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Cervelo R5 - 2011 (2011)

Editor's Review

Race ready road machine.


Light and stiff with the new BBright bottom bracket enhancing the stiffness.


Cost is bit on the high side for the wheels specification.


Green is the new black. It wasn't that long ago that green was an unpopular colour scheme to have on bikes. Bikes with green used to sit on the floor of the shop for a long time. Now it is uncommon for a bike manufacturer to not include a green model in its range.

The Cervelo R5 predominately black with green trim and looks smart. It is a bike I could proudly turn up to the café set and be accepted. Not that I have done the café set for 10 years but from what I hear not much has changed. I used to love turning up on my $360 Repco Revolution MTB with slick tyres and not only keep up with the Saturday morning bunch ride but beat half of the boy racers back. I remember quite fondly of one such cyclist who confronted me to tell me how much I annoyed him. I thought to myself "what did I do"? He then clarified that I beat him each week on my clunker while he was riding a $5000 Cannondale. With that I rode home with my head held high thinking I was cool.

Back to the Cervelo. It is a pure race machine, the faster you go the better it rides. This bike is has been well designed with the new BBright bottom bracket. It translates simply to a 79mm shell width with it being 11mm wider on the non-drive side. Wider allows Cervelo to use larger tubing, this in return provides a much stiffer platform to push from. As a result, BBright yields no change in pedal stance width but affords more real estate for a bigger down tube, non-driveside chainstay and seat tube Ð and the press-fit cups yield a lighter overall system, too. The BBright is supported by Campagnolo, FSA, Rotor and Sram with Shimano requiring adapters.

The R5 carries the "Squoval" down tube and pencil thin seat stays that had originated in the R3. These designs have been tries and tested on some of the harshest road in the world. Both Cancellara and our own Stuart O'Grady have both one on the cobbles in the Paris to Roubaix Classic one day race. This bike is light at a tickle over 6kg without pedals it is seriously a light bike.

The test ride consisted of a particularly fast long decent that will put the Cervelo to the test as well I thought I would line up in a Saturday bunch gallop to re-live old times. The first ride took some time to adjust to the shear weightless of the R5. I was hoping that I wasn't going to break it on the ride and if I did not too far from home. Well it didn't break and the more the kmÕs ticked away the more relaxed I became on the bike. I always believe that it takes a few hours of riding of a new bike to really become one with it. I know that sounds a little "zenish" but I know when I am on a bike that suits me when it feels part of me and that I'm not sitting on some foreign object. The fast descent I mentioned gets me up to the 78km mark and the road isnÕt particularly smooth so it can test your nerve especially on a new bike that you are riding for the first time.

The R5 handled well with no feeling of over-steering or drifting- just a really nice sharp handling bike. A definite point and shoot bike. The ride comfort wasn't as bad as I first thought it would be. The seat stays are doing their job providing compliance throughout the ride. Being on the taller side of a cyclist it was appreciated that the head tube height is on the taller side which suited me and made for a more comfortable ride. The stem can be lowered via removing a couple of head set spacers to suit the individual rider.

Next stop on the Cervelo was to line up for the Saturday bunch gallop. Well it got a lot of attention more than I was comfortable with and more than my old clunker ever did. Once we were under way I was quickly reminded of the reasons I do not join in these types of rides anymore. When you see cyclists cutting blind corners and running red lights with little or no regard for the road rules or for their own safety it became apparent that I made a wise choice to stay away. I do feel that these rides can be a great way to ride if there was more regulation on the cyclists participating. I donÕt have the answers yet but I will be putting some serious thought into it. For every cyclist who is seen going through a red light and riding more than 2 abreast you give the motorist another reason to keep hostility towards us all.

Ok I'm off my soap box now. The R5 looked the part and received a lot of compliments so it has street creed amongst its peers. It performed well with excellent acceleration and awesome handling which had to be tested when a bunch Gumby took the corner to sharp and crashed in front of me.

The bike is fitted out with Sram Red which did its job well with 3T completing the fit-out with bars stem and seatpost. The Fulcrum Racing 7's will be good for a training wheel with the club racer fitting on their racing set for the weekends race. Overall an excellent race ready bike with top level handling and components. The green eventually grew on me.


The R5 2011 can withstand all kinds of beating due to racing, trailing, sprinting, descending, climbing and cornering. It is designed with advanced features like the minimalist front derailleur mount, reverse seattube collar, single bend cable routing, optimized headtube taper, ultra-thin seatstays, and the SRAM Red drivetrain, so you can continue your complex journey or ride to your heart's content.

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Name:R5 - 2011
Brand: Cervelo
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