Triathlon Magazine Canada - - DEPARTMENTS - BY KEVIN MACKIN­NON

Cross Coun­try

IT’S RE­ALLY HARD to de­fine the best fea­tures of Cervélo’s P5. An in­cred­i­bly aero­dy­namic frame is com­bined with a han­dle­bar de­signed specif­i­cally by Cervélo’s engi­neers to cre­ate a com­pletely cus­tom­iz­a­ble po­si­tion. Cervélo worked with Magura to come up with hy­draulic brakes that are sim­ply sec­ond to none in terms of aero­dy­nam­ics and per­for­mance. For the most part the bike uses stan­dard parts, which al­lows you to throw on your own bars, stem, han­dle­bars … well, pretty much any­thing you’d like to cus­tom­ize on the bike. Bike fit­ters love this frame be­cause they can set peo­ple up to be in the su­per-aero­dy­namic po­si­tion Cervélo’s P4 al­lowed, or as high as a newby or less flex­i­ble ath­lete might have gone with Cervélo’s P2 frame to get.

So we won’t even try to come up with the best fea­ture on this aero su­per bike. We’ll just be happy to ac­knowl­edge that the sum of all the en­gi­neer­ing parts is what makes the P5 one of the sleek­est tri or TT bikes on the mar­ket right now.

Ger­ard Vroomen and Phil White started Cervélo more than 20 years ago as part of a master’s the­sis. The goal was to cre­ate an in­cred­i­bly aero­dy­namic bike. The P5 Six that ar­rived at the Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada of­fice is the re­sult of years and years of in­no­va­tion, aero­dy­namic test­ing, en­gi­neer­ing de­sign and, well, plain hard work from what is now a group of engi­neers who are de­ter­mined to cre­ate the world’s fastest bikes. I’m not go­ing to get into the nitty gritty de­tails on whether or not this is the fastest out there, but I have no qualms say­ing it’s amongst the fastest, with­out a doubt.

It all starts, of course, with the aero­dy­namic car­bon fi­bre frame that fea­tures the ex­tended seat tube cut out we’re used to see­ing on Cervélo frames (well, ever since the P3, any­way) and com­pletely hid­den ca­bles to en­sure that aero­dy­namic drag is min­i­mal­ized. The beefy down tube en­sures that the any energy that’s put into the bot­tom bracket will move the rider ahead. When you’re rid­ing this frame you re­ally feel like all your energy goes into mov­ing you for­ward. The “Six” des­ig­na­tion for the P5 we re­viewed in­di­cates that it’s a triathlon spe­cific bike, which means it can uti­lize a thicker, more aero­dy­namic fork than can be used for road cy­cling – twice as thick, ac­tu­ally, than the 3:1 length to width ra­tio road­ies have to ad­here to.

Ev­ery­thing that’s at­tached to the frame is de­signed to cheat the wind on this bike. The 3T Ar­duro han­dle­bars of­fer lots of ad­just­ment op­tions so you can dial in the op­ti­mal fit to en­sure you’ll be both aero and com­fort­able. This is a huge boon for triath­letes in gen­eral, but even more so for Iron­man ath­letes who will be try­ing to stay in the aero po­si­tion for five to eight hours. The hid­den Magura brakes are sim­ply amaz­ing. Typ­i­cally rear brakes tucked in be­hind the bot­tom bracket don’t pro­vide much stop­ping power. That’s hardly the case here – the hy­draulic brakes do an amaz­ing job.

The P5 Six we re­viewed came with Dura Ace Di2, which pro­vides ex­cel­lent shift­ing and per­for­mance. One draw­back, though, was that there are no shifters on the brakes – shift­ing can only be done at the bar ends. My guess is that the shifters aren’t com­pat­i­ble with the Magura brake levers and, if I had to choose be­tween those in­cred­i­ble brakes and be­ing able to shift while my hands were near the levers, I would take the brakes ev­ery time. Be­sides, this bike is re­ally de­signed for you to be able to get into the aero po­si­tion and stay there.

Cervélo rounds out the pack­age with Hed Jet 6 Plus SCT wheels and Ro­tor aero cranks which cer­tainly con­tinue the aero­dy­namic and high-per­for­mance feel of the bike.

Cervélo’s engi­neers spent a ton of time mak­ing sure that the P5 Six al­lows for the “in­te­gra­tion of the rider to the frame.” I think they’ve done a good job of that. The bike han­dles re­ally well for climbs, des­cents and corners. Are you go­ing to want to ride this for a tech­ni­cal group ride? No. Are you go­ing to want to ride this dur­ing your next Iron­man? Ab­so­lutely.

“Se­ri­ously Spec­tac­u­lar”

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