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Think RCA with a merely big rather than humongous price tag

Cervelo have trickled technology from the uber expensive $10,000 RCA, launched earlier this year with a limited run and 670g frame weight, down to the R5, making it not only lighter and stiffer, but more aerodynamic too. And a $5,000 it's significantly more affordable... although it's clearly still very expensive.

According to Cervelo the new R5 benefits from extensive development in the carbon fibre layup and aerodynamics first seen on the RCA. The latest Squoval 3 - Cervelo's name for rounded square tube profiles - features on the new R5. It’s noticeably less square than previous iterations, with a new sculpted leading edge that, used on the down tube and seat tube, offers a claimed saving of 7.4 watts compared to the previous profile, Squoval 2.

Cervelo say it’s stiffer too, with a 9.5% stiffer bottom bracket compared to the current R5, and with a 15% increase in torsional head tube stiffness, due to a large lower tube dimension. A new fork is claimed to offer improvements in stiffness, as well as increased compliance, and has a 1 1/8in-1 3/8in tapered steerer tube.

New ‘ultra thin’ seat stays should ensure the frame offers adequate comfort, and they’ve been turned through 90 degrees so the frontal surface area is reduced, to contribute to the improved aerodynamics. Interestingly, the frame and fork have clearance for 25mm tyres, reflecting the growth in popularity of wider tyres.

The R5’s internal cable routing is fully compatible with all current mechanical and electronic groupsets, Cervelo saying the frame is future-proofed even for hydraulic brakes. The bottom bracket is now a BBrightTM PF-30 type.

While the RCA was built at Cervelo’s Californian facility in very small numbers, hence the huge price it commanded, the new R5 will be build in the Far East along with the rest of the CErvelo range. The new R5 looks to be near identical to the RCA in profile and tube shapes, suggesting that it is produced in the same mould. There’s no mention of the 3M Powerlux resin that was used in key areas of the RCA frame, it’s likely it’s made from the same regular carbon as the existing R5.

We don’t have any UK or European prices, but at $5,000 the new R5 is half the price the RCA cost. They’ll be offering three builds, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 costing $9,000, Dura Ace and Red 22, both costing $7,000.

We'll be hunting down this bike at Eurobike next week so stay tuned for more details.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

6 comments

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njmoffat [29 posts] 2 years ago
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lovely looking frame - discreet graphics, nice gun-metal finsh....damn expensive though.

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crazy-legs [733 posts] 2 years ago
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I've always liked Cervelo. Understated, those ultra thin seatstays, no garish colours or graphics. They just look businesslike and fast.

Needs a different set of wheels though, those Cosmics don't match aesthetically.  3

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chickeee [17 posts] 2 years ago
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no problem, those wheels don't come with the bike

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Charlie_ [7 posts] 2 years ago
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'Trickle down' technology, huh? Textbook price framing, more like.

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SuperG [105 posts] 2 years ago
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The only thing I would change on my 2012 edition is the over tall head tube.

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Ham-planet [112 posts] 2 years ago
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We have enough black and red bikes already, thanks very much.