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Gear Bag – Cervelo S5 Frame

  • By Paul Moore
  • Published January 30, 2013

When testing Cervelo’s S5, Madison (the UK importers) provided us the bike set up as a time trial rig with a Shimano Ultegra groupset along with Profile Design handlebars and wheels. We know the S5 is designed as a road bike and Cervelo make several TT-specific rigs, but we’d heard of several riders, including Ironman 70.3 UK champion Phil Graves, who’d been riding and racing the S5 set up as a TT bike. Graves will continue to do so in 201 3. With the addition of a seat post that allows to you to run the saddle with zero offset it’s relatively easy to pull things forwards for a more time trial-like set up.

On the road the S5 instantly felt fast. The first thing we noticed, like Cervelo’s TT bikes, was just how stiff the S5 was and how it felt like all the power was being delivered to help to propel the bike forwards. This is largely due to the stiffer aero shaped tubes and the BBright bottom bracket that is super stiff. While not as forgiving as some Cervelo’s road range, the S5 did feel more like a time trial bike in this sense, but remains forgiving enough even after five hours in the saddle, so you’ll start the run in good shape. With the S5 using typical road geometry (70.5-degree head tube and 73-degree seat tube) it is easy to handle, even with the seat set in the forward position. Whether pedalling on the flat, climbing or cornering at speed the S5 screams for more and it’s hard to fault the way it handles.

For us, our only concern was getting the front end low enough to provide a similar ride to our TT position with the head tube being so much taller on the S5. The head tube in this case for a size 51 cm is 1 34mm compared to a 90mm head tube on the equivalent Cervelo P3. We did manage to get a similar position, but this did mean it wasn’t quite as aerodynamic because we couldn’t get as low at the front end. This won’t be an issue for most because the majority of people are not flexible enough or comfortable riding this low anyway, so it would depend totally on the individual. We think that many people would do well with the longer head tubed S5 anyway.

The S5 is a road bike but there are those who want one top end bike with the ability to change between a road and TT set up, and this Cervelo allows it. Quality and finish is top notch as we’ve come expect from Cervelo. The S5 rolls brilliantly as a road bike and is not marketed as an all rounder, but works surprisingly well as a TT bike, especially with its aerodynamic qualities. It’s fast, surprisingly comfortable and easy to handle. Plus it looks great too.

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Paul Moore

Paul Moore

Paul Moore is the Online Editor for Triathlete Europe. When not glued to a computer he can be found writing books - most recently Ultra Performance: The Psychology of Endurance Sports and The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges. Both are available on Amazon. Paul has also written Ultimate Triathlon: A complete training guide for long-distance triathletes which is also available on Amazon.