New Cervélo R5: first trip on Jumbo-Visma’s climbing bike

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The new Cervélo R5 dangled in front of us all year round and had a season of breathtaking victories among greats like Primoz Roglic and Wout Van Aert, while we journalists could only take pictures and speculate.

It’s not the way bike starts usually happen, but it’s a surefire way to build tension. In addition, a new bike that already has impressive palmares that include Grand Tour victories, which, along with the Cervélo S5 aerobike, was one of two bikes to win the Vuelta, is more race-proven than most.

We got all the details of the new climbing bike a few weeks ago – all in my introductory story – and I was finally able to ride the new R5 just before the embargo was lifted.

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

Visually, the new Cervélo R5 does not differ radically from the old one. Cervélo did not follow the herd and dropped the seat stays. The lime / black paint finish even emphasizes that the top tube merges directly into the seat stays.

The seat tube cluster itself, however, has a lower profile, with Cervélo bringing the seat post wedge inside under a rubber cover to achieve an alleged aerodynamic improvement thanks to the “Fastback” design.

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

The connection between the top tube / seat tube / seat stays has also decreased by 15 mm, which makes the R5 frame even more compact. Cervélo explained that a compact frame is both stiffer and lighter – something Giant first introduced with the TCR in the 1990s and apparently interesting to see.

In terms of weight, Cervélo claims 703 g for size 56, painted. This is 130 g lighter than the outgoing R5 frame.

The seat stays themselves are still incredibly thin – more pipe cleaner than pencil. However, as Steven Kruiswijk demonstrated at the Tour de France after one of his seat stays broke off in an accident and he apparently ended the stage unnoticed, they play a minimal role in the structure of the motorcycle.

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

The down tube, on the other hand, is huge, but not quite as huge as the ‘Squoval Max’ down tube of the predecessor R5. It’s not that easy to see with the naked eye, but Cervélo Engineering Manager Scott Roy told me that reducing the cross-section and thus the torsional stiffness of this tube helps make the front end of the R5 “more livable”.

The redesigned fork plays another crucial role in improving the driving experience at the front. Feedback from professionals and consumers told Cervélo that the R5 was a bit tough up front, especially towards the end of a Grand Tour. The Canadian brand says Tom Dumoulin, who drove the R5 with Sunweb and switched to Jumbo-Visma again this year, spoke very loudly about it.

The new R5 fork has slightly deeper blades than the previous one: Roy said lateral stiffness was retained while longitudinal stiffness was reduced through a combination of tubular shapes and carbon layup.

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

The fork also has a lip area behind the fork crown, which Cervélo calls the “chin”: This is supposed to clean the air flow at the transition from fork and head tube to the down tube. The reason for this is that the new R5 was originally not as aerodynamically efficient as the down tube is smaller with a differently shaped leading edge. Cervélo says that chin piece, fastback seat stays, and newly hidden cables all account for the watt loss of the newly formed downtube, and claims the new R5 is actually a bit faster in the wind tunnel.

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

Most watts are probably saved in the integrated cockpit. You can find more details on internal guidance through the handlebars, stem and head tube – and the reasons for this – in the launch story.

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

And finally, all four series of the Cervélo R5 roll on the new Reserve 34/37 wheels, which have differential rim profiles and a mini-hook (they are not completely hookless), resulting in a low weight of around 1,300, according to Cervélo. helps g.

Our demo bike was equipped with SRAM Force eTap AXS which was £ 8,599 / 8,400, the cheapest version in USD but the second lowest in GBP (SRAM is cheaper in the US market). It’s worth noting that the two SRAM styles get power meter chain sets while the two Shimano chain sets don’t.

The weight is pretty impressive at 74kg. With a frame weight of 130g by 703g, says Cervélo, it’s easy to get this bike down to the UCI minimum weight of 6.8kg.

The Cervélo R5 is all about getting on and off. For speed on the flat there is the Cervélo S5.

So I made my way to two of Surrey’s most famous climbs – Leith Hill and Box Hill – over a series of winding trails with lots of potholes that are naturally interspersed with slippery asphalt stretches. My goal was to take over a bit of everything from the R5.

Cervélo talked a lot – almost exclusively in our webinar – about making the front-end convenience perfect, but I was immediately impressed with how incredibly plush the rear is.

This is undoubtedly aided by the longer seat post thanks to the 15mm lower top tube / seat tube connection, but the D-shaped seat post itself is incredibly flexible lengthways. On a big bump, I would estimate that I got up to 10mm of travel and a heavier rider could get even more.

My ride starts with a short, steep hill which I think gives an instant indication of the climbing feel of a bike. The R5 rose with every step of the pedal as only the lightest, stiffest bikes can.

When I checked out four £ 5K bikes earlier this year, my fitness was at a higher level, in part because I had repeatedly ridden them up Leith Hill – no Strava segment busting stats. However, there were only a few seconds in the uphill segments, which surprised me in view of my slower second half of the season.

I’m still in a good position to make some quick runs though, if you know what I mean and in fact I bagged a couple of PRs that came down from Coldharbour. Downhill runs are perfect for giving an idea of ​​the stiffness or lack of front end and I found the R5 super direct. It was my colleague Michelle Arthurs-Brennan who drove the previous R5 and, unlike Tom Dumoulin, she didn’t find it too tough. For me, any stiffer front than the new R5 would be too stiff, which suggests to me that Cervélo did it right.

The final section of Leith Hill is very steep with a few bends which, if you are unsure of how to handle your bike, will need to be braked. At this point in the ride I was already completely confident in the R5, so I let go of the brakes and steered around the final right turn into the Coldharbour ½ mile lightning segment for a PR of 39 seconds and an average of 46.4 mph “(The COM is 33 seconds).

Cervelo R5

(Photo credit: Simon Smythe / Cycling Weekly)

Cervelo designed the R5 to specialize in climbs and descents, and it does them while sleeping. But I also really enjoyed it in the apartment. The rear comfort swallowed everything in sight and the classic geometry with the 73 degree seat angle and 15mm satback seat post that makes it slightly steeper were perfect for rolling forward in an aggressive tuck at a good pace. Even so, even though it’s a WorldTour road bike, Stack and Reach are surprisingly easy to use for non-professionals. The size 56 corresponded almost exactly to my own bike measurements.

The only problem I had was a seat post slipping. I tightened it to 8 Nm with the wedge screw according to the instructions, but on the road I had to stop a few times and turn it up as far as I dared. I’ve since smeared Muc-Off Carbon Gripper paste on the posts and seat tube – it seemed like just a tiny smear from the factory – and that got the job done.

See the introductory story for prices and availability of all models.

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