Cervélo R5 disc › Masterfully accomplished race bike
Any test that pits the best of the best is going to be a close-run thing, and if you were lucky enough to have any of our six in your life you wouldn’t be disappointed.
The relative ‘bargain’ of the bunch, Cube’s Litening, is a fast bike, both in terms of acceleration responses and handling. It lacks the out-and-out refinement of some of its rivals but it’s a real stunner.
With the Gallium Pro Disc, Argon 18 has once again showed its technical mastery; the chassis is a real achievement in terms of weight, comfort and handling, but in this build spec, it looks pricey.
Cannondale’s rim-braked Evo is the stuff of bike-handling legend, and the Evo Disc mirrors it perfectly, making it one of the most thrilling bikes to ride fast. The competition needed to play catch-up to the Evo’s prowess, which is exactly what both Specialized and Trek have done.
The S-Works Tarmac is one of the very best examples of a modern race bike around; it’s light, quick, smooth and slick, and the high price is tempered by the equipment level – adding a power meter to the spec sheet is a work of genius. Trek’s Émonda is at the bleeding edge of lightweight carbon engineering and it’s a bike that impresses as much on the tarmac as it does on paper.
However, it’s Cervélo’s R5 that takes this test’s top spot; it handles like the Evo, has the smooth ride quality of the Tarmac and comes with the highest levels of equipment to match the best. Surprisingly, especially for Cervélo, it achieves the highest levels of performance for much less cash than its rivals, not that we would in any way call it cheap.
It achieves the highest levels of performance for much less cash than its rivals