebar creates a drag of about 0.74 newtons, which it found requires about 7.5 watts of effort at 30mph (48.3kph) to overcome. The SL-70 Aero creates just 0.11 newtons of drag, a saving of 6.4 watts – not massive by any stretch of the imagination, but if you're the type of rider who wants to get as much out of every gain going, not to be sniffed at.

Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebars 4.jpg

Without a wind tunnel those claims are hard for us to verify, and in the real world there didn't feel to be a huge advantage when out for a hard ride.

What I can give my findings on, though, are stiffness and comfort; always a tricky balance to get right, but something Zipp has achieved.


Yanking on the hoods when riding hard out of the saddle there is absolutely no flex whatsoever, nor is there when you are braking hard transferring your weight through the handlebar.

It's the same when you're down in the drops. This is a proper racer's bar.

With a reach of 70mm and a drop of 128mm, it isn't as shallow as some more endurance style bars but nor is it so deep that only the most flexible can make full use of the drops.

Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebars 3.jpg

The wing shaped top of the bar is actually quite comfortable to use, even with the majority of it being untaped. Zipp seems to have got the carbon layup right in a way that the SL-70 Aero is stiff but without being harsh, even on rough roads.

Like many aero bars, the Zipp doesn't have much room either side of the stem for fitting a computer mount or lights.

Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebars 2.jpg

Some handlebars with internal cable routing can be an absolute nightmare to set up but the SL-70 Aero was a relative breeze thanks to what Zipp calls Rapid Routing. The holes are positioned exactly where they need to be to be compatible with all groupsets, and while the Zipp website only mentions mechanical brake/gear systems, a bit of a scoot round on the internet shows no issues with hydraulic hose use.


I was using the bar on a rim brake-equipped bike fitted with Shimano Ultegra 6800. All the cables passed through and exited without getting caught inside the bar. It's obviously more of a faff than externally routing them, especially if you have to remove all of the cables from an internally routed frame too, but it went a lot quicker and easier than expected.

Weight-wise, the Zipp is in the right ballpark at 236g for this 42cm size. The Ritchey WCS Carbon Streem bar is 248g, although it is a bit cheaper at £270 compared to the Zipp's £296.

> Buyer’s Guide: 9 of the best road & gravel drop handlebars + how to choose

Pro's Vibe Aero Carbon is slightly heavier at 261g and costs £299.99. It is aimed more directly at running Di2 internally, so routing a mechanical setup through the Vibe was nowhere near as easy as it was with the Zipp.

Overall, I really like the feel of the Zipp out on the road and got on well with the shape. And while the cost is high at nearly £300, it isn't massively overpriced against the opposition.


Expensive, but easy to set up and delivers a great ride and performance test report

Make and model: Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebar

Size tested: 42cm C-C

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, "Zipp's SL-70 Aero is, in every way, a high-performance bar. This unidirectional carbon handlebar is packed with innovations for best-in-class fit, ergonomics and aerodynamic performance. With its wing-shaped bar top, the SL-70 Aero features Zipp's most advanced bar refinements while building on the trend-setting aero legacy of the VukaSprint.

The bar's distinctive wing-shaped top is designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), the same software used to design Zipp® wheels. Our research showed that a traditional round-tube section creates drag of about 0.74 Newtons, which we found requires about 7.5 watts of effort at 30mph (48.3kph) to overcome. The airfoil developed in CFD that is used in the SL-70 Aero handlebar creates just 0.11N of drag, which means a savings of 6.4 watts over a round-tube section.

Beyond aero performance, the SL-70 Aero features a 70mm reach to allow proper fit without compromising stem length and steering control.

The 10-degree ramp angle to the brake hoods eliminates the need for up-rotated bars. The bar also provides ample wrist clearance for riding and sprinting in the drops."

I can't quantify the aero claims but it is a comfortable and stiff handlebar.

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

From Zipp:

Features Zipp's Rapid Routing™ system, also used in the Vuka Aero system, for easy internal cable routing.

UCI legal.

Compatible with all mechanical brake/gear systems.

Not clip compatible.

Available in Matte White and Matte Black finishes.

Sizes - 38cm/40cm/42cm/44cm centre-to-centre

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

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

The bar offers loads of stiffness for performance riding.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfortable hand positions; easy to run cables through.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A pricey upgrade.

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

The Zipp is at the upper end of those we have tested here at but not by a huge amount as you can see by the two I've compared them to in the review.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Depends how cheap I could find them.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A handlebar that can deal with any amount of power or force you can put through it, while also being pretty comfortable. Simple cable routing is a huge plus and helps to offset the high price.

Overall rating: 7/10

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, 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!

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lio | 4 years ago

I have a matt carbon set of these and really like them.  This personal is preference but they feel really solid and shape suits me well.

I also think they look much better on the bike than in the photo here.

There's more than enough space to run lights (Moon Storm) on one side of the stem and and a K-Edge Garmin mount on the other.  As I have a GoPro mount as part of the K-Edge that's another mounting point for lights or camera or both if you have a Cycliq Fly12.

I'm using hydro Ultegra Di2 and hose/cable routing is great.

bobinski | 4 years ago

Alternatively Wiggles prime aero handlebar. I have 2, first on an ultegra hydraulic set up, second hydro Di2. Great comfortable bars and enough space for a wahoo bolt.

boardmanrider | 4 years ago

 I bought these bars from CRC at a pretty good price. Quid pro quo - I don't race but they look the business. I managed to fit my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt with not issues and a sachet of Sugru mounted SRAM Blip shifters exactly how I wanted to. These are a great set of of bars and I am glad I bought them.

@NZ Vegan Rider - really? You're going to compare a set of carbon fibre handlebars to a complete bike? Troll if I ever read one. Please, stick to what is at hand!

NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago

296 GBP / 598 NZD - I've bought complete, good quality secondhand bikes for less than that.

I guess if having these bars will make the difference between winning and coming second - it's worth it.

Blackthorne replied to NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago

Completely worthless comparison. Moving on though, absolute stiffness isn't what I look for in a bar. Rather it's stiffness to weight ratio. I've had stiff bars in the past and they just beat you up on long rides. 

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