As the road became steeper reaching the outskirts of East Vail, we started to feel some of the benefits of the reported 12% increase in stiffness over the S3. Much of this gain in stiffness is due to the incorporation of the BBright bottom bracket standard previously only found on Cervelo’s R-series bikes. BBright is an open standard developed by Cervelo to provide the best possible combination of overall bike stiffness while minimizing bike-and-crank weight. I found it to be a much appreciated addition to the S5. Out of the saddle climbing yielded a very positive and solid response from the bike.
It’s clear that with the S5 Cervelo has not forgotten triathletes, which make up one of the largest groups of riders interested in aero road bikes. We see this bike finding it’s place under two groups of triathletes. First, those who need a slightly taller head tube and less weight on the front end, but who aren’t willing to give up any aerodynamic performance. The S5 has a significantly taller front end than it’s predecessor the S3, allowing many athletes the ability to achieve their desired position without the use of extra spacers or an upturned stem. The second group are those looking for the ultimate single-bike quiver, a machine that has the ability to race road races, triathlons and time-trials.
Looking at the aerodynamic tube shapes found on the S5, including the wide seat tube and unforgiving-looking seat stays, our guess was that the ride of the S5 would be rather harsh. But our experience proved that you simply can’t judge a book by its cover, especially in terms of carbon fiber’s ability to tune the feel of a frame’s ride quality. The S5 is smooth and confident, even when descending at high speeds as we did on our way back down into town after our recon of the Vail TT course.
To Cervelo’s credit, the release of the S5 has been almost as well planned and thought out as the bike itself. Only a short week ago, almost nobody knew that a new bike was about to be released. And now only a week later select dealers have already taken delivery of their first units. So if you are an aero-inspired road racer or a triathlete looking for a new aero weapon, I believe the new Cervelo S5 is worth a serious, hard look.
S5’s will be sold with Dura-Ace Di2 for $9,000 or SRAM Red for $7,500. S5 Team bikes (a less expensive version) will sell with Ultegra Di2 for $6,000, Ultegra mechanical for $4,800 and SRAM Rival for $3,800.