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Cervelo Bikes

The World's Fastest & Lightest Bikes

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Starting in 1995 Gerard Vroomen and Phil White applied innovation, engineering and Computer Aided Design to create bicycles for the best riders in the world. They chose the name Cervelo through combining the Italian word for brain, and French word for bicycle, and quickly became one of the most progressive manufacturers in the industry. Their engineering-focused design has gained Cervelo a reputation for offering some of the most aerodynamic and lightest bicycles on the market.

Their realization that that the majority of a rider’s power goes towards moving air informed the design of the first Cervelo triathlon bike. After that, Cervelo quickly realized the potential for improving the performance of road bikes through advanced aerodynamics. Cervelo has also applied their engineering expertise to the development of stronger and lighter carbon fiber layups in each new frame design. Instead of calling out “high modulus” carbon fiber or other non-standardized buzzwords, Cervelo claims that they engineer with the correct carbon fiber to get the most out of any given design. Their bikes, from the ground-breaking Cervelo P5X RED eTap triathlon bike to the endurance-oriented Cervelo C3 Ultegra road bike, back this claim with an exceptional ride quality and race winning pedigree.

Cervelo P5X

Revolutionary Aerodynamics

Dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe the Cervelo P5X. Keeping the phrase “Forget the UCI” in mind, Cervelo engineers have let their minds push the boundaries on aerodynamics. The unique beam bike technology makes the bike distinctive, and more importantly, ruthlessly efficient. From aerodynamically integrated storage and stress-free packing, to unprecedented adjustability, the P5X focuses on a singular goal: helping triathletes achieve their personal best. For the first time in Cervélo’s history, much less in time trial bike history, the unique needs of every triathlete, whether training, racing or travelling, are truly front and center.

The Cervelo P5X takes Cervelo’s aerodynamic know-how to the next level with an beam-style frame. The goal was to increase the speed of the bike, while adding on disc brakes. Cervelo achieved their goal, not only making the bike as fast as previous P5 but making it a bit faster in the process. More than 180 hours of wind-tunnel testing, along with over 150 plus frame iterations, allowed the P5X to be 30 grams faster than the P5 at +15 to -15 yaw angles in a full Ironman setup. The addition of disc brakes plus the nature of the frame means the addition of thru axles as well with a 142×12 rear and 100×12 front thru axle. As a result the bike isn’t just more aerodynamic, but is surprisingly stiff out of the saddle and efficient in a straight line.

Packaging is an integral part of the Cervelo P5X. Thanks to the unique frame design, the P5X allows for unique packaging systems that place the rider in mind. After taking over 14,000 photos to determine exactly what riders were doing with bikes, Cervelo developed the P5X’s exclusive Smartpak, Stealthbox and Speedcase components. They allow riders to carry nutrition, flat kit and cold weather gear without ruining hard-earned aerodynamic benefits.

Cervelo has chosen to offer the P5X in small, medium, large and extra-large size options. These sizes are based on rider’s reach and stack measurements instead of typical top tube and seat tube length measurements. This allows for an aerodynamic fit that easy to hold for hours at a time; many will find that they can ride more than one frame size, so sizing eventually comes down to preferred handling characteristics. Another major difference for most triathletes will be the factory installed hydraulic disc brakes on the P5x. Not only does stopping power become more reliable, but carbon rims are freed from the constraints of normal brake design, allowing for more aerodynamic and stronger carbon wheels.

The All New 2018 Cervelo R5 and R3

The Road Hasn’t Changed, The Game Has

Cervelo is best known for their aero bikes; it’s how they differentiated themselves from the pack. The Cervelo R-Series model line, for their classic road bikes, has been a mainstay for quite some time as some of the lightest and technologically advanced road bikes around. With the redesign of the Cervelo R3 and Cervelo R5 road bikes, Cervelo aims to redefine their classic road bike from being purely data and aerodynamically driven to bikes that focus just as much on riding sensation.

The biggest change to Cervelo’s game is the redefinition of the R3 & R5, as they become technological peers with varying focuses on fit and ride characteristics. The R5 and R3 both have Cervelo’s “Squoval” tube shape, which has been redesigned in what the engineers call the “Squoval Max”; in short it’s Cervelo’s secret sauce of ride quality, weight, stiffness, and aero efficiency. As a result, the R5 becomes 44g more efficient aerodynamically than the previous R5, while the R3 becomes 17g more efficient than it’s previous generation.

Both bikes are engineered to swallow up to a 28mm tire without issue. The frames also feature a nice-looking integrated chainstay protector designed to protect against chain suck. The R5 has a cleanly integrated and hidden seat clamp, and the R3 has a traditional seat collar. With the integrated clamp, the R5 uses a proprietary d-shaped seatpost that cuts weight while adding flex for comfort. Both bikes similarly come in both rim and disc brake models, but that’s about where the similarities end.

