Cervélo R5 £8,599 | 7.4kg
CYCLING WEEKLY|January 06, 2022
It’s all gravy when it comes to the new R5, writes Simon Smythe
Simon Smythe

I have renamed this bike the Ahh... 5. Every time I get on it I’m like a Bisto kid whenever the delicious aroma of, erm, instant gravy wafts under his nose. Except the ride quality is far smoother and no matter how dark, thick and meaty Bisto looks, it’s made from potato starch, maltodextrin and palm fat and is suitable for vegetarians. Whereas the R5 is all lean meat.

As for the other part of its name, the 5 – well, obviously that stands for the perfect score I’m giving it.

Frame

The new R5 was finally launched at the end of September after spending most of the season in the WorldTour being ridden to some big victories – including the Vuelta – by Primož RogliÄ and the JumboVisma team alongside the Cervélo S5, the brand’s aero bike.

The new R5 frame is a claimed 130g lighter than the outgoing one, weighing 703g in a size 56cm (painted). The proprietary seatpost and stem are also lighter. Next would usually come a claim about increased stiffness, but according to Cervélo the new R5 is less stiff – and that’s in response to feedback from pro riders, who apparently reported that the old R5 got more uncomfortable as a three-week Grand Tour progressed, particularly at the front end.

Cervélo says its engineers had previously found that a specific ratio between head tube and bottom bracket stiffness equalled the magic formula for ride quality, but they’d never applied it to the R5 since it was a climbing bike and they wanted all-out stiffness.

Yes, it sounds more like a magic marketing ratio for selling bikes, but the actual ride quality backs it up, as we shall see.

The final piece of any bike’s launch story jigsaw is its aerodynamics. Cervélo says altering the tube shapes in order to improve comfort, particularly that of the ‘Squoval Max’ down tube – compromised the R5’s aerodynamics. The newly integrated cockpit mitigates this, it says. There’s also a new fairing behind the fork crown that smooths airflow onto the down tube and the seatpost clamp is hidden under a bung creating a slick-looking ‘fastback’.

Although aerodynamics is not its forte, Cervélo says the new R5 is slightly faster in the wind tunnel than the old one, posting a claimed 25g drag reduction.

PROS & CONS

+ EXCEPTIONAL RIDE QUALITY

+ GREAT HANDLING UP AND DOWN

+ WORLDTOUR LOOKS

+ SRAM SPEC WITH POWER METER

- EXPENSIVE

- NO POWER METER ON SHIMANO SPEC MODELS

Geometry

The top tube/seat tube/seatstay juncture has dropped by 15mm compared to the old R5, making the frame even more compact than before, but Cervélo has left the geometry alone.

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