The rider’s ride
Cervélo C5, £6,199, derby-cycle.com
Gravel grinder, adventure bike… call it what you will, but the C5 is Cervélo’s answer to the demand for an ‘all-road’ machine. However, keeping it true to the brand’s racing heritage, Cervélo designed the C5 to be less pack horse, more thoroughbred, making it perfect for the Chilterns’ undulating tarmac.
‘The C5 is as stiff as our R5 but more comfortable,’ says brand manager Jürgen Kallnbach. That racy stiffness is evident both when you cast an eye over the huge bottom bracket shell, which houses Cervélo’s proprietary Bbright bottom bracket system, and when you put power into the pedals. The lower half of the bike is unwavering under hard efforts, so I was able to shoot forward on the flat and could rest assured that none of my energy was wasted grinding up the Chiltern’s many ramps.
The stiffness created by the considerable chainstays, bottom bracket and down tube is balanced by the comfort afforded by the elegant seatstays and 28mm Continental tyres. Additional comfort comes from a generous amount of exposed seatpost, which filtered out the worst of the occasionally broken roads, while the large tyres made the bike feel planted, with no discernable speed penalty.