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.