Why do we love Cervelo so much at The Tri Store? I have to say that I think one of the biggest reasons apart from the fact that we all love to ride the bikes is Brainbike. What is Brainbike? It’s their annual dealer training presentation which they host somewhere a bit warmer than the UK before the beginning of the season.
I was fortunate to head to Fuertevntura in the Canary Islands to attend Brainbike this year which coincided with the launch of the new Cervelo P5. Now, taking a dealer to warmer climes and letting them ride your bikes during the day before feeding them good food and cold beer in the evening is bound to make you talk favourably about a brand. But it’s not this that makes me feel so positively about their products. It’s the fact that they are prepared as a company to speak directly with dealers about the frames and the reasoning behind virtually everything they do to make them so competitive. I’m hoping to pass on some of this information over the coming weeks but I’m going to begin by posting a series of updates on the P5 and the main features of the frame.
The Cervelo P3C is perhaps the most successful time trial/triathlon bike in history. When Cervelo released the P4 it was finally surpassed as the fastest frame on the market. The P4 didn’t sell as well as anticipated. Why? I can only speak as one dealer on the subject but I think it was mainly because the frame didn’t represent enough of a departure from the P3C to warrant the price difference (initially £1300). The P5 is a significantly different frame.
Firstly, it fits a wider range of riders. The P2C has always been a great bike for first-time TT/tri riders due to it’s versatile fit. The P3C has suited those looking to go lower which is great if you can get into that position but hasn’t necessarily suited long distance athletes. The P5 offers a great solution even to those riding Ironman or long TTs. A faster position is only faster if the athlete can stay in the aero position and the new geometry should help with that. Coupled with a lower bottom bracket for reduced drag and improved handling, it really would seem that Cervelo have thought of every detail to make this frame faster and better.
The frame is stiffer and lighter than the rest of the Cervelo P bikes. It benefits from the Project California project which produced the R5CA, the lightest frame we have ever handled. It’s still compatible with standard headset parts, brake calipers, bottles and bars. As you learn the benefits of these parts you may not wish to use standard parts but the option is there. The BBright chainset is a first on a Cervelo tri bike. Again, you don’t have to use it (the biggest stiffness gains from BBright are in the frame so it’s not entirely necessary to run BBright) but when you’re buying the World’s fastest frame you should take every advantage surely?
The cable routing has been improved to reduce friction, meaning better shifting. It should (I’ll qualify this when we build one) be easier to cable for mechanics.
It’s more aero – the frame has been designed to allow for the different airflow in each zone of the bike (aerobar, headtube, downtube and rear of the bike) and most importantly, Cervelo claim that the P5 will result in less drag on the rider – when 88% of your effort is purely to overcome wind resistance and most of your drag is caused by the rider and not the bike, that could be a huge factor. The frame also showcases the incredible new Magura RT8 hydraulic brake. It works in conjunction with the frame and even sits beneath a shroud on the tri frame to reduce drag whilst also improving braking power and modulation, meaning you can shave further seconds off by braking later and also reducing fatigue when braking on long descents. Add virtually zero maintenance and this seems to be a fantastic addition.
The tri version of the frame also comes with a wider fork and a wider profile headtube and seatpost to take advantage of the improved aerodynamics. Another advantage for triathletes should come from the new ComfortPly layup which claims to be more vertically compliant and leave you with fresher legs for the run.
The result is that Cervelo claim this frame has between 6 and 11 grams less drag than any other “Superbike”, resulting in a 30 seconds improvement over 40km. So, if you’re looking for the maximum effect from a large investment in a superbike, this bike has to be on your list.
View the Cervélo P5