Jack noticed I changed the handlebars on my Strael and swapped the Ritchey Streem for a Zipp Service Course, and he asked for the reasons. That is a good question, because the change has a story.
My initial decision for the Streem came because:
- I wanted to route the cabling through the handlebars, which the Streem allows (especially the cables for the electronic shifting needed to go from one shifter to the other inside of the handlebars).
- The Streem has a short reach, which gives me more room to play with the bikes reach by swapping a stem. Changing a stem is more easy than changing handlebars.
- I like the drop curve, which works well when riding in the drops, whether reaching out for the brake leaver or not.
- Ritchey parts are quality parts at a reasonable price.
- I could do a complete Ritchey finishing, with seatpost, stem, and handlebars, which is more a style thing than a functional requirement.
The Streem has a flattened top section, which perhaps is meant to be an ergonomic benefit, but actually, it did not work for me. I found it makes the top section unneccessarily huge and depending on the rotation angle of the handlebars, can end up in a tilted top section that takes away any ergonomic advantages, if there were any. But I could live with that, it was not an issue for me. My issue was, the huge top section took away space I needed for my legs. Having long legs and a short torso, I ride a shorter stem (at first 80 mm, later 90 mm). The flattened top section takes more space than a round section and thus takes away space between the saddle and the handlebars. When riding in the standing position, my legs touched the handlebars every now and then, which made me adjust my riding position, and that bothered me.
It was a coincidence that my electronic shifting did not work anymore, which made me replace it for a mechanical GRX. The initial requirement of routing shifting cables through the handlebars disappeared. Putting those two pieces together: Trying to get more space for my legs and no need for routing cables through the handlebars anymore, brought up the Zipp Service Course SL 70. The SL 70 is characterized by
- an even shorter reach than the Streem (70 mm compared to 73 mm),
- a similar drop shape,
- a round top section, and
- a comparable and reasonable price.
Therefore I gave it a try and replaced my Streem with the Zipp. I think it delivers 15 mm additional clearance for my legs. It turned out I like gripping the round top section more than the flattened one and the curve of the drops is even a little bit better when reaching out for the brake levers. It also makes a more minimalistic look.
I took the chance to replace the Ritchey 80 mm stem I was riding with a 90 mm Ritchey Toyon stem that was unused in my storage. The Zipp, with a reduced reach of 3 mm and the Toyon adding 10 mm of reach, in total add 7 mm of reach when gripping the shifters. The „leg clearance“ though increases by 25 mm because of 10 mm stem + 15 mm handlebars! Riding the bike feels better through the slightly increased reach and the leg clearence is much better.
This setup allows to adjust the bike better to my needs. It has nothing to do with Zipp being better than Ritchey. Both handlebars are fine. The Zipp is just more suitable for my situation.