Cervélo unveil the new S5 Aero road bike

Faster than an S3, and that was pretty fast...

by Dave Atkinson   June 29, 2011  

Well there's been a lot of talk about it, and Thor Hushovd was spotted riding something that might have been it in the Nowergian National Road Race Championships, but today they've confirmed it: Cervélo are launching the S5 aero road bike.

What we don't have at this point are a lot of facts about the new bike. We do have a bunch of photos that Cervélo sent us though, and Mat and Tony are currently hotfooting it to the Vendée to hopefully get a gander at the bike in the flesh. But for now, let's look at what we have...

Okay, so here's the full bike, side on. Let's compare that to the S3:

and also the P4:

And you can see that it's somewhere in between the two, but closer to a road-geometry version of the P4. The seat tube is sculpted round the rear wheel in much the same way as the P4, and the seat tube angle is straightened up at the top, though not so aggressively as the P4 of course. The chainstays are much wider and more flattened than the S3, and at the front the curve between top tube and down tube has been replaced with a flatter, bladed head tube. Clearance between the down tube and wheel is reduced, and the fork blades integrate into the down tube shape to improve air flow.

The bottom bracket area features the flat section you also find on the P4, which means there'll be a special aero bottle available for the frame. For non-UCI events, of course...

The down tube is flared and flattened at the bottle bosses, in order to minimise the drag if you're using a standard bottle and mount.

From the front, well... there's not much to see. Check out the scuplted head tube to minimise frontal area, it looks like Cervélo have gone with a standard 1.125" bearing top and bottom to keep the profile as low as possible. All cable routing is internal, of course.

The S5's stays are very different to the S3, much more flattened like the P4.

Cervélo haven't gone for enclosed brake callipers which is probably a bridge too far on a road bike. but they have obviously done a lot of work on tucking the rear brake away. Where the S3 had a standard bolt-through mount that's not an option on the S5 with its sculpted seat tube, so the calliper hangs from a mount that bolts into the frame. Again, the surfaces butting up against the brake are flattened to try and improve airflow around the bike as a whole, not just the frame.

This bike is going to appeal to triathletes as well as road racers. It comes with a two-position seatpost that will steepen up the seat tube for a better tri position.

The seat clamp is hidden in the frame, giving very clean lines around the seatpost.

So what does all this work mean in real terms? Well, Cervélo have been testing the bike extensively of course, and here's the figures they're quoting:

Aerodynamic Savings Over Cervélo S3:
· 36.8 seconds over 40k
· 0.92 seconds per kilometer
· 92 grams of drag
· 9.2 watts of power savings

So, a nearly 10W saving over the S3; we're not sure what speed that's for. 36.8 seconds over 40km. Those are some worthwhile savings if Cervélo's test data is borne out in real world scenarios. It might not be the difference between winning and losing on any given day – Hushovd only managed third in the Norwegian champs on his S5 – but those incremental gains would be beneficial over the course of a three week tour...

And how much will it cost? Lots and lots. We don't know for sure, but since the P4 and S3 framesets are three and a half grand a pop, we'd expect the S5 to hit the shelves costing at least that, and probably a bit more. All those wind tunnel hours don't come cheap... It's also been granted a UCI sticker by the blazers of Aigle, so that means you'll almost certainly be seeing the S5 in this year's Tour de France. Stay tuned for more!

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Ugly-looking brute.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
29th June 2011 - 12:47


I agree - not impressed with the new frame.

posted by Singletrackroadie [33 posts]
29th June 2011 - 12:59


ditto - most likely very fast but it pays for that speed by being ugly like a few recent cervelo's.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
29th June 2011 - 13:29


I'm a hardcore Cervelo fan. I own two, an aero and a normal frame.

I think that think is damn ugly. The R5/R5CA I covet, not this.

The Team and VWO graphics confuse me? Can anyone shed any light on those?

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
29th June 2011 - 14:14


Cyclingweekly were quoting two different prices for frames the team(£3000) and vwd (£4000) I'd guess better carbon for the vwd like the r5ca.

On aesthetics I think the bikes look better when ridden the YouTube video makes it look lovely

posted by miffed [169 posts]
29th June 2011 - 14:35


it may not be the most good looking of bikes but i bet if Mr.Cervelo let you have one for free you wouldn't say no eh!

i quite like it myself, apart from the way the gear cables curve over the stem and into the top tube, just looks a bit er, dun'no, just not keen on that bit.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1097 posts]
29th June 2011 - 14:50


Can't pretend I'm a huge fan of aero bikes, but it doesn't look too bad to me.


posted by BigDummy [315 posts]
29th June 2011 - 16:42


They've designed themselves out of the commuter market though. You'll never get mudguards on that! Not a thing of beauty but looks uncomfortably fast.


posted by arrieredupeleton [587 posts]
29th June 2011 - 16:42


the front looks like a steel bike!!! did they get throng photo?


posted by cool guy 999 [54 posts]
29th June 2011 - 20:52


VWD ahhh. Not O. Perhaps Vroomen-White-Design.

Still unusual of Cervelo to have sub-models in this day and age, not since the the new S and R names.

It's grown on me now and I agree with the looking better in the video.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
30th June 2011 - 14:13


If you need anyone else to hotfoot it to the Tour - I'm your man.



CycleNut's picture

posted by CycleNut [48 posts]
2nd July 2011 - 21:42