Zipp’s Service Course SL carbon seatpost delivers a very comfortable ride across a variety of terrain. In fact as the road and trails got rougher, the Service Course SL responded accordingly, absorbing plenty of the buzz. It looks great too and is simple to set up and adjust. However, at over £150 it’s a little on the heavy side for a carbon post in this price bracket.
Delivers a comfortable ride on rough roads and trails
Easy to set up and adjust saddle position
Not the lightest at 233g
Part of the SRAM family, Zipp is well known for producing high-performing wheelsets as well as attractive looking finishing kit. The Zipp Service Course SL seatpost is a sleek carbon number featuring subtle graphics, a redesigned two-bolt clamp and a pretty significant price tag.
Zipp Service Course SL carbon seatpost - the construction
The Zipp Service Course SL seatpost is offered in three diameters - 25.4, 27.2 and 31.6mm - and one length, 400mm. It’s also available with an offset of 0mm and 20mm. Our post has a 27.2 diameter with zero offset. It weighs 233 grams on my scales (which matches the claimed weight) and retails at £164.00.
The Service Course SL seatpost is made from unidirectional carbon, while the clamp is constructed from 7075 aluminium. The matte finish and stealth graphics look suitably high-end. In short it’s a good looking post; understated, classy and visually a nice upgrade for any road or gravel bike.
On close inspection the carbon is plenty smooth and well-finished, with the head bonded neatly onto the tube. The clamp is fairly sizable, which is perhaps why it weighs a little more than many comparative carbon posts.
Said clamp is a two-bolt affair. It's pretty traditional looking and works with both round and oval saddle rails. Positioning the saddle was relatively straightforward. Zipp says it has redesigned the clamp to make the bolt heads as accessible as possible and it’s safe to say they have succeeded. Armed with a long handled hex key both bolts were easy to get to and adjust to position the saddle just so. The bolts themselves are steel, and while it's a minor point, I can’t help but think that a post costing north of £150 could come with titanium hardware.
Zipp Service Course SL carbon seatpost - the ride
Zipp makes some pretty bold claims when it comes to the additional comfort the Service Course SL seatpost will provide. It says the post is “specifically tuned to be more shock absorbing than the 'comfort' seatposts on the market, while still passing our strict internal MTB strength test". It also, according to Zipp, has “flex engineered into the lightweight carbon tube” to keep you “comfortable over any terrain”.
I was slightly sceptical. I’ve ridden plenty of carbon seatposts before and in general I’ve not always been able to notice any significant difference between them and high-end aluminium models with regards to comfort.
For the Zipp Service Course SL’s first outing I matched it with an aluminium gravel frameset that I’d been riding with an alloy Thomson Elite seatpost. The Thomson had proved to be a reliable and comfortable companion. I was keen to see if there was any discernible difference between the two posts.
The initial feedback was promising. While it would be a stretch to say that the Zipp Service Course SL outperformed the Thomsen Elite, it more than held its own. On gravel tracks that deliver lots of chatter, it did a stellar job of absorbing the buzz. After several miles of dirt, mud and plenty of tree roots it still felt good; solid yet comfy and in general a pleasure to sit atop.
Subsequent outings confirmed this. On longer road rides it lived up to its shock absorbing claims, helping to mute the uneven, pitted surfaces of the country lanes I was riding on. This was particularly welcome after many miles when fatigue had set in.
Further off-road explorations also highlighted the attributes of the seatpost. While isolating the performance characteristic of any single component can be tricky when you’re navigating winding dirt paths littered with autumnal debris, the Zipp Service Course SL post did noticeably help to dampen the uneven surfaces. Which, ultimately, in my book makes it a success.
The Zipp Service Course SL seatpost retails at £164 /US$163, which places it somewhere in the middle ground for carbon posts. At the higher end of the scale Enve's carbon post costs £290 / US$275 and weighs 30 grams less, while Ritchey's Comp carbon post is a similar weight and has an RRP of £80 / US$97.95
While I would have difficulty in substantiating Zipp’s statement that the SL Service Course seatpost is more shock absorbing than other posts on the market, it certainly felt as comfortable as others that have performed well for me in the past. And while it's a bit heavier than many comparable carbon posts in this price bracket, the extra few grams aren't something you're really going to notice. In short, it’s a post I’d happily continue to ride and recommend to others.
- Weight: 233g (27.2mm, 0mm offset)
- Sizes: 25.4mm, 27.2mm, 31.6mm
- Length: 400mm
- Offset: 0mm, 20mm
- Contact: sram.com/zipp
Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for the past twenty years. Working across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.
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