Cervelo S5 review: A really exciting superbike - Bike Tips

Cervelo S5 evaluate: A extremely thrilling superbike – Bike Ideas

Highlights of the story

  • What it’s:An aero racing bike designed for going quick, racing and slightly extra.
  • Body options:The up to date S5 is less complicated, sooner, lighter than its predecessor, whereas retaining its identifiable design, nose-cone steerer, V-stem and elevated clearance for 700x34mm tires.
  • Weight:8.03 kg (17.7 lb, precise weight, 56 cm with out pedals).
  • Award:$9,000 / £9,199 / €9,699
  • Tops:Thrilling experience, actually quick, stiff, feeling of stability, predictable and precision dealing with.
  • Minimal values:Heavy, costly, simplified, but sophisticated.

They are saying you should not decide a guide by its cowl. If the Cervelo S5 had been a guide, I’m very responsible of this crime.

On paper – as a racer with the softest spots for aero good points and a love of time trials – the S5 must be the one bike for me. It is an ill-conceived race-focused aero bike with greater than a touch of time-drawing body design.

However rightly or wrongly, the most recent iterations of the S5, with its nosecone-like exterior fork steerer, V-stem, steeply sloping high tube and rear-wheel-wrapping seat tube, struck me as a bike-shaped guide higher left on the shelf. Taken in isolation, all however the V-stem would make my coronary heart flutter, however mixed in a single body it was an excessive amount of. Judging the S5 by its cowl alone, it struck me as heavy, overengineered, doubtlessly problematic, and seemed prefer it may experience and deal with as such.

That is the context by which Cervelo despatched over the brand new S5 for evaluate, so I may flip by the pages of Cervelo’s newest guide. Is the brand new S5 unhealthy science fiction or the most recent best-selling novel? Learn on to seek out out.

I’ll soar straight to the final chapter of this evaluate, however earlier than I do, a fast preface. The S5 is a thoroughbred aero racing bike. Cervelo has made zero concessions on consolation, serviceability or ease of use. However given the bike’s “efficiency at any value” raison d’être, I am happy with a lot of the much less sensible design parts on the S5, which I’d in any other case discover fairly jarring in the event that they had been on a much less performance-focused bike. Now with that stated, on to the evaluate.

I like the brand new S5, and if it had been a guide, it must be a Pulitzer Prize favourite or sports activities guide of the 12 months. We already coated the brand new S5’s simplified entrance finish, improved aerodynamics and claimed weight financial savings in my first experience impressions when the brand new S5 was formally launched in July, so the next are all of the the explanation why the S5 was the web page turner I simply could not put down.

After I opened the S5’s entrance hatch and headed out for a experience, the bike rapidly hit me with a narrative that its lid had hidden so effectively. A narrative of fast acceleration, agility, precision dealing with and sheer velocity. The opening paragraphs set the tone for every chapter and experience that follows.

The S5 seems to be heavy, but it surely feels and rides so gentle. It is stiffer than most, however in some way Cervelo has integrated that stiffness into a motorbike that rides extremely easily, little doubt helped by the 28mm tubeless tires I ran at 65-70 psi. It seems to be quick and runs sooner. How briskly? Maybe not probably the most scientific measure, however the first experience on the S5 – regardless of a post-Tour de France health hunch – advised me all I wanted to know.

Scientists and aerodynamicists will inform us that weight issues little on all however probably the most mountainous roads, and mathematically, stiffness has no place within the going-fast equation. However the S5 suggests one thing else.

Weighing in at 8.03kg with out pedals, this can be a heavy responsibility street bike of the very best order, particularly contemplating the value tag. Decide the S5 by its weight at your individual danger. Regardless of what the dimensions says, the S5 seems like a light-weight beneath me, particularly at decrease speeds and acceleration. The one rationalization I can provide is the sheer stiffness of the S5. The primary pedal strokes from a standing begin are like a ahead thrust. Sustained sedentary efforts appear to result in extra velocity and, whether or not uphill or downhill, accelerations really feel like race-winning bursts.

The proprietary handlebars, V-stem and nosecone fork are answerable for contributing to a lot of the S5’s weight acquire, and the entrance finish feels heavier within the hand. However in return, the person parts within the entrance mix to supply exceptional stiffness and seemingly zero flex. This stiffness is most noticeable when attacking out of the saddle and pulling on the bars because the S5 affords a way of ahead propulsion.

That stiffness can be evident when cornering, the place the S5 is enormously confidence-inspiring. I’ve by no means been the quickest of descenders, and even much less now since my leg failure earlier this 12 months. However the S5 impressed and enticed me to go “full ship” on each descent. The steering is exact and predictable, whereas the bike tracks which line you dare to ship it on. Even the sensation of easy straight line velocity is charming. That front-end stiffness and honed Cervelo geometry make for one of the vital thrilling street bikes I’ve laid a leg over. It is as if the additional weight up entrance even improves the experience.

Sure, you learn that proper. I feel the additional weight improves the WorldTour examined Cervelo S5 which prices some huge cash. That stated, I might like to go full weight weenie on the S5 on an infinite funds to match the way it can experience with a lighter weight.


Talking of geometry, Cervelo has nailed the S5s.

If there is a little bit of secret magic to the S5’s geometry, it is the compact measurement that Cervelo has hidden in what in any other case seems to be like an enormous bike. What do I imply? Take the brand new Cervelo Soloist, for instance. The Soloist shares an similar stack, attain and environment friendly high tube with the S5. Moreover, each bikes have 73° seat angles and head tubes inside half a level of one another. However the Soloist is 7mm longer on the middle entrance, the chainstays are additionally 5mm longer, whereas the wheelbase is a whopping 12mm longer, all for a similar measurement 56. I famous how this further size added a way of stability in my evaluate of the brand new Soloist. How then can the abbreviated S5 give the identical sensations?

