Product Review: ZIPP B2 Carbon Bar and 145 Carbon Stem
Zipp is well known as the fast wheels to have, but to receive a full carbon handlebar and stem - What was going on here?
Where do I start? The packaging of the B2 handlebar and 145 stem was impressive to say the least. Zipp is well known within the road cycling and triathlon communities as the fast wheels to have, but to receive a full carbon handlebar and stem... What was going on here? Zipp has been developing other go-fast products like the B2 handlebar and 145 Stem. Zipp has been pushing hard developing and promoting a ?Dimple Technology? system within their aero wheel sets. To my amazement, I received a small glimpse of what the dimples may look like right inside that box from Zipp on what looked like a small cookie tin that the 145 carbon stem was packaged within. Inside the tin was a nearly flawless carbon stem with four titanium faceplate bolts, an aluminum faceplate, and a carbon steer tube cap that when put together creates an amazing looking piece of bike gold. Along side of the 120 mm X 26.0 mm Zipp 145 stem was a very impressive 42-cm (outside to outside) X 26.0 mm Zipp B2 carbon handlebar (more bike gold). The bar was within a red and yellow nylon sock / sleeve that said speed at first glance. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
The ZIPP B2 carbon handlebar is a full carbon handlebar with VCLC (Viscoelastic Constrained Layer Control) technology that helps control vibrations caused by rough roads and minimizes harsh shock waves caused by larger road hazards, i.e. potholes. I, of course, had to find out if VCLC worked or not. The perfect test was to just ride down my driveway to get to smooth pavement. You see I live down a quarter-mile dirt/gravel road in rural <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Besides seeing the VCLC labeling on the top of the handlebar, I noticed the aero shape of the handlebar top. Not as deep as many other aero one-piece carbon/bar systems, the Zipp B2 handlebar was functionally aero and comfortable for climbing on the tops of the handlebar. Along with the parabolic tops, there is no round part to the handlebar except the clamp area. Under the aero section were nicely formed cable grooves. The grooves were perfectly formed to help keep the aero flow to the handlebar and a riding comfort without cables being in the way when wrapped with bar tape. Although I was experienced at wrapping bar tape, the aero sections proved to be a welcome challenge,