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We get the technical lowdown on the new bikes plus a broad hint on new hydraulic shifting tech on the way

Last week we brought you news of the new Cervélo R5 this week the Canadian outfit has announced the launch of two more new bikes - a completely revamped R3 and an all new S3… oh, and along the way they dropped a techno hint on an interesting new development in shifting technology - hydraulic shifters.

We caught up with Damon Rinard, Cervélo's senior engineer on their Advanced Technology Team who talked us round both the new bikes in the video below, as you'd expect when it comes to talking tech he knows his stuff. Rinard and his team designed both the new bikes which trickle down significant amounts of technology and features from the higher reaches of the Cervélo range.

One of those features is a 'future proof' cable routing system. And one of the futures it's proof against is hydraulic shifting. Those with long memories of Eurobikes past will remember that Marcus Storck suggested that hydraulic shifting would be a very good idea, but that was a couple of years ago. Nobody is touting hydraulic shifting for road here at Eurobike, unless it's tucked away on a 3x3 booth somewhere but German component maker Arcos has had a hydraulic mountain bike shift system for a couple of years.

We can be fairly certain hydraulic shifting is on its way though and soon; companies like Cervélo don't just 'future proof' their bikes unless they are pretty certain what the future holds. Who might be making such a system? Our money is on SRAM. They've just launched a lever equipped with a hydraulic reservoir so might as well do more with it. They’ve also got to play catch-up after being left behind by Shimano and Campagnolo on electronic shifting, but they won’t want to appear to be just following the herd.

Based on previous attempts at hydraulic shifting, like the Acros system and a mountain bike cable replacement system that appeared briefly in the 90s, we don’t think they’ll need much of a fluid reservoir, so SRAM may be easily able to piggy-back hydraulic shifting on their brakes. Of course Shimano also have a lever with a hydraulic reservoir in it, and it's got growing room plus an electronic management system. Our left field choice would be Magura.

Anyway, back to the bikes, there's more to report from now on Cervélos in the UK will be available as complete bikes and they'll be competitively priced too, very competitively in some cases with a Shimano 105 equipped version of the new R3 available for under two thousand pounds £1999 to be exact, at the other end of the scale you can have it with Ultegra Di2 for £4199, there's also an Ultegra mechanical option at £3099 - the new R3 will also be available as a frameset for £1699. Among the S3 build options is a Shaimano Ultegra Di2 model, like the R3 yours for £4199, there are two Ultegra mechanical versions at £3599 and £3299 repectively. Why the difference in price? Well one of them comes with  Magura hydraulic rim-braked version (yes, we've already put our test request in).

Hot of the presses w've got RRP price info on other Cervelo complete bikes too. At the top of the tree an R5 with Shimano Dura Ace Di2 will cost £6799, it will also be available in mechanical Dura Ace and SRAM Red versions the latter for £5299. The S5 VWD DA Di2 will cost £6999 but you can get an Ultegra mechanical version for £3599. Most expensive model in the range is the P5 Six DA Di2 model at £7499 although you can save two grand by going the mechanicsl Dura Ace route. The new P3 TT/triathlon bike tops out at £4599 with Ultegra Di2 or you can have mechanical Dura Ace or mechanical Ultegra for less money. Final complete bike in the TT/Tri range is the P2 with Shimano 105 for £1999. All models are also available as framesets.

Cervélo S3

The S3 is a model that returns to the range after the previous version was discontinued following the launch of the S5. Interestingly it seems that one of the reasons the old version of the S3 was dropped was that it was more complicated, and presumably expensive, to build than the model that had superceded it but for less aerodynamic advantage. You can well imagine that would have offended the clear-eyed rationalists at Cervélo.

The new S3 shares much of the S5 design - in the very crudest terms you could think of it as an S5 with an R3 rear end. The bike is designed to deliver the maximum aero advantage without being as unrelentingly stiff as the S5, the extra pay-off is that it also drops a bit of weight over the competition.

While the S3 might not be quite as aero-optimised as the S5, Damon was keen to point out that it was still right up there. In fact, he said it was more aero than many other range-topping aero bikes. It's only fair to point out here that while Rinard's equivalent at Felt acknowledged to us that the S5 was the most aero aero bike at 0° their new AR was more aero from any other angle. I digress, but it illustrates the competitiveness among aero bike makers.