The Cervelo R5 road bike is designed to be Cervelo’s Pro-Tour bike. With requests from their Team Dimension Data team for additional stiffness and smoother handling, they’ve focused extensively on making this the ultimate go-fast machine. As such, the new R5 rim brake model is 21% stiffer at the bottom bracket and 13% at the head tube, while the R5 Disc is 18% and 26% stiffer respectively than the previous R5. The overall wheelbase has been extended and the bottom bracket lowered in an effort to increase high-speed cornering stability. The big difference here is the adoption of what Cervelo calls their Pro Fit geometry; the new R5 is now 8mm lower at the front compared to the R3, while the reach is also 2mm longer – with a lower stack across the range than even the Pinarello Dogma F10. All of this amounts to a bike that looks as fast as it rides, and with much more confidence at that.

In comparison, the Cervelo R3 focuses more on expert-level riders instead of pros, with an edge toward stiffness to weight. As such, Cervelo found they could cut weight without sacrificing stiffness compared to the previous Cervelo R5. The result is a frame that’s 10 per cent lighter (rim brakes) or 16 per cent lighter (disc brakes) than the previous model, while improving headtube and bottom bracket stiffness by 4% each. They’ve also aimed for greater user-friendliness; compared to the R5, offers reach and stack number that are similar to the previous R5 without going as extreme as said bike. To do so, Cervelo offers the R3 road bike in a Ultegra mechanical model to Red eTap. All in all, it turns in quickly, and climbs at least as well as the previous R5 does.

Regardless of need, Cervelo offers a high-performance road bike for users all over the spectrum. Both bikes handle better than their predecessors, without sacrificing anything. The longer wheelbase and the bike’s angles makes it feel very stable and the lower bottom bracket makes flipping the bike into corners enjoyably easy. There isn’t much these bikes give up on.

Cervelo Time Trial and Tri Bikes

P5X, P5, P3, P2

Go to any triathlon anywhere, and the name Cervelo is as ubiquitous as TYR and Speedo. In 2005, Cervelo released the P3C, a bike so good it probably is still (with its minor retool in 2013) the best selling bicycle in triathlons everywhere. Cervelo’s far-reaching influence stems from their dedication to aerodynamics and usability in their triathlon and time trial bikes. By cutting frontal area, velocity naturally increases over the same amount of force applied to the pedals. But legions of triathletes were won over by Cervelo’s dedication to making their bikes easy to transport and put together. This influence continues today, as models like the Cervelo P3 Ultegra Di2 and Cervelo P5 Six RED eTap prove that Cervelo is still at the top of the very game it pioneered.

Already responsible for the most winning and most popular tri bikes ever, Cervelo has re-written the book with their new P5X. When turning this concept into reality Cervelo first targeted the frame’s aerodynamics and knew that a shift away from the traditional diamond shape was needed to make a faster triathlon bike. With an open beam design, its looks might be controversial but the new found speed will speak for itself. The result? A bike that is faster than the already-fast Cervelo P5 despite the addition of disc brakes. Exclusive Smartpak, Stealthbox and Speedcase carrying components allow riders to carry nutrition, flat kit and cold weather gear without ruining hard-earned aerodynamic benefits. While models like the Cervelo P5X eTap tri bike might sound more like an at-home workout routine than a bike, this is a bike for the fastest riders that are looking for even more speed.

Long the golden standard in tri bikes (only to be usurped by the radical P5X), the Cervelo P5 Six continues to be be a leader in aerodynamics and overall performance. Designed using Formula 1-level CFD software and refined in the wind tunnel, Cervelo P5 Six is perhaps the winningest time trial and triathlon bike ever since it’s launch. This is thanks partially to it’s aero design; compared to other top-end tri bikes, it saved on average 6-11 watts; it’s design saved even more against tamer bicycles. Further, models like the Cervelo P5 Six Ultegra Di2 have handling that is remarkably docile for such a fast bike, but it’s ultra-high stiffness ensures that every watt put into the drivetrain goes towards forward momentum.

The Cervelo P3 time trial and triathlon bike is Cervelo’s ambassador of speed, as it is among the most popular time trial bikes of all time. It features many of the same aerodynamic features of the Cervelo P5, from the dropped downtube, integrated carbon fork, the curved seattube designed to protect the rear wheel from wind turbulence, to seatstays that move air flow more efficiently than most other aero bikes. The differences here? Slightly higher stack and headtube measurements for greater fit adjustability. It also goes for non-proprietary parts like the cockpit and brakes, making tearing the bike down for travel much easier, and adjustments much more simple. From high-stakes time trials to ultra competitive triathlons, models like the Cervelo P3 Ultegra Di2 are popular for it’s unique combination of user friendliness and outright speed.

Few bikes incite positive memories like the Cervelo P2. Initially introduced in 1996 as one of the first legitimately aero time trial/triathlon bikes on the market, the P2 played a significant role in shaping what the Cervelo name means to people today. Here again it shares numerous technologies with it’s more-endowed siblings; it uses the same frame as the P3, but uses a fork that is easier to produce and slightly less aero. The seat tube angle the bike is based on is 79 degree angle that the P3 and P5 use, but the seat can be set-up substantially steeper or shallower, just like the other bikes. The result is that current Cervelo tri bike frame geometry fits a much wider range of athletes well compared to the past. Combine that with a world-class frame that is easily upgradeable, and there’s plenty of reason as to why the Cervelo P2 105 is such a popular and successful bike.

