Olympics Tech 2012: Ryder Hesjedal's Cervélo R5ca

Check out the custom-painted bike the Giro champ will be riding in London this weekend

by Mat Brett   July 24, 2012  

There’s just the slightest of chances you’ll have heard that the Olympic men’s road race will be fought out this Saturday (28 July), and Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal will be racing it on this maple leafed up Cervélo R5ca.

Hesjedal was forced to withdraw from the Tour de France after damaging his hip and leg in a crash on stage six but he says he has recovered and will be racing in London and Surrey.

Hesjedal rides for Garmin-Sharp although the Olympics is contested as national teams rather than ProTour teams. He’ll still be riding a bike from Garmin-Sharp sponsor Cervélo but rather than the usual livery, this one has been designed with maple leaves aplenty from the national flag of Canada. Both Hesjedal and Cervélo are Canadian.

The R5ca is Cervélo’s top-level lightweight road bike. It comes with Cervélo’s second generation Squoval tubing – Squoval coming from the words square and oval, to save you working it out for yourself. That’s because the tubes are square with rounded corners, the idea being, in Cervélo’s own words:

• Squared tubes have more material far from the centre to reduce side-to-side flex.
• Convex walls and rounded corners improve torsional stiffness.

Check out the skinniness of the seatstays. They’re among the thinnest out there in order to absorb vibration and add comfort.

The ‘ca’ bit of the R5ca name denotes that this is a Project California model. The Cervélo engineers have taken a standard R5 and altered the carbon layup and the tube profiles slightly to drop the weight a touch while retaining the stiffness. They reckon a size 54cm comes in at around 680g – incredibly light. These bikes are handbuilt in California.

Hesjedal uses an electronic Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and you can see that he has a satellite shifter on the tops so he can change gear when climbing without the need to move his hands back onto the hoods or the drops.

You can also see that the Di2 cable runs externally underneath the down tube; the R5ca doesn’t have internal routing. The cable stops on the down tube are redundant.

Garmin-Barracuda use Rotor cranks, Hesjedal going with 3D+ and an SRM power measurement system. Those pink highlights are a neat touch to mark his Giro win earlier in the year and, just in case you were in any doubt, Rotor have added ‘Ryder Hesjedal 2012 Giro d’Italia winner’ to the inside of the crank.

One other thing that’s worth noting is that front end. Hesjedal is 1.88m (6ft 2in) tall but he’s on a 56cm bike with a 140mm stem. Most pros run a lengthy stem, allowing them to get the stretched position they want on as small and light a bike as possible.

And check out the seal on top of the headset… or, rather, the lack of one. There’s nothing between the upper cartridge bearing and the stem, allowing the mechanics to position the 3T Ergosum Pro alloy bars a little lower on that already downward-sloping stem. That does leave the headset far more open to the elements but it’s very, very unlikely to rain in the UK summer anyway. Ahem!

The wheels are Mavic Cosmic Carbone, the post is a carbon-fibre 3T Doric Team and the saddle ia a Fizik Arione Tri2 with carbon braided rails. Those are Stainless Cages from Arundel.

19 user comments

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"Garmin-Barracuda"? I think there will be a certain electronics manufacturer who might take offense...

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posted by jamesfifield [91 posts]
24th July 2012 - 12:53

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I always thought a *shorter* stem made steering response snappier? Now I'm hearing the opposite? How does having to move the handlebars in a wider arc to accomplish the same degree of turning equate to "quicker" steering?

At any rate, I hope Ryder is recovered. Racing is usually the best training for more racing, but coming off a huge effort in the Giro, I wonder if the time off from the latter part of the TdF wasn't actually a good thing for him.

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
24th July 2012 - 13:13

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jamesfifield wrote:
"Garmin-Barracuda"? I think there will be a certain electronics manufacturer who might take offense...

That's the downside of changing your name mid-season as Garmin Cervelo Sharp Chippotle are constantly doing. Without cheching I'm not even sure if they Sharp deal was for one race or if it carries on until the end of the season - as Garmin have done with name changes in the past.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
24th July 2012 - 13:41

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Just my luck, I'll be doing what Brad says he will be doing twenty years from now, marshalling on a roundabout as the road race is in full swing.

antonio

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posted by antonio [937 posts]
24th July 2012 - 14:15

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That's an insane amount of Hbar drop, must be like 20cm!

