£9699 › A rad­i­cally new ap­proach to aero­dy­nam­ics

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

Cervélo should take the lion’s share of credit for the aero­road bike genre. Its orig­i­nal alu­minium Soloist was aero-shaped back in the Cana­dian com­pany’s early days. The Soloist has since be­come just S, and we’re now see­ing the fourth gen­er­a­tion of its flag­ship aero road ma­chine, the S5.

The new S5 looks like a step into the fu­ture and is rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent to its im­me­di­ate com­pe­ti­tion. The po­ten­tial com­plex­ity of its unique front end – the new fork doesn’t have a tra­di­tional steerer – didn’t faze us once we’d had chance to in­spect it and run through the fit­ting; in fact, once you’ve bought the bike and had your dealer set it up we’d ex­pect it to be trou­ble free.

Aside from the rad­i­cal de­sign, which also in­cludes a time trial-like cut in on the rear wheel and the dropped down-tube that acts as a shield for the trail­ing edge of the front wheel, where the S5 dif­fers from its pre­vi­ous mod­els is just how taut it feels. The pre­vi­ous model had a bit of flex you could feel when cor­ner­ing on the limit or sprint­ing. None of that is present here.

Cervélo claims that it’s upped the ante when it comes to bot­tombracket stiff­ness (a 25 per cent in­crease) and head-tube stiff­ness (13 per cent), and it’s some­thing you can cer­tainly feel. The S5 just goes where you point it – no fuss, no drama, just su­perb con­trol.

Shape-wise the S5 is an ag­gres­sive bike. Steep head and seat an­gles and a low stack and long reach (on our 58cm) mean you’re in a po­si­tion to at­tack. Don’t let that put you off, though, as de­spite the ag­gres­sive po­si­tion, the ex­cel­lent Prol­ogo Di­men­sion sad­dle and bril­liant new com­bi­na­tion of the AB08 bar and V-stem bal­ance each other per­fectly and do a bril­liant job of nulling vi­bra­tions from rough roads. It’s not in the same league as the se­ri­ously

The S5 looks like a step into the fu­ture and is rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent than its com­pe­ti­tion

smooth Trek Madone, but com­pared to older aero bikes it’s out­stand­ing.

The build is ex­actly what you’d ex­pect at this price. Shi­mano Du­raAce Di2 and 9170 hy­draulics han­dle the brak­ing – the same setup as the Madone – and here it works just as well. We like that Cervélo opted to com­bine a 52/36 chain­ring up front with a wide 11-30 cas­sette, as we never found our­selves lack­ing for a gear, whether de­scend­ing at speed or climb­ing su­per-steep gra­di­ents.

The ENVE 5.6 wheels com­bine a deep 64mm rear with a slightly shal­lower 54mm front, and wear 25mm Con­ti­nen­tal GP4000S IIs, which come up sig­nif­i­cantly wider on these rims. We were im­pressed with the ENVE’s smooth run­ning and abil­ity to gain speed quickly and hold it well. They’re a fine match for a chas­sis that seems to gain mph with such ease. That said, we ex­pe­ri­enced greater wind in­flu­ence from strong cross­winds on the front wheel than ei­ther the KNOT64 of Can­non­dale’s Sys­temSix, the Bon­trager on the Trek and the Ro­val Spe­cial­ized’s Venge is run­ning.

The S5’s han­dling is the stand­out char­ac­ter­is­tic, blend­ing su­perbly sharp re­sponses with smooth sta­bil­ity at speed. If you put in the ef­fort the S5 is a per­sonal-best de­stroy­ing mis­sile.

It’s a pricey propo­si­tion, and the sharp han­dling, firm yet com­fort­able ride and rad­i­cal looks might not be to ev­ery­one’s taste, but the S5 is a won­der­ful glimpse into the fu­ture of aero bike de­sign.

Be­low Cervélo’s aero bar is a thing of beauty Bot­tom The cut­away seat-tube shel­ters Enve’s SES wheels for drag-re­duc­ing ben­e­fits

HIGHS Rare com­bi­na­tion of ride, han­dling and im­mense speed po­ten­tial LOWS Its looks may di­vide opin­ion BUY IF You want a taste of the fu­ture of aero bike de­sign now, and you’ve got cash to spare If you put in the ef­fort, the S5 is a per­sonal-best de­stroy­ing mis­sile

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