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Products That Win – Part 2 – Cervelo

August 25, 2010

Pro racers demand the maximum from their equipment.  The work it takes to make it to the top is relentless.  It pays to have partnerships that give the engineers behind the product real-time feedback from the riders, and the riders are directly responsible for the way a bike handles, feels, and accelerates.  Enter the Cervelo Test Team.

Cervelo created the Test Team as a development tool to make their bikes better.  The success of the team has been, in some respects, a secondary goal.  Of course, with the best riders helping to create some of the best bikes, it’s no surprise that Test Team riders earn their fair share of podium spots.  It’s also no surprise that the success of Cervelo’s engineering efforts pay dividends in the triathlon world as well.  And that dedication to making superior products seems likely to continue as Cervelo is poised to join forces with Garmin on the 2011 ProTour as announced this week.

Cervelo’s road/triathlon/time trial focus essentially breaks down into three bike lines.  R series bikes are Cervelo’s take on the “classic” road bike and S series bikes are for those road riders looking for every aero advantage they can get, or multisport athletes looking for a singular, do-it-all ride.  Finally, there is the P series, the tt/tri specific line of bikes and frames that basically every other manufacturer is chasing.

Let’s talk podium places, Cervelo and tough guy bike racers:  two wins and two second places in the world’s hardest, most demanding bicycle race, Paris-Roubaix.  That’s four podium spots in each of the four years a Cervelo R bike has been in the race.  Consider the numerous victories the S series bikes have had, from riders taking advantage of the superior aerodynamics in a solo escape—like under Heinrich Haussler—to riders putting down Pro-Tour wattage in a field sprint like the one piloted by Thor Hushovd.  Don’t forget the P series bikes—the P4 is the most talked about, copied bike in the world of triathlon for the simple fact that it’s the fastest.  And the P3 leads nearly every major event in the number of participants on a Cervelo due to the simple fact that when you count bang for the buck it’s the bike to beat.  In short, the three series of bikes from Cervelo, the R, S, and P series bikes, are all products that win.


The R series bikes from Cervelo are designed to be the best “classic” bike out there.  Now take the word classic with a grain of salt.  These bikes are using advanced engineering designs and the latest materials to build what is essentially the modern take on the standard road bike.  Each of the bikes features Cervelo’s Squoval tube shapes—tubes that are both round and square.  The reason is simple. Square tubes resist lateral bending force but can easily buckle.  A round tube resists buckling.  A slightly ovalized square taps the best of both worlds.  The bonus is that oversized tubes, particularly near the bottom bracket area, add to drive train stiffness and improve acceleration.  Coupled with seat stays that are designed and shaped to improve ride quality and keep the rider isolated from jarring road vibration it’s no wonder the R series bikes are classics themselves.

The R3SL is just what you think it is, it is the standard R3 engineered to be super light.  The R3 itself is impressively lightweight, and the RS simply offers a more relaxed riding position with a taller head tube and thus higher possible handlebar position. “That is the very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very best bike I’ve ever ridden here”—Andreas Klier after Paris-Roubaix on an RS.


Take an R series bike and make it as aerodynamic as you can—without making it a dedicated tt/tri bike—and that is an S series Cervelo.  The idea of the S series bike is to give those looking for the solo breakaway as much of a fighting chance as possible.  Of course, given its superior aerodynamics compared to a conventional road bike, it is great for privateer athletes on a budget—one bike for road and TT or multisport events.  And, despite the aero advantage, it shares the same cobble-eating ride quality of the R series bikes.

The S series starts with the aluminum S1, the successor to the venerable Soloist Team of years past.  The S2 and S3 are both carbon bikes, with the S3 being the wind-cheating cousin of the R3SL.


Designing great road bikes, even aero road bikes (a category Cervelo practically invented with what is today the S series bikes) is one thing.  Being able to also design TT/triathlon bikes—and have those bikes be the most sought after in the market, is another.  Cervelo has done both.

The P series bikes represent the bike for the triathlete looking for the ultimate ratio of performance positioning and comfort.  They are also great bikes for road racers who like to take on stage races that feature time trials.  It’s no wonder you see so many Cervelos at both weekend sprint tris, middle distance multisport events and Ironman races as well as regional stage races.

The P1 is the aluminum framed workhouse of the P series.  The P2 shifts to a carbon frame, which gets progressively more aerodynamic and lighter as you move through the series to the P4.  The bike that most are looking for though is the P3.  As the folks at Cervelo put it the P3 is “the most used bike at Ironman racing and time trialing ever –by ‘regular’ customers.  No wonder it is still the reference for the entire bike industry, and the most copied bike in history.  Yet its popularity remains, because the original is still unmatched.”

Find your perfect Cervelo and get your next win with Bicycle Sport Shop!

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