Surprise

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
24th July 2012 - 14:15

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TheBigMong wrote:
I always thought a *shorter* stem made steering response snappier? Now I'm hearing the opposite? How does having to move the handlebars in a wider arc to accomplish the same degree of turning equate to "quicker" steering?

I *think* it's because you're effectively reducing the fork rake, so it could be related to where your weight is...? Or perhaps you're effectively giving yourself a longer lever with which to rotate the forks. Physics = not my strongest suit. I just know I put a 120mm stem on a small bike such that the clamp was almost directly over the front hub and it became almost unrideably twitchy.

posted by msw [125 posts]
24th July 2012 - 14:51

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TheBigMong wrote:
I always thought a *shorter* stem made steering response snappier?

Yes, that's obviously correct. That's what happens when you get halfway through a sentence and then decide to express it another way. Sorry for the confusion.

posted by Mat Brett [1825 posts]
24th July 2012 - 14:53

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Mat Brett wrote:
TheBigMong wrote:
I always thought a *shorter* stem made steering response snappier?

Yes, that's obviously correct. That's what happens when you get halfway through a sentence and then decide to express it another way. Sorry for the confusion.

Ah well god knows what happened to mine then. There's some scale of twitchiness just out of my comprehension that has unicycles at one end and beach cruisers at the other, but I'm obviously out of my depth now...

posted by msw [125 posts]
24th July 2012 - 15:26

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Oh, by the way, here's the full story on the name from Slipstream Sports who own the team:

"The official UCI-registered name of the team will be Garmin-Sharp (GRS), just in time for start of 2012 Tour de France. Barracuda Networks will continue as an important co-title sponsor, and team materials and the website will refer to the team as Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda."

posted by Mat Brett [1825 posts]
24th July 2012 - 17:13

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I think what happens with stem length is that the pros like a fork with sort rake and/or a steep head tube angle for snappy handling, but that makes the bike unstable, so they prefer a long stem which neutralises the snappy handling and makes it normal again. ie: I think it is just fashion.

Or, to be more charitable, maybe they prefer to get their weight further over the front wheel, which makes the bike feel better in corners?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
24th July 2012 - 17:20

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Had a look at one in my LBS earlier, stoopidly light.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [2966 posts]
24th July 2012 - 20:00

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Mat Brett wrote:
TheBigMong wrote:
I always thought a *shorter* stem made steering response snappier?

Yes, that's obviously correct. That's what happens when you get halfway through a sentence and then decide to express it another way. Sorry for the confusion.


It's quite alright. I find this stuff fascinating and a bit confusing at times anyway... there are so many weird little things the pros do that don't make any sense at all for a recreational rider. If I set up my bike like Ryder's and tried to ride it 100 miles, I'd either end up in a full body cast drinking my meals through a straw, or at best, my back would be so twisted up I'd never be able to stand up straight again. Oh yeah, and I'd be flat broke.

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
24th July 2012 - 20:12

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Anyone else confiused by the SRM meter AND the Vector pedals? Confused

posted by jamjam [61 posts]
24th July 2012 - 22:28

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I suspect the pedals are dummy units, based on their long gestation period...

posted by alexb2611 [6 posts]
25th July 2012 - 9:28

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jamjam wrote:
Anyone else confiused by the SRM meter AND the Vector pedals? Confused

Vector pedals need a sensor to measure power. This fits onto the pedal axle, next to the crank.

As you can see, this isn't present so the pedals are not measuring power, hence the SRM unit.

posted by Mat Brett [1825 posts]
25th July 2012 - 9:37

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I was thinking that they're getting power measurement from both sources to allow Garmin to validate the data and minimse the margin for error. Just part of the test process.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [2966 posts]
25th July 2012 - 11:31

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i would have thought they would have put carbon bottle cages on his bike. Surprise would think they have the budget to get some

slightly more aerodynamic than a brick

HarveyMorcombe's picture

posted by HarveyMorcombe [48 posts]
25th July 2012 - 20:45

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I hope the brand logos, 'Cervelo' and 'Rotor' aren't too prominent for the IOC. Big Grin

posted by pedroseq [3 posts]
26th July 2012 - 7:47

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HarveyMorcombe wrote:
i would have thought they would have put carbon bottle cages on his bike. Surprise would think they have the budget to get some

I think the Arundel steel cages work better, and are probably more aerodynamic than carbon fibre when empty.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
26th July 2012 - 16:30

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