Bike Review – Cervelo S5 Aero Roadbike

10 days on Cyprus gave us sufficient time to fully test ride the Cervelo S5 Aero Roadbike – in the Team Edition. A 3.600 Euro frame built with Mavic Cosmic wheels and a Sram Red group.

Aero bikes are known to offer aerodynamic advantages in the wind – especially when going fast on flat to slightly modulated terrain. So that is what we went for in the first couple of test rides. It was a delight cutting through the wind with this bike and we returned a 100k later after enjoying a very comfortable ride on a bike that was built to go fast. Of course it didn’t come as much of a surprise that a thicker tube shape as found in aero bikes catches a lot of side wind – add some aero wheels to that and riding an aero bike requires at least a little extra bike handling skills. Yet the turned out to be way more stable in the cross winds than we expected before heading out for the test ride.

S5 summary in the flats:
– the aerodynamic tube shape is cutting through the wind making for a lot of fast riding fun
– the carbon fiber frame is super comfortable guaranteeing a lot of fun even during slower group rides
– cross winds do make the aero frame equipped with aero wheels a little more fragile yet it remains a comfortable ride
– on straight descents the bike shows off it’s aerodynamic advantages and pulls away from the rest of the gang
– the S5 rides through fast turns like it’s put on tracks

So far the S5 offered everything we expected from a high end aero roadbike and surprised us with some unexpected comfort for a bike that’s made to race.

How would the bike keep up in the mountains? We were about to find out. Next up was a 110k ride with about 1700 meters of elevation gain, some serious climbing and some steep serpentine in the descent.

On climb up to 5% percent the S5 still seemed to show off with some aerodynamic advantages and once again surprised us with it’s great climbing qualities. The same accounts for the fast descents and quick turns in the mountains. Of course – when pushing the bike to the limit on the way down it will eventually show some lack in agility but it took a lot more pushing than we expected and we never failed to stay with the ‘built for the mountains’ bikes in the descent. On climbs between 5%-10% it still wasn’t a problem to stay with the lighter and more agile bikes and only when climbing parts steeper than 10% it was that the road bikes built for the mountains where able to play out it’s advantages.

S5 summary in the mountains:
– remains it’s aerodynamic advantages on climbs up to 5%
– is surprisingly agile on the descents
– great climber up to 10%
– super fast in the longer downhills
– rides like on tracks – very stable

One of our favorite features on the bike is the seat post by the way. Offering perfect adjustment thanks to 2 different clamping positions for your saddle.

Overall the S5 is one of the best bikes we’ve ridden so far and unless you are living in the mountains the S5 as an aero road bike might be the perfect all round solution for any kind of terrain. If you were to climb every day or want to enjoy that extra bit of agility in narrow turns a bike like the R5 might be the better solution. The aero frames weighs in at a little more than frames made for climbing but for an aero frame and overall it sill offers a fantastically low weight.

It’s a bike for everybody who enjoys a stiff frame combined with great comfort. It’s for you if you want to go fast or win the next chain gang group sprint. Ride it in the mountains unless you’re planning more than 3000 meter of climbing every second ride.

The Cervelo S5 guarantees a hell lot of fun, offers the known Cervelo high quality and comes in 3 versions for different budgets (all offering the same aerodynamic advantages only differing in weight)

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3 thoughts on “Bike Review – Cervelo S5 Aero Roadbike

  1. It’s a pretty common believe that Cervelo makes ugly bikes. But you don’t have to look at your bike when you ride it, and Cervelos ride like nobody’s business.

    I don’t believe you about this part, though: “the carbon fiber frame is super comfortable guaranteeing a lot of fun even during slower group rides”

    I have an R3, and a Soloist in aluminum (the Soloist evolved into the S1 and S2). It’s very hard for me to take either of them on a slower group ride. I’ve done it, but the bike screams at me because it wants to go faster. It tells me we can break away from the pack. When the group tackles a hill, the bike encourages me to climb as fast as I can, then come back down and climb the hill again with the group. Cervelos can do slow, but they remind you that all the fun is on the fast rides. I think you put that in there to see if anyone was paying attention. 😉

    • Not quite only to see if you’re paying attention. We truly belief in great comfort during slower group rides but knowing that you could rock the house any moment cause you’re riding a weapon 🙂

  2. Surprised by ugly comments everywhere I go cyclists and non cyclists comment on my bikes “looks/ coolness” I hate to admit it but aesthetics was one of the tipping factors in buying the bike. It may not be classic but it certainly is cool

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