Updating a legend
I have spent a reasonable amount of time on the Cervelo S5,
which is the iconic aero road bike. However the bike I was most
keen to ride was the R5 which is their flagship stage racing bike.
The R5 needs little introduction, having dominated the Pro Tour
since its launch. For 2017 it has been completely redesigned, and
is launched as a caliper and a Disc version for the first time
I rode the eTap caliper version; which comes with SRAM etap,
Cervelo's own bar, stem and post and Zipp 302 wheels. A very
compelling package for £7199.
For the same price you can get the DI2 version with Enve 3.4s -
and comparing the price of the individual items I believe the Di2
build is the better buy. It really depends on if you are a Di2 or
an eTap fan
Whatever spec you buy you will own a peach of a bike. It's
the perfect stage racing bike. Cervelo have accomplished the very
impressive task of improving a legendary bike is almost every
metric (both tangible and intangible).It looks great, is light,
stiff and rides beautifully. And Cervelo have made aero gains as
well. Its deeply impressive stuff. You are aware you are riding a
bike designed by engineers at the very top of their game
A handsome beast
The bike to my eyes looks stunning in the flesh. The tube
shaping is very dramatic; and it looks squat and purposeful. The
eTap version is Black/Fluro and the the fluro highlights really pop
against the matt black.
More aggressive geo
The R5 is 8mm lower, and 2mm longer in a 56 than vefore. The BB
is also 4mm lower. All of this is sure to please the Pro riders who
will race on this bike for a living. Us mortals get the benefit as
well though; on my rides with it it felt wonderfully well
Lighter and stiffer
It will not surprise you to hear that Cervelo claim the new R5
is both lighter and stiffer than before. new R5 rim brake model is
21% stiffer at the bottom bracket and 13% at the head tube. The
weight of the caliper frame is a claimed 850g (which is very
impressive in isolation but does lag behind the superlight Emonda
SLR) and 831g for the disc brake version. Not a typo - the disc
brake frame is actually lighter.
Like the excellent new Tarmac, Cervelo has made some aero gains
on its classic stage race bike. The S5 is still Cervelo's aero road
platform. But the R5 has a few clever features in tube shaping and
the proprietary seatpost that mean it loses 44gms of drag vs
The big trend over the last couple of years has been the wide
rim/wide tyre movement. The easiest way to see when a bike was
designed is to see how wide tyres it can take, and if its less than
27mm then chances are the frame design is 'old'... The last Gen R5
could only take a 25mm tyre, the new model ups that to 28mm, so its
bang on trend.
How does it ride?
In the three weeks I have had the bike, I have ridden it
extensively and loved every ride together. Its just a classic stage
race bike - and does everything well. As light as you will ever
need, and as stiff as you will ever need. But that's minor praise;
as at this level all bikes should hit that...
What was most impressive was the ride quality and the handling -
it was a bike that you would set off on a 2hr ride and come back 4
hrs later. I can imagine this bike on a European sportive would be
an absolute weapon.
Cornering and descending is a joy, handling is super
How does it compare to the new S-Works Tarmac that I love? Its
hard to answer; I will need more time to compare them back to back.
I think its very close though - these are probably the two most
impressive bikes I have ridden in 2017. The main winner is us
riders - the standard of bikes is now astonishingly high and the
big boys are slugging it out to ever improve them to our