ZIPP SLC2 Bar Review
When I took the SLC2 bar out of the box, the very first thing I noticed about the bar was the weight. I purchased these bars over Zipp's lighter SL bar because it was known to be a "sprinters bar" and was reinforced throughout the entire length of the bar which allowed clip on aerobars (so the owner wouldn't have to lug an extra bike to TT in stage races, not that I will ever do a stage race :) ). Zipp had claimed on it's site that the cyclocross and sprint ready SLC2 weighed in at 190 grams and mine weighed in about 188...so far so good.
The next thing I noticed was the textured surface of the stem clamp and shifter mounting areas, this was much appreciated coming from the Easton EC90 SLX3 bars which had a slippery finish which made perfect precise shifter placement adjustment impossible. The SLC2 even has great highly visible position markers to ensure everything is level. Once I had these bars installed on my 2010 SuperSix via a 3T ARX-Team, I did everything possible to produce flex. I am 5'11 and about 170 lbs and I could not create any discernible flex in sprinting out of the saddle, bunny hopping, or hard cornering, and descents. I could always produce some sort of flex on my old EC90 bars and even a newer pair of Specialized S-Works bars. What was odd to me was how little road noise I got from such a stiff bar, I'm running a very thin and minimal bartape (fizik Microtex) so I know it wasn't the tape eating up the noise. My previous lighter bars were definitely a little more quiet than the SLC2s but not enough to justify the flex.
The greatest feature about this bar after it’s stiffness is how the transition from the flattops to the drops occur. Riders hit their wrist or inner forearm on the top of the bars striking a nerve on other bars such as the Syntace Racelite 2 (which is also a great light yet stiff bar) when in the drops. The SLC2 has no such shape allowing me to sprint side to side on every bit of the length of the drops without discomfort. I also appreciate the shallow drop version of this bar as my back is quite not rehabbed enough to allow me to ride the traditional drop.
When it comes to cons, the only complaint I could think that anyone could have is aesthetic. The asymmetrical Zipp logo placement won’t be very pretty for those who prefer not to run the bartape close to the stem.
We get many questions about carbon vs aluminum bars...I've never met a rider that preferred the ride quality of an aluminum bar, but I know that many have opted out of a carbon bar out of longevity concerns. Below is a quote from a lead structural engineer at Zipp (which now has an excellent aluminum service course line)
A slow-speed crash tends to be most hazardous for components and rideras more of the impact is directed perpendicular to the longitudinal axisof the bicycle. The failure mode of a carbon fiber structure isdrastically different from an aluminum one, as carbon fiber is a brittlematerial and hence fails in the manner depicted here, while an aluminumpart will yield until it deforms plastically and eventually breaks.Contrary to what many people on internet forums seem to believe, by thetime you fail a carbon fiber handlebar in this manner, you will haveplastically deformed an aluminum bar. While the aluminum bar may remainintact it is no more ridable than the bar shown here, as it will haveyielded to the degree that complete failure is inevitable.