Zipp’s Service Course SL70 XPLR handlebar has only 5 degrees of flare and a short end-to-end measurement of 523mm.
It does have 11 degrees of sweep, though, which gives a natural position and feel on the drops, but not quite the same handling advantage that more flare provides.
That narrow width does make transitions to and from the drops seamless, and a tighter flare combined with an outward sweep of 11 degrees allows for excellent manoeuvrability with good wrist clearance when tackling more technical terrain. The process feels fluid and instinctive.
The bar very subtly curves back from the stem so you are in a slightly more upright position when riding on the hoods. It’s not extreme but gives that extra degree of ease that you want in pursuit of gravel, not road, comfort.
Either side of the stem, where the hands naturally sit on the top, the bar flattens out. It not only makes for a better riding platform but also creates a channel on the underside, into which the cables recess, thus reducing bulk.
This is a simple iteration of a gravel bar – it allows for straight brake levers and I like the subtlety of its proportions that make the difference in comfort and handling, and which make it a worthy upgrade.
The Zipp Service Course SL70 XPLR weighs 274g on my scales.