The straight arrow and laser-precise entrance finish should not be too stunning given the 57mm path determine calculated with the measured 29mm tires fitted to the S5. If the stiffness and weight weren’t sufficient, this monitor determine – typically heralded as the proper stability between stability and agility – solely provides to the dialed-in really feel the S5 affords.

The S5’s shorter chainstays and seat tube near the rear wheel present a lot of the S5 magic. Granted, the S5’s stack and attain are efficient numbers that embody the shorter head tube and requisite V-stem, and the Solist geometry chart does not embody the requisite headset hood. However, crucially, whereas the S5 locations the bars in kind of the identical area in entrance of me, it pulls the entrance wheel again a bit and actually tucks the rear wheel beneath my rear, offering a deep sense of connection. The rear wheel felt prefer it was beneath me, so the facility delivered to it felt prefer it was propelling me ahead.

Cervelo has fitted the S5 with sister model Reserve’s new 53/63 aero wheelset. CyclingTip’s World Know-how Director, James Huang, reviewed these wheels and the know-how behind their improvement at launch in July, so take a look at that evaluate for extra on the wheels themselves.

As for the way they fare on the S5, I discovered that the wheels solely add to the sense of stability that the S5 already affords. Over the course of this evaluate, I attempted 5 totally different wheelsets within the S5, and whereas the bike retains a way of velocity no matter rim depth or weight, the Reserves supply velocity and stability in windy circumstances with a good weight in a smoother experience than I anticipated with the deeper the rim profile. That stated, I did not discover the Reserves to be the stiffest or most responsive wheelset. Among the many wheels I attempted on the S5, that honor must go to the Cadex Extremely 50 or Hunt 60 Limitless UD. However the jury could be very a lot nonetheless out on whether or not elevated wheel stiffness equals higher efficiency or if it simply feels sooner.

You most likely get the purpose by now. I just like the S5. I rode sooner on the S5, most likely partly due to the aerodynamics however most likely extra as a result of I favored the S5 a lot. At all times urging myself to experience more durable and sooner, the temptation to indulge within the S5’s efficiency was typically not possible to disregard.

Nonetheless, the S5 shouldn’t be with out its faults. Once more – whereas I discovered the additional kilogram the S5 carries wasn’t that noticeable – many will moderately count on a lighter construct on this hefty worth vary.

On that word, whereas the brand new Ultegra Di2 is exceptionally good, since when is it okay for an Ultegra spec bike to value a whopping £9,200? Whereas I can not pin all of the blame for the rising value of different model parts on Cervelo, the ever-rising value of bikes worries me. We’re merely making our sport inaccessible to numerous riders.

Then there’s that entrance. Sure, it is simplified, with a single bolt size for all spacers and customarily fewer components, but it surely nonetheless limits match adjustability and, in fact, altering shank lengths might be a ache. To Cervelo’s credit score, they’ve constructed extra adjustability into the brand new stem-to-handlebar interface, and the brake hoses now run externally beneath the handlebars. But they’re led internally by the tribe.

To be trustworthy, I am happy with that. The S5 is an unequivocally race-focused aerobike, or in different phrases, the one place I can settle for efficiency taking absolute priority over serviceability. Sorry mechanics.

I’ve a dispute concerning the width of the handlebars. Provided that the S5 sacrifices weight, adjustability and value, all within the title of aero and efficiency good points, it appears odd to not spec the bike with slimmer bars as commonplace. My 56cm evaluate bike got here outfitted with 42cm handlebars (cc). On paper, narrower bars ought to supply improved aerodynamics and thus be extra consistent with the opposite performance-focused interventions on the S5. When pressed on bar width, Cervelo stated that based mostly on match knowledge from riders on the Jumbo-Visma, the pattern towards narrower bars is not as widespread as we predict. Nonetheless, no matter World Tour bike match traits, narrower bars typically make for sooner riders.

Talking of bar measurement, the HB14 S5 bars are in any other case a refreshingly near-classic, race-focused handlebar with 80mm of attain and a middle depth of 128mm of drop on the spherical teardrop form. Whereas not extraordinarily aggressive, the bars provided me loads of positional differentiation from hoods to drops, one thing that is not all the time the case with some bars.

Cervelo has elevated the tire clearance as much as 34 mm on the brand new S5. I do not want to enter the various advantages that wider tires supply, however I ponder if including a lot capability to a pure aero bike compromises the potential aero good points that Cervelo has already compromised a lot – however so effectively – in pursuit of. The elevated clearance solely will increase the hole between tire and body with the 28mm tires that almost all S5 riders will most likely select more often than not. For me, 30mm of clearance is sufficient on a devoted aero race bike.

That stated, once I requested Cervelo if 34mm was overly beneficiant for an aero street bike just like the S5, I’ve to confess their response suggesting I strive the S5 on some grime roads with 33mm CX tires was an appetizing prospect. Would I drive my very own S5 that I purchased and paid for on grime roads? In all probability not. Will I experience the Cervelos S5 on grime roads at their suggestion? Completely.

Whereas I like the S5, I am not suggesting it is good for all riders. It is as soon as once more an aero race bike, and it is really a motorbike for many who worth efficiency above all else. It is stiff, the match geometry is aggressive, it refuses to do restoration or endurance rides, it is heavy, it is costly, and the matte and gloss black paint does not do it for me.

The miracle of this bike is that regardless of all these items I can not cease eager about it. Given the selection, there is not a single day of the week I do not take the S5.

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