Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Zipp 2001 Owners Guide to an updated seat binder.

This is a pretty niche post admittedly. However, it came up not a week or so ago by a friend, and I know the market is still pretty warm on 2001/3001's, so perhaps someone will be saved a good deal of hassle and worry by stumbling onto it.

When I see posts on different forums about owning a Zipp 2001 (or 3001, but I'm just going to use 2001 from now on, but assume I am referring to both) I think to myself "you don't know what you're getting yourself into." It's a beautiful, ahead of it's time bike frame. Of course, that was closing in on 30 years ago. Now, owning (to say nothing of riding regularly) a Zipp 2001 is akin to buying an old Porsche or other niche collectible sports car... a beautiful, fast, attention grabbing machine that gets stares and questions at every turn... but can often swamp it's owner with maintenance. The parts, if you can find them (which is getting harder to do) are often priced at an almost laughably high price. A current check of ebay reveals
Small Beam (black) - $2500 obo (with 137 watchers)
Zipp Carbon crank - $579 obo (27 watching)
Track Dropouts - $550 (14 watching)
Center Pull Brake (w/carbon cover) - $500
Beam attachment bolt - $50
(other Beams at a more..."reasonable" ~$1200)

So yeah, parts ain't cheap or readily available.  For the brakes, buy some Tririgs. For the dropouts, have a machine shop make you some. For the crank... use whatever crank you want (that one isn't "really" for a 2001, although it's period correct) Now the beams... you're kinda at the mercy of ebay/forums unless you can hunt down Dave Hill somehow (and if he still has any, which he may not)

Fortunately for those of us who own one of the later generation Zipps (1st gen had a softride beam, which means a good amount more options for replacement) the beam itself is not a common weak spot in the bike. The seat binder however... wasn't great when it was new... and not many of them qualify anywhere near "new" any more. For reference, I mean this piece.

Not the strongest link in the chain

So, you've found this page because you need a solution. Let's dive right in.

First, you're going to need to measure out how tall your binder was with the saddle attached (that way you can have the piece made to allow for similar height.)

Now you're going to need to get friendly with your local machine shop. These guys can easily get you what you need, you're just going to need to make sure you give them exact instructions as to what you need. Check these pictures out, and I'll type up what it says in the pictures so it's easy to read.

To oversimplify things, you are basically going to want your machine shop to make you an aluminum "T" to slide into the top of the beam. Here are the instructions I typed out for a friend who ran into this problem.

20mm on top. This will allow the "T" to sit on top of where it slides into the beam, hopefully giving you a little more stability and keeping it from putting too much pressure on anything

18mm Total height (total for my personal bike) 15mm height is what you will need it to be to sit into the beam from where it flares out. To add stack height to your seatpost, you will need to figure out how tall you need the flared part to be. (This is why you measured your old one) At this point you'll need to figure out what seat binder you are going to use as well. (I use a 1st Gen Speed concept one, but you can make about anything work.) 

10mm Base will fit snug into the opening of the beam. This gives you 5mm flared out on each side, so that the "T" will fit nicely into the opening on the beam.

The length of the aluminum piece is 110mm. That's for a Large Zipp beam, I am not sure if it is the same for all of them. Measure yourself! If you wanted to get fancy you can cut the ends at an angle and make it flush with the beam.

Measure, Drill and Tap 3 holes as large as will fit into the holes in the beam (M5/M6) You can see in the above picture where I have gone back to re-do it in another position, IGNORE the extra holes. Also, you will notice the bolt running through the mast is down into one of my holes. This isn't ideal, I have just been too lazy to cut the bolt to length. Make sure you drill AND tap the holes. Don't use a nut.

Add caption
Again, take whatever top post you are going to use, mark the holes and drill / tap them through the top.

Once you put this together you should have a much stronger, stable, non-squeaking seat beam binder.

Here you can see it installed. 

So, there you go. A little ingenuity and a friendly relationship with the local machine shop and your time machine will be better than the day it came off of Zipp's showroom.  Hopefully this post is found by someone in need of assistance!

*I should add credit where it is due. Chicanery (on Slowtwitch & other forums) is actually the person who created (to my knowledge) this hack. I merely inherited it (when I bought his frame) and am now sharing it with those who it might help!

Thanks for checking out the blog! I'll be racing this evening in a short TT!

-Christopher Morelock


  1. This is great. I have been looking how to replace this clamp.
    Thanks Christopher.
    Please tell me: what rail clamp are you using?

    1. Hey Claudio,

      Glad it helped out!
      The one I'm using is a Speed Concept (Gen1) Seatpost Cap.