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?
but all was well when finished. Along with the aero section with its cable grooves, the handlebar has 20 mm of clamping space for levers allowing the perfect brake lever placement for each rider?s needs / preference. Thus, allowing a variety of hand positions within the drops, hoods, and top of the bar. The only drawback to the aero shape of the handlebar tops is that it does not allow clip-on aero bars used by many in time trials and draft legal triathlons/duathlons.
After racing the handlebar in races that included long climbs, short and long sprints, criteriums with and without cobbles, and fast long hauls in the drops, I would have to say that the Zipp B2 carbon handlebar is a must have for the serious racer and cyclist alike. Get ready, however, to fork out about $250. I would recommend using the B2 handlebar with Zipp?s 145 carbon stem as a total package.
The Zipp 145 carbon stem is even more impressive than the B2 handlebar. The lay-up of the carbon is so impressive that I hated to use the stem on my bicycle because of the stem?s beauty. The stem had such a clean lay-up of carbon that there were few if any rough places or carbon burrs on the stem. It was 99.9% flawless! To complement the clean look of the carbon, Zipp included a forged aluminum faceplate that is mounted with Italian-manufactured 6Al/4V titanium bolt kits. Along with a good look, the faceplate has a perfectly matched curvature to the Zipp B2 handlebar?s clamping area to create a clean and very strong clamp that does not move when properly tightened.
I got a chance to look at the 31.8-mm oversized version of the stem. At first, I was caught off guard by the massive looking profile of the 31.8-mm stem. The oversized stem looked as if it would swallow the handlebar. I never got to look at the oversized bar, but if the stem was any indication, the setup would have been super stiff. The 26.0-mm stem was very impressive. The VCLC technology that was in the B2 handlebar was also present in the 145 stem. Unfortunately, it was not as noticeable in the stem. The stem was super stiff when doing any kind of out-of-saddle climbing or sprinting, and it was noticeably less forgiving than my stock Giant Bicycles carbon/aluminum stem on open roads. The wider width of the clamping area created a very secure and stiff system when torsion forces were demanded. When used with the B2 handlebar, the 145 stem dampened most of the road vibrations that I encountered.
The 145 stem also came with a shim so that it may be used with one-inch steering tubes or 1 1/8-inch steering tubes. The clamp has opposing bolts to reduce the stress on one side or the other, which creates an even clamping load on the stem and the fork steering