Cervélo’s C3 and C5 - carbon disc bikes built for rough roads and long rides

Not all endurance bikes were developed for the demands of professional cycling. Cervélo, the Canadian brand best known for pioneering aerodynamic road bikes like the S5, bikes expressly developed for winning races, entered the endurance category for the first time with the C3 and C5, and let us tell you, we were shocked at first.

But when we examine the C3 and C5 more closely, we realise Cervélo has taken its usual precise engineering approach and developed a bike that has all the credentials we look for in an endurance bike. It's a bike designed to take on the Cannondale Synapse and Trek Domane, two of the best and our favourite endurance bikes right now.

The carbon fibre frame is light, stiff and thanks to the slender rear stays and skinny fork, designed to smother bumps and holes in the road. Add in clearance for up to 32mm tyres, mudguard eyelets for winter training, disc brakes for easy stopping and a more relaxed geometry than one of its race bikes, and you have a recipe for success. It's also a versatile bike; you could set it up for winter training with mudguards and pile on the miles, or you could ride the Paris-Roubaix Challenge or Etape.

Endurance bikes are all about offering more comfort and relaxed riding positions than race bikes, which usually demand a fair amount of flexibility to adopt a low and stretched position, and frames optimised to maximum power transfer stiffness.

The Cervélo has a few neat tricks up its sleeves. A tall head tube eliminates the necessity for a stack of headset spacers, the bottom bracket is lower and the wheelbase longer for greater stability, and a slacker head angle and increased fork offset produces secure and predictable steering. These are changes aimed at making the Cervélo a very secure bike on rough roads, long rides and even gravel tracks.

While it's not designed as a gravel bike, there's a bashguard on the down tube to protect the carbon from rock strikes, so you know, if you do want to ride dirt tracks and gravel roads, well you can do.

All those changes and Cervélo's carbon fibre know-how has resulted in a frame weight of just 840g for the higher grade C5, making it one of the lightest disc-equipped carbon endurance bikes you can buy. With a decent groupset and a few new parts, a sub-7kg complete bike weight is a real possibility. That's knocking on the door of many race bikes!

Spot the difference!

The C3 (left) and C5

If you're confused about the difference between the C5 and C3, it really just comes down to the carbon fibre grade use. The C5 is the lighter and more expensive version with high-grade carbon fibre and that astonishing 840g frame weight. The C3 is practically identical but uses a different grade of carbon fibre to bring the price down with a small increase in frame weight.

The Cervélo C5 frameset costs £2,999, the C3 costs £2,299, and we can help you build your dream bike starting with either frame.

If you prefer a fully built bike, we can offer a Cervélo C3 with Shimano Ultegra for £2,999, Cervélo C3 with Ultegra Di2 for £3,899, or a Cervélo C5 with Ultegra Di2 for £4,699.

Interested? Give us a call (02077961263), pop into a Bespoke store, or drop us an email - we're ridden all these bikes, and are always happy to advise - Contact Us