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Back 6.13.2017

Zipp Vuka Clip Designed with Fit-First Philosophy – Product Q&A

A fit-first philosophy drives Zipp aerobar design for a simple reason—proper position on the bike translates into increased efficiency. Zipp’s new Vuka Clip is based on feedback from pro fitters to help triathletes and time trial riders achieve increased speed through proper fit. We sat down with Zipp Product Manager Nathan Schickel for a deep dive into that fit-first philosophy—high adjustability with simple setup—behind the Vuka Clip:

Who is the core customer for the new Vuka Clip?
You have anyone from the roadie who does stage races and has to do that 6 to 10 mile time trial in the stage race and needs a clip on to put on his road bike, to triathletes or time trial riders who have a specific fit or budgetary needs that can’t be met with an integrated bar.

What is the thinking behind the above- or below-bar extension mounting options? 
The below-bar mount is for situations where a rider needs a very low position, such as when using a road bike for a time trial, or when you have a rider with a very low handlebar position on their triathlon or time trial bike. The above-bar mount will be for most fits where a super low position is not needed for a rider to be efficient and aerodynamic.

What options do they have for creating a Zipp areo cockpit with the Vuka Clip? 
We represent a couple different price points. The Alumina kit (Vuka Clip with Vuka Alumina base bar and Vuka Alumina Race or Evo extensions) is $210 (€234). The carbon (Vuka Clip, Vuka Bull base bar, and Vuka Race or Evo carbon extensions) is $487 (€507).  

With this recent redesign of the Vuka Clip, Zipp tried to maintain the original clip’s high range of adjustability while simplifying setup. How did you achieve that? 
The previous Vuka Clip, to install it on the bar you had to turn six bolts per side. That was really time consuming. We had to find a way to minimize that setup time as much as possible.

The first thing we did was we looked at how can we make all of the bolts facing upward. We concentrated on the above-bar mount because that was the most complicated. You’ll see that except for the mounting bolts that mount it to the base bar, everything else faces upward so the mechanic or the fitter is working down in a very uncluttered area. To get the clip on the base bar, it’s two bolts. Then you make your length and extension pitch adjustment, that’s two more bolts. If you have to make armrest adjustments from the stock position it’s in, that’s another two bolts. You do those in different steps.

Finally, one of the cool features we were able to work in is if you’ve gone through and you’ve gotten everything where you think it’s correct and you’ve cabled or wired up the bike, but then you realize you need to change position of the armrest arm, you can simply remove two bolts, slide the extension out and 4mm gear cable housing will pass through. Instead of having to completely unwire the bike and rewire it, which on a time trial or triathlon bike can take two hours, it’s a very quick system. Again, it’s just a time saver.

Are there any specific fit objectives as Zipp has been redesigning its aerobar products? 
The biggest overarching thing has been armrest width. Before we started the project, I polled a group of fitters whom I consult with for product development. All of them had little things they wanted. A lot of them said, ‘I need to be able to remove the extension and change the position of the clip without unwiring the bike.’ OK, great. We can engineer that. Some said, ‘I only want bolts facing up.’ But all of themsaid you need 280mm or more on center for armrest pad width. 

What is driving that?
Cyclists are saying I can’t get comfortable. People are realizing that it’s great you have an aero TT bike, but if you can’t use the aero bars, you’ve wasted the investment on the TT bike.  

If you were so uncomfortable in the aero bars that you couldn’t stay there for longer than five minutes but your event was six hours long, that’s not the fastest position. The way to judge efficacy of your aerobar position is, can you stay in it for the duration of the race? Unless you have to get out of the saddle, brake, corner… if you can’t stay in that position for the duration of the race, whether it’s a five-minute pursuit or a six-hour Ironman® bike, then your fit is wrong. Adding extra width for the armrests allow athletes to find a position they can hold for their given event.

How is the Vuka Fit software tool used with Vuka Clip? 
Vuka Fit is a set up tool. It’s not a fit tool. You need a fit, a position on the bike, first. By taking five measurements from your bike, going to your frame manufacturer’s website and pulling two measurements off their geometry data and putting that into VukaFit, it tells you how to put the entire Zipp aerobar system together. This works whether it’s a Vuka Alumina base bar and Vuka Clip or whether it’s a Vuka Aero integrated bar. It just speeds the setup. 

What is driving Zipp extension development, especially with the Evo carbon and aluminum extensions? 
We’ve done away with the Ski Tip extension. The reason we did that was ergonomically the position achieved by the Zipp Evo 70 is still relaxed and comfortable like the Ski Tip but more aerodynamic, according to our testing. The 110 was designed for our below-bar clip on mount with a higher rise.  What we’re seeing is higher and higher hand position; we even have some of our professionals choosing to ride the Evo 110 extensions in an above-bar mounting set up. That’s why we call them Evo, they’re the next evolution of extensions with inward wrist roll and the different rises (70 or 110mm).