Target customer for the new S3 is the privateer racer who wants the benefits of the S5 but without the price tag. The provisional UK prices we saw looked competitive; we’ll bring you confirmed costs when we have them. Like all of its stablemates from now on those prices will be for complete bikes in a variety of group set options. Cervélo is now part of the Derby Group so will benefit from significant economies of scale when it comes to buying components.

What wheels will Cervélo spec on its complete bikes? I'm glad you asked. Cervélo has taken the sensible decision not to try and second guess their customers' wheel needs.  “No matter what we put on them it would be wrong for someone." an insider told us. Instead, Cervélo bikes will come with a set of high quality training wheels and the buyer can then decide what race wheels work best for his or her needs.

According to  Cervélo's UK manager, Chris Needs, most prospective Cervélo owners are likely to have decided views on wheels and probably already own a set of their preferred best wheels. That's certainly likely to hold true of the S3’s target customer.

Cervélo R3

Cervélo's mission is, they say, to make you go faster and they give you a choice of how you want to achieve that you can either take the aero route with their S bikes or the light route with their R bikes. Often characterised as 'climber's bikes' the R series bikes and the R3 in particular have an impressive record of wins on all sorts of terrain - Johan Van Summeren won Paris Roubaix on one as recently as 2011.

The new version of the R3 gets the latest version of Cervélo's squoval tube shapes, as used on the R5 and the RCA, which give an aero advantage over the old tube shapes. Here's Damon with all the details of the R3:

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

13 comments

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SamShaw [264 posts] 2 years ago
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R3 = DROOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL!  38

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 2 years ago
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Apologies to Damon for constantly mis-prouncing his name when we were making the vid.

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Fringe [1047 posts] 2 years ago
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tony_farrelly wrote:

Apologies to Damon for constantly mis-prouncing his name when we were making the vid.

That'll be the hangover again eh!

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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Hydraulic shifting? What on earth would be the advantage over electronic shifting? I can see some possible advantage over cable actuated shifting, like no cable stretch, but with electronic shifting you have way more control, it is programmable. Also, with Ultegra Di2 we have already seen a significant price cut and it will only get more affordable in the future.

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mikroos [257 posts] 2 years ago
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@jarredcycling - the potential advantages are waterproofness and the lack of need to recharge the battery, just to name two.

I'm not saying it's enough to call it the best system on the market, but we'll know when the actual product appears.

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andyspaceman [241 posts] 2 years ago
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Unless there are other component upgrades I'm not aware of, the price hops between the mechanical and Di2 versions of bikes seem too big.

It's not just a Cervelo thing - I've seen it on other manufacturers as well.

If you forget RRPs and look at what you can actually buy the components for online, you would save a good bit of cash by buying the mechanical bikes, stripping and eBaying the shifters and mechs, and then fitting the Di2 equivalents.

For example, you can get the Ultegra 6770 parts to upgrade to electronic shifting for about £800. On the R3 mentioned above, the Di2 bike itself is £900 more expensive for electronic version. And then factoring in a conservative £200 return for selling your mechanical shifters and mechs, the electronic bike seems about £300 too expensive.

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sunDOG [23 posts] 2 years ago
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The R.......  41

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Spooks [59 posts] 2 years ago
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R3 lovely but a lovely price for the Di2 version too........Still want it though

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Leviathan [1773 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder what Raleigh aka SirVelo thinks?

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JuiceQC [9 posts] 2 years ago
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Finally some nice looking paintwork to go with some fantastic bikes. The R3 is a seriously relevant bike for the recreational cyclist / sportif rider. Stiff AND compliant. It has actually been ridden to victory in the Paris - Roubaix on 3 occasions: Fabien Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady and most recently Johan Van Summeren.

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Alb [124 posts] 2 years ago
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External battery on a brand new aero frame?! #notsoaero

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joules1975 [313 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely hydraulic shifting requires no reservoir?

A reservoir is only required on brakes so that additional fluid can be introduced into the hose as the pads wear down, and to also help with heat build up expanding the fluid. There would be no change in the amount of fluid required in the system for hydraulic gears, as the mechs movement would be the same regardless of how long its used, and there won't be any reason for heat to build up.

Check out Rock show reverb posts for an example of a hydraulic system with no reservoir, and rs being part of SRAM mean they already have the basis of a gear system sorted.

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nowasps [377 posts] 2 years ago
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Am I reading that right? The 105 R3 will be £1999, but the frameset alone will be £1699? So a pair of wheels, complete groupset, stem, bars, seatpost and saddle £300!