If you check the transition area of most any triathlon it will seem that three-fifths of the bikes of one generation or another. Cervelo has always offered a high level of aerodynamic performance, a (relatively) comfortable ride, good quality components, and easy packaging for bicycle transport. This continues today with Cervelo’s vast range of time trial and triathlon bikes.

Cervelo Road Bikes

S-Series, R-Series, C-Series

Cervelo bikes are some of the most sought after brands in cycling, as the brand has a reputation for building bikes for some of the fastest riders around. As such, it makes sense that Cervelo also has one of the most expansive lines of performance-oriented road bikes on the market today. Each model, from the industry-leading Cervelo S-Series, the classic road Cervelo R-Series, to the performance-enhancing compliance of the Cervelo C-Series, there is a bike for every situation where speed is a necessity.

The aero road bike concept is something that Cervelo spearheaded in 2002 with the Cervelo Soloist. In the years gone by, other brands have developed models to compete with the Cervelo line, but few have been able to truly compete with the pioneering S-Series line of aero road bikes. Each model features a Dropped Downtube design that places the front wheel closer to the top tube for improved aerodynamics. Models like the Cervelo S3 Ultegra and Cervelo S2 105 aero road bike feature a Partial Seat-tube Cutout that improves airflow around the rear wheel while allowing for 700x25c tire clearance. The Cervelo S5 receives a Full Seat-tube cut out, which adds additional material behind the seat tube without adding weight, all in the name of significantly greater aerodynamics. Models like the Cervelo S5 Dura Ace also receives their Shielding Seat Stay design, which moves air flow around the traditionally-mounted rear brake caliper. Both the S3 & S5 also use their “Built for Bottles” downtube design, which partially integrates bottles into the frame’s aero design. Finally, the new Cervelo S3d melds disc brakes into The S3 is the only aero road bike model from Cervelo that comes with disc brakes, and it’s claimed the discs save about 2 watts over the rim brake version. Regardless of model, each Cervelo S-Series bike is built for free speed without compromise.

The biggest change to Cervelo’s game is the redefinition of the Cervelo R3 & Cervelo R5, as they become technological peers with varying focuses on fit and ride characteristics. The R5 and R3 both have Cervelo’s “Squoval” tube shape, which has been redesigned in what the engineers call the “Squoval Max”; in short it’s Cervelo’s secret sauce of ride quality, weight, stiffness, and aero efficiency. The R5 has a cleanly integrated and hidden seat clamp, and the R3 has a traditional seat collar. With the integrated clamp, the R5 uses a proprietary d-shaped seatpost that cuts weight while adding flex for comfort. Both bikes similarly come in both rim and disc brake models, but that’s about where the similarities end. Models like the Cervelo R5 Dura Ace Di2 9150 are 21% stiffer at the bottom bracket and 13% at the head tube, while the Cervelo R5 Disc Dura Ace Di2 9170 is 18% and 26% stiffer respectively than the previous R5. The new R5 has an 8mm lower stack compared to the R3, while the reach is also 2mm longer. Both the R3 and R5 feature an overall wheelbase that has been extended and a lowered bottom bracket in an effort to increase high-speed cornering stability, while the R3 uses the Dropped Downtube design that places the front wheel closer to the top tube for improved aerodynamics. The Cervelo R2 5800 takes the features (and geometry) of the R3 frameset, and puts in a value-oriented package.

Last but not least in Cervelo’s line of road bikes is the Cervelo C-Series endurance road bike. While few expected the endurance-oriented C-Series, this line of disc brake endurance road bikes was a long time coming. Their goal in making this line was to build performance first bikes that achieved said performance through comfort-enhancing techniques and technologies. Curved seatstays, which were engineered to provide a high vertical deflection, are paired to longer chainstays. Both increase rear wheel smoothness and high-speed stability, as well as accommodating fenders or up to 32c tires. Cervelo aimed to make both models, from the Cervelo C3 Ultegra bike to the Cervelo C5 Ultegra Di2, as efficient as they can be. As such, the C5 line weigh in at just 850g for a 56cm frame – the lightest in its class. It’s handling is relaxed, but it still accelerates quickly and like a bike with the Cervelo name emblazoned on the downtube, and it’s standard disc brakes bring the speeds down with ease. Combine this with by far the best ride quality out of the whole Cervelo line, and the C-Series is a recipe for success.

Cervelo may have started out in the 1990’s with aerodynamics in mind, but their line of road bikes covers everyone looking for outright speed, performance, and top-tier engineering. Each bike aims to make speed easier for the rider, but tackles them in different, yet equally-advanced, directions.

All it takes is one ride

Come talk to one of our Cervelo experts today

At Contender Bicycles, our best tools for selling bikes are the people who ride them. Each of us on staff has extensive experience riding bikes across many brands. Peter Barrett is our expert on Cervelo bikes. If you have any questions regarding a Cervelo road or tri bike, email him at peter@contenderbicycles.com or by phone at Contact Us.

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