New Cervélo R Se­ries De­signed Just Right

Choose be­tween the R5 or R3 for the best per­for­mance and com­fort for you

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Daniel Walker

Choose be­tween the R5 or R3 for the best per­for­mance and com­fort for you

We were churn­ing our cranks up the hills of the Imagna Val­ley in north­ern Italy, all rid­ing new Cervélo R5s. I was work­ing hard on the nine per cent climb while try­ing to take in the im­pres­sive scenery when Di­men­sion Data’s Omar Fraile pow­ered ahead of me, ped­alling with one foot un­clipped. I, of course, know that pros are strong. But watch­ing the win­ner of Stage 11 of this year’s Giro d’italia – also on the new R5 – blow past me up­hill on a Giro rest-day ride put things into a strik­ing clar­ity.

I wasn’t in Italy to gawk at the pros. I was there to pre­view Cervélo’s new rac­ing ma­chine through some of the coun­try’s most stun­ning ter­rain. The hills and val­leys north­west of Berg­amo were the per­fect spot to test the new­est climb­ing bikes from the Toronto-based man­u­fac­turer. True to its legacy, the lat­est ver­sion of the R5 is spritely, stiff and a whole lot of fun to ride. That doesn’t mean that this it­er­a­tion will leave you with a sore back and tight ham­strings as it is a re­fined racer. Cervélo’s en­gi­neers wanted to cre­ate some­thing that was com­fort­able enough to dis­ap­pear be­neath you but still per­form well.

Cervélo ad­justed the ge­om­e­try to give the new R5 a more ag­gres­sive po­si­tion. De­sign­ers low­ered the stack and the head-tube height, which al­low you to get low. The com­pany also in­creased the stiff­ness at the bot­tom bracket by 13 per cent and at the head tube by 21 per cent. Bal­anc­ing these changes, though, are a low­ered bot­tom bracket and chain­stays that were ex­tended to 410 mm. Those mod­i­fi­ca­tions cre­ate a bike that han­dles with calm con­fi­dence.

Af­ter an­other climb that went up 8.9 km, I got to cash in that el­e­va­tion gain with the de­scent that fol­lowed. Here, the ad­just­ments made to the frame re­ally shine. Sweep­ing through tight hair­pin bends, the bike’s sta­bil­ity gave me the con­fi­dence to snatch a few looks at my sur­round­ings and bank the mem­o­ries of the deep val­ley and its walls.

That feel­ing of sta­bil­ity is by de­sign. Gra­ham Shrive, an en­gi­neer­ing project man­ager at Cervélo, says the R5 has an in­creased amount of trail, the con­tact patch im­me­di­ately be­hind the steer­ing axis, which is cru­cial for cre­at­ing this feel­ing. Shrive, who can delve deeply into the facets of each bike, de­tailed the im­por­tance of trail. “A rider re­lies on the restor­ing torque of the tire, which, on the road, works to keep the front wheel run­ning straight,” he said. “With more trail, the rider has more lever­age over this restor­ing torque. With that lever­age comes a more con­fi­dent sense of con­trol.”

As for how the bike climbs, Fraile not only showed me on that rest-day ride, but the day be­fore, he also told me, “On the climbs, it just goes up.”

Fi­nally, there’s com­fort. “It’s a bike that still feels great two weeks into a Grand Tour,” Shrive said. It was great to see all-day com­fort and rac­ing per­for­mance worked into one model, a com­bi­na­tion that’s al­ways been part of the R Se­ries.

It wasn’t just the R5 that got a re­fresh. Cervélo felt the R3 wasn’t keep­ing up with the mar­ket in terms of weight or stiff­ness. On the new R3, the frame weight is down 10 per cent to 916 g, while it now has the stiff­ness val­ues of the pre­vi­ous R5. The ge­om­e­try of the new R3 re­mains the same as the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion of the R Se­ries. Cervélo wanted to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the two new mod­els not just by cost and com­po­nen­try but ac­cord­ing to the type of rider each model was meant for. The R5 is for the pro rider who has the flex­i­bil­ity to de­liver power in even the most aero­dy­namic po­si­tions. The R3 is for the Tues­day-night racer who is also go­ing to go out for long rides with friends on week­ends.

Dur­ing my time in Italy, I had the chance to ride both the new R5 and R3. Both were great, but each one felt dis­tinct. Switch­ing back and forth be­tween bikes re­ally demon­strated con­trasts in ge­ome­tries. The R3 is fun and fast, but also al­lows most mor­tals (that is, non-pros) to find po­si­tions that are com­fort­able for all-day rides. While my po­si­tion on the R5 was still com­fort­able, it was cer­tainly more ag­gres­sive than on the R3. I be­came acutely aware of my poor flex­i­bil­ity. Soon af­ter, I was look­ing up yoga stu­dios I could visit af­ter re­turn­ing home.

On whichever model is more suited to you, you’ll find many brak­ing op­tions. Both will be avail­able in disc or rim vari­ants. You’ll also have your choice of Shi­mano or sram op­tions. The R5 will be avail­able with Dura-ace Di2 9150 and sram Red E-tap, both re­tail­ing (for rim or disc brakes) at $11,500. The Dura-ace 9100 (rim) will be avail­able for $9,100. The R3 also in­cludes a Dura-ace rim-brake op­tion that will cost $6,500, along with Ul­te­gra 8070 Di2 ($6,700 with disc brakes, $6,000 with rim brakes) and Ul­te­gra 8000 ($4,700) me­chan­i­cal groupsets. The R5 and R3 Dura-ace mod­els will be avail­able this sum­mer, with the R3 Ul­te­gra mod­els rolling out in the au­tumn.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.