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Bike at Bedtime: Mark Cavendish’s 2016 Cervelo S5

Check out the aero road bike that Cav raced to four Tour de France stage wins
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Mark Cavendish launched himself to four Tour de France stage victories in 2016 – the vast majority of pro cyclists would settle for that in a lifetime – and here’s the Cervelo S5 he did it on.

When it comes to aero road bikes, Cervelo has been at the heart of things from the very beginning having launched the Soloist way back in 2002. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 1.JPG

The S5 was unveiled in 2011 and quickly became both popular and influential with a seat tube that was sculpted round the rear wheel in much the same way as that of the brand’s P4 time trial bike, flat stays and a bladed head tube.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 5.JPG

Cervelo launched an updated version of the S5 for the 2015 model year, and it’s this version that Cav was riding the following year. Cervelo said that this model was faster than the original – of course! – offering a drag reduction the equivalent of 21.3 watts at 40km/h, a 35% stiffer head tube, 17% stiffer fork and 6% stiffer bottom bracket, while maintaining the same weight. Bike industry PR has run on stats for years!

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 13.JPG

The brand developed its own aero handlebar for the S5 which was said to responsible for a significant reduction in drag, but Cav wasn’t using it. Instead, he was using a bar from Pro with electrical tape stuck over the logos. Too bad that the raised paint gave the game away.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 8.JPG

Cav’s Dimension Data team was sponsored by Enve which provided the carbon-fibre rims, the stems and, in most cases, the handlebars.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 10.JPG

The rims were laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs and fitted with 25mm Continental tyres.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 7.JPG

Cav used a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset – not the current incarnation but the one before: 9070 series.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 6.JPG

His bike was fitted with Rotor’s 3D Power chainset with 170mm crank arms and noQ round chainrings. Very few of the Dimension Data riders actually used Rotor’s non-round chainrings.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 11.JPG

Cav had Di2 satellite shifters fitted to the inside of the drops, allowing him to change gear more easily when sprinting .

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 22.JPG

A bit of bling came in the shape of a gold KMC chain and red Ceramic Speed jockey wheels.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 9.JPG

Other details included a Fizik Arione saddle with aluminium rails (not carbon, as you might expect), with the Shimano Di2 junction box attached to the rails, well out of the airflow.

A new version of the S5 was released for 2019 and it was disc brake only, so the rim brake version that Cav rode marked the end of an era. 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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