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review

Zipp Service Course Seatpost 2020

8
£50.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Great-functioning seatpost at a good price
Rock solid, saddle doesn't move once bolts are tightened
A bit of a faff at initial set-up
No lighter than a generic alloy seatpost
Matt silver only matches other Zipp silver Service Course
Weight: 
290g
Contact: 

The Zipp Service Course seatpost is well engineered, easy to adjust once its two bolts are in and holds the saddle rock solid thereafter. The matt silver finish makes it stand out from the crowd, but it only matches the other silver Zipp components.

The seatpost is part of the budget aluminium range of finishing kit made by the American wheel brand. It does the job of holding a saddle in place very well, but is no lighter than a generic alloy seatpost and no more comfortable. It requires patience (and occasional swearing) to poke the front of the two downward-facing bolts into its narrow cutout and get it threaded onto its nut. However, once you've got it started, it's very easy to get tilt angle exactly right.

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The new matt silver finish is striking looking, but doesn't match more traditional polished silver components, so unless you buy the Zipp Service Course silver bar and stem you risk a collar-cuff mismatch.

The other thing that Zipp followers will notice is the new logo: the serifs have gone and the angle of italicisation has been reduced. That will also appeal more to some than to others.

> Buyer’s Guide: 9 of the best shock-absorbing seatposts

Anyway, let's have a look at what's underneath the silver finish, which is called Nano Blast Silver Anodize and has been added to four different handlebars, a stem in various rises, and this seatpost, which comes in either inline (zero setback) or 20 degrees of setback like our sample. There are also 27.2mm or 31.6mm diameters.

The shaft and clamp are made from forged 6061 aluminium – not bonded, Zipp points out – for extra strength, but it's the clamp that's the interesting bit.

Zipp Service Course seatpost - 2.jpg

Two-bolt seatposts have always had an access issue: it's easy to get a tool to the rear bolt, but the front, unless it's in front of the post, Thomson style, can require fiddly solutions that include sliding a small spanner under the saddle or turning a knurled wheel with fingertips depending on design. Often, once you've tightened the rear, the tilt angle is wrong and you've got to start all over again with the front one.

Zipp's two downward-facing bolts mean you can tighten the bolts alternately with the same 5mm Allen key until you've got it perfect – but the front one is tricky to get started because its in a cutout that's too narrow for fingers and angled so you can't use a multi-tool without the handle getting in the way. It took me a few attempts at balancing the bolt on the end of a single Allen key with with the other hand holding the loose nut in place on top of the clamp (I could have done with a third hand to hold the saddle in place), but once it started threading it was more or less plain sailing. I was able to get the tilt exactly right immediately and it hasn't moved since.

2020 Zipp Service Course seatpost recessed bolt

The Zipp weighed 2g less than the outgoing Alpina alloy seatpost, so any weight saving was marginal. As for comfort, it's very unyielding – though no more so than the Alpina it replaced or any other alloy seatpost in my experience. Seatposts can add extra comfort but carbon is much better for achieving that (though more expensive).

Value

On the subject of price, the Zipp Service Course seatpost undercuts almost all its rivals: it's cheaper than the Ritchey Classic 2 Bolt and half the price of the Easton EA90, though Deda's Zero range of alloy seatposts are all priced lower.

Conclusion

The Zipp Service Course seatpost doesn't really represent an upgrade over rival alloy seatposts since it's no lighter. However, the asking price is competitively low, it is well engineered, nicely finished and rock solid in use. It's a bit of a faff to fit but on balance it's worth it for the ease and range of adjustment once in place. The matt silver finish might not be for everyone, but the Zipp name carries a lot of kudos and this is a highly cost-effective way to get it onto your bike.

Verdict

Great-functioning seatpost at a good price

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Zipp Service Course Seatpost

Size tested: 27.2mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Zipp says: "We've taken our Service Course Seatpost and made it better. The result is a post that's lightweight and strong for security and a precise fit at an affordable price. The Service Course seatpost also is improved for easier tool access to the downward facing bolt for easy setup."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

According to Zipp: "Better fit means better performance. If your saddle is out of position, you'll waste energy with every pedal stroke. The secure, low-profile clamp allows the saddle to slide farther back along the rails, and with 0 mm and 20 mm setback options, it's possible for nearly any rider to achieve the perfect fit. The unique clamp design also features downward-facing bolt heads that allow micro-adjustment of the saddle even after it is mounted. For high strength, low weight, and efficient use of every gram, the shaft and head are not bonded but are 3D-forged from 6061 aluminum. The Service Course Seatpost is 350 mm in length.

"Available in 27.2 or 31.6mm diameters. Fits all common saddle rail types.

"On today's road bikes, silver stands out amid the sea of stealthy black color schemes. This time-honored component color is available on the Zipp Service Course seatpost."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Good value, undercutting almost all its rivals above generic Kalloy level. It's priced for the lower end of the seatpost market yet is designed and performs like a premium component.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Impressively well. The initial faff of balancing a bolt on the end of an Allen key and poking it into a small recess by feel was soon forgotten once it was set up and in use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It held the saddle very securely thanks to a great clamp design that's easy to adjust.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

I would have preferred a polished silver finish that matches other components such as Campagnolo or older Shimano – and you would need the silver Zipp stem and bar to match or it looks out of place.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It undercuts almost all its rivals above generic Kalloy level. It's cheaper than the Ritchey Classic 2 Bolt and half the price of the Easton EA90, though Deda's Zero range of alloy seatposts are all priced lower.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

If a seatpost lets you get your saddle tilt exactly right then holds it a hundred per cent secure thereafter, it's doing a good job. There are lighter and more comfortable seatposts, but few are less than £50.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 50  Height: 178cm  Weight: 68kg

I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu  My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, School run on a tandem

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