Zipp’s Service Course 70 XPLR Handlebar by the Numbers

The Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR is a new drop handlebar designed specifically for big mixed terrain rides, with comfort and gear hauling in mind. We had the chance to attend a presentation by Zipp about the bars and give the SL 70 XPLR a look. Here’s a set of photos and our initial takeaways…

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The Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR is the company’s new gravel/all-road handlebar range. The bar is available in two alloy models, the lighter Service Course SL 70 XPLR (shown here) and the more budget-friendly Service Course 70 XPLR. The bar’s name, XPLR, pretty much sums up the intention of this handlebar, but there’s a lot going on with the numbers behind it.

Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar
  • Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar
  • Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar

As Zipp summarized during their presentation—and as one might expect given the company’s name—everything they do is to help cyclists go faster. That’s their mission statement, anyway. For the 70 XPLR, that meant putting the rider’s hands in a “comfort zone” position suited for hours of rough riding. It’s not necessarily about high speeds, but more about maintaining comfort and control to complete long rides faster. According to ZIPP, when designing this bar they thought through several needs for big gravel rides: comfort, control, and the ability to carry things.

Zipp claims to have met these needs by creating a bar with shallow and wide drops, specifically focusing on two metrics: outsweep and flare. For those unfamiliar, outsweep is created by angling the drop vertically outward just below the brake perch, and flare is created by rotating the entire drop outward.

Something that often bothers me about more dramatically flared bars is that the brake hoods sit at an awkward angle. It’s not always a problem for me when my hands are on the hoods, but sometimes the bend at the point of flare exaggerates the angle of the levers, making grabbing them from the drops a little weird. At any rate, Zipp’s goal was to develop a bar with a hoods-dominant position at the forefront, in turn, solving some of these issues. I ride in the hoods much of the time, or with my hands resting on the bar curve just behind the hoods, so this piqued my interest. To accomplish this—and maintain control in the drops—Zipp landed on 5° flare and 11° outsweep. The bar’s drop shape features 70mm reach, but the drop is a shallower 115mm.

Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar
  • Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar
  • Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar

Zipp also made a few other interesting decisions when designing the XPLR. As you can see below, they added a little backsweep to the horizontal bar, just beyond the clamp. In addition, that section also features a flattened, ergonomic top beyond the extended 100mm clamping area, which Zipp states is for computer mounts, aero extensions, or bikepacking bags.

Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar

While this is a very brief first look, I’m pretty impressed with the attention to detail on these bars. As Zipp puts it, the bar was designed to provide ergonomically optimal access to the brakes and shifters from either the drops or hoods to deliver control. I haven’t ridden with the SL 70 XPLR yet, but I’m currently building a bike and plan to put some miles on it and will add photos with tape and levers, as well as additional impressions. For now, note that my only initial complaint is that it isn’t available in a 48cm wide. All these photos are of the widest 46cm variation. Here are all the specs from Zipp…

ZIPP SERVICE COURSE SL 70 XPLR

Sizes: 40, 42, 44, 46cm
70mm Reach / 115mm Drop
5° Flare / 11° Outsweep
Ergonomic top with 3° backsweep 100mm clamping area on top of bar
Di2® bar end junction compatible
260g ±5% (42cm)
MSRP: $ 110 / € 123 / £ 109
Retail Availability: September 2019

SERVICE COURSE 70 XPLR

Sizes: 42, 44, 46cm
70mm Reach / 115mm Drop
5° Flare / 11° Outsweep
Ergonomic top with 3° backsweep 100mm clamping area on top of bar
Di2 bar end junction compatible
305g ±5% (42cm)
MSRP: $ 55 / € 61 / £ 54
Retail Availability: September 2019

Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR handlebar

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