The New Cervélo S5

The new Cervélo S5, the com­pany’s flag­ship aero road bike, zips along the roads of Spain

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Daniel Walker

The com­pany’s flag­ship aero road bike zips along the roads of Spain

When four-time African cham­pion Ash­leigh Mool­man Pa­sio waved me to the front, I should have known bet­ter. The long straight sec­tion just out­side Bany­oles, Spain, seemed like the per­fect road to stretch my legs and the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the new Cervélo S5. What I didn’t know was this bit of road al­ways has a head­wind. Of course, I tried to play it cool like I wasn’t work­ing hard but even with all the aero gains on the new frame, I was go­ing into power zones I don’t usu­ally like to touch on press trips. You can see changes made to the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the S5 eas­ily. Up front, the Y-shape stem fun­nels air through its two arms and along the top tube, in­stead of cre­at­ing tur­bu­lent air that trav­els over the stem. This fea­ture with the re­designed tube shapes at the down tube and seat­stays help give 42 g of drag sav­ings over the pre­vi­ous ver­sion of the S5. The new bar-and-stem combo also helps ad­dress some of the prob­lems of keep­ing shift and brake ca­bles com­pletely hid­den. The Y-shape is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for rout­ing me­chan­i­cal shift ca­bles in­ter­nally: the gen­tler bends min­i­mize fric­tion on those ca­bles. Tra­di­tion­ally, the shifter ca­bles run into the frame at the down tube. On the Cervélo S5, ev­ery­thing stays in­ter­nal from the hoods all the way to the de­railleurs and brake calipers. While aero gains are great, they need to match with a bike that’s com­fort­able to ride. With­out that com­fort, you won’t be able to push those watts and take full ad­van­tage of the wind-cheat­ing fea­tures. At the bike’s launch, mem­bers of Cervélo’s team spoke about match­ing the stiff­ness with changes to the ge­om­e­try that make the bike more bal­anced. Even though the car­bon layup is 13 per cent stiffer at the head tube and 25 per cent stiffer at the bot­tom bracket com­pared with the pre­vi­ous model, the lower bot­tombracket drop and an in­creased trail value of 57.1 mm en­sure that the bike han­dles con­fi­dently but with­out feel­ing twitchy at the front end. On the road, the bike was no­tice­ably more com­fort­able to ride than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of S5; road buzz and bumps were more muted. The bike felt fast, too. Be­yond what you see on your head unit, it’s hard to de­scribe what fast feels like. But this bike never seemed to want to slow down. Main­tain­ing your speed on this bike feels ef­fort­less. The top-notch build helps with Enve ses 5.6 wheels and a full Shi­mano Dura-ace groupset, but all those aero­dy­namic re­fine­ments un­doubt­edly do their part as well. I cer­tainly didn’t gain a few watts on the ftp com­ing off a plane. But I no­ticed it was eas­ier to keep an av­er­age speed of 3 or 4 km/h higher than nor­mal. The hard­est part of giv­ing back a su­per bike is know­ing you have to go back home to rid­ing your nor­mal bike. But it’s easy to love that next new and ex­cit­ing thing, es­pe­cially when you’re rid­ing on some of Eu­rope’s best roads. The true test will be when I get it back on my home roads for fur­ther re­view­ing, in my reg­u­lar group ride, dodg­ing my reg­u­lar Canada-size pot­holes.

“Main­tain­ing your speed on this bike feels ef­fort­less.”

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