Zipp Vuka Sprint Road Bar
Zipp Super 9 Carbon Clincher Disc
(Performance Enhancing Designs)
Got an email in August – “Hey Druber, we here at Zipp know you’re a gimpy one legged shadow of your former self but you still write don’t you? We’d like you to give our new Vuka Sprint Road Bar a run through”.
Absolutely. Thank Goodness I took creative writing lessons at the feet of Max Kash Agro and Rev. William H Stone because every once in a while I get asked to test and review some cool stuff.
Here is what Zipp says about their new carbon fiber road bar:
The new VukaSprint carbon drop bar adapts the VukaBull’s advanced airfoil top section to be more aerodynamic at the angles most commonly found in a drop bar setup. Internal cable routing (mechanical only not compatible with electronic systems) and a sculpted top section provide comfortable hand positioning, while the broad profile and stiff carbon fiber layup yield a responsive ride quality. Even so, the VukaSprint weighs just 235 g (44 cm).
The VukaSprint is available in Short & Shallow and Traditional Bend drop shapes in 42 and 44 cm widths.
This product is UCI compliant.
Retail is about $350. Zipp tells me that more and more riders in the pro pel are going to flat bars. Something about saving a few watts in wind resistance versus tradition round profile bars. My thought was sure, if you’re Bradley Wiggins saving 3-4 watts every day over 3500 kilometers accumulates to be worth it but in a 40 minute Fatty Master crit – is it really worth it? That is for you to decide but here is what I’ve found…
I got a 44cm Short and Shallow bend bar. It came in actually a shade under the advertised weight at 231g on my digital scale. Out of the box I couldn’t help but admire the sleek lines and perfect finish on the bar. Well done Zipp on pure aesthetics.
I had to take the bar to my local shop (shout out to Get A Grip on Irving Park Rd) to have the bars wired up after I’d attached them to the bike and put the shifters on. They’re compatible with mechanical (SRAM is a perfect fit of course) systems – and meant to internally route the shift and brake cables through the bar, exiting near the head tube. This is great and completely eliminates noise from cables jostling together on rough pavement. It also provides a really nice clean look from all angles.
Despite having larger hands than the average cyclist – I can palm a basketball – I found the short and shallow bend to be extremely comfortable regardless of my position in the drops and when standing out of the saddle with hands at the furthest point on the drops, my fore arms don’t come close to making contact with the flat bladed tops of the bar – excellent ergonomics.
Riding with hands on the tops is more comfortable than I suspected it would be. I rode several times sans gloves just to get an accurate feel for the bars and the way to top foil of the bar is shaped, it provides a very comfortable fit and the mirror smooth finish isn’t hard on the hands in the least even while riding the mean streets of Chicago.
In the races, you’ll find the bars are stiff and secure when you’re sprinting and attacking and the entire “cockpit” feel elicits a great deal of confidence and control.
So – will the aero design and watt savings help you win races? For most of us probably not, but the light weight, strength and over all bling factor will certainly give your confidence a boost and THAT is performance enhancing.
SUPER 9 DISC
Y’all may have noticed that a certain German World Time Trial Champion has been rolling around on a clincher disc wheel the past couple of years. If you hadn’t noticed, here’s a photo
Here is what Zipp says about the Super 9:
Game changer. Barrier breaker. The Zipp® Super-9 Carbon Clincher Disc is the fastest wheel ever, with the performance and convenience of Zipp’s Carbon Clincher technology. When it comes to disc wheels, we’re obsessed with aero excellence. After all, our first product was a disc. Our quarter-century-long quest for the knowledge of speed allowed us to create the Super-9 Carbon Clincher. We’ve validated our findings in the wind tunnel and refined them further in the “virtual wind tunnel” using powerful Computational Fluid Dynamics software analysis. The result? The Super-9 Carbon Clincher optimizes supreme aerodynamics, power transfer, stiffness, lightweight and durability — all with the convenience and low rolling resistance of a clincher.
Retail is about $2375. The Super 9 takes off on the design of the Sub 9. Where the Sub 9 is wide at the rim and tapers in beyond the “808” depth, the Super 9 remains wide all the way to the hub. The result is a wheel that feels incredibly stable. During my injury induced absence I had team mates Moso-Man and Doughty do the field testing and the first word both of them used was “stable”. Moso-Man is about as big around as a pixie-stick and even on days with strong cross winds, he had no stability issues on the Super 9. Doughty gave the road feel top grades. He said that you could actually “feel that it’s perfectly round” if that makes sense. Most likely that sensation can be attributed to the clincher tire being in the bead without any chance that it’s mounted with some squirms or imperfections that might be possible with a glued on tubular tire.
Another thing that really helps with rolling resistance and road feel is that the wider bead will “round out” the tire, making it more of a half circle when fully inflated rather than a half oval if you can get that picture in your head. More contact with the road surface, better road feel, less rolling resistance. We rode the Super 9 with a 23 mm Zipp Tangente clincher tire.
One other advantage that Zipp found in the wind tunnel is that a new tire has a fairly significant advantage in drag than even a slightly used tire. Having a clincher wheel allows you to put a brand new tire on for big events much more easily than replacing a tubular tire.
OK – now for the anecdotal part. Doughty has for years and years been a very strong time trial racer. In 1980 he won the Olympic Trials and he won the Pan Am games ITT in 1979. In 2000 he won the Masters Nationals Road Race and he’s been trying to win the ITT since then. Well, this year he made the full switch to Zipp wheels – 808 Firecrest on front and after we obtained the Super 9 he swapped out his former brand (rhymes with Head) and started using the Super 9. He ran 3 time trials on the Super 9. Won a 20k, Won the State Time Trial Championship (60+) and finally won the Masters Natz 60-64 title out in Bend in September. Coincidence?
At 1175 g (ours came in at 1181) it’s certainly not the lightest disc on the market but for most TT Courses, what you might lose on acceleration, you’ll more than make up when you’re at speed.
- Stiff at start up and sprinting out of turnabouts
- Stable in cross winds and tight corners
- Second to none engineering and wind tunnel testing
If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for yourself or dreaming of building up your next season TT bike – give this disc strong consideration.
Find out more www.zipp.com