As the saying goes, history repeats itself, and if gravel racing's short history continues to do so, it will grow at astronomical levels that blow other cycling and biking out of the water. Take the Kanza for example — with its avant- garde approach to racing, eliminating the rule book and rolling with a gritty, down to earth attitude that started with just 34 people in 2006, and its larger than life growth to 3000+ eager racers in just over a decade. And with its counter-culture approach to the sport, it takes things to extremes, physically and psychologically, while taking a huge toll on your trusty steed. While you can condition yourself for the rigorous demands of 200+ miles of self-supported off-road riding, you can't train your bike to do the same. What we're getting at is that a special kind of machine has to be crafted to truly excel at gravel racing, and Cervélo doesn't take this task lightly with the craftstmanship poured into the Aspero Frameset. It's built to be light. It's built to be tough as nails. It's built to be comfortable. And it's built to go damn fast. It uses progressive geometry to tackle rougher terrain than even the slacker endurance road steeds can handle, and with a meticulous carbon layup that balances stiffness with compliance for a ride that's responsive and lively, but damps the jarring vibrations that rock you to your core on the long miles.
The Aspero is built with modern geometry that's aim is to combine comfort for the long gravel miles, with progressive fit to help you soar to the front of the pack. Trail is Cervélo's secret weapon of choice in the world of geometry, and it comes into play on the Aspero to provide stability, regardless of the bike's size. The bike features a bit more trail than you'll find in road bikes, landing at about 62mm regardless of size, being that stability in rough conditions is a must, and each size uses a fork unique to its own geometry to keep trail consistent throughout sizing, meaning that every size of the Aspero provides an identical ride feel, which blows other rides out of the water that maintain the same fork for every size, and don't take the shorter riders so seriously. While some of this is achieved through a unique fork for each size, an adjustable fork offset lets you further tinker with things, enabling the bike to meet any rider's needs.
Outside of trail, the bike uses a moderate head tube angle at 72-degrees (size 52) to provide more stability than Cervélo's road steeds do, without going full-out slack into the realm of mountain bike geometry. This lengthens the wheelbase slightly to create a solid feel on loose descents and corners, but pairs up with a steep seat-tube angle for a nice perch through pedal-heavy sections. Since the bike is built to accommodate either 700c or 650b wheels, Cervélo crafts the fork with a built-in dropout that allows the geometry to stay identical regardless of wheel size. This dropout also enables you to fit huge tires for full cushion on rough terrain, with 700c options fitting most 42 tires, and 650b offering room for most 49's — though brand and tread can impact fit. Cervélo recommends leaving at least 4mm of space around your tires to accommodate clearance for the inevitable mud buildup that occurs during the lengthy miles of the Crusher or Private Idaho.
And speaking of mud and rubble, the Aspero comes equipped with protection you need when things get rough, muddy and gritty. It comes equipped with downtube protection that helps keep your frame, and its sleek paint job, free of scratches and dents. Since gravel races tend to be long, arduous, and typically ban all hand-outs (including the coveted water-bottle grab in road cycling, the Aspero comes ready to pack on as much water as possible, with three bottle mounts, plus a Bento mount on the top tube for bringing along the critical nutrition you need on 200+ mile rides. While we typically only see the Bento mount being used in Tri, with the demanding environment of Gravel we think it only makes sense to bring Bento to the grit, and we hope to see it take off across the boards. The Aspero utilizes the same bento mount as Cervélo's P5, and is compatible with all bento's built for the P5.
When it comes to carbon fiber layups, Cervélo is no slouch. It's engineers carefully and meticulously design their layups to maximize stiffness where its most important, compliance where you need a little comfort, and keep weight at a minimum. This particular model uses a C-level carbon, which uses ultra-high modulus carbon to damp jarring vibrations from mixed conditions, aiming to find a balance of static comfort and dynamic comfort.
- Gravel racing is taken seriously with Cervelo's new off-road machine
- Adjustable Trail in fork keeps geometry true regardless of wheel size
- Size-corrected geometry offers the same performance for every rider
- C-series carbon is stiff, light, and comfortable for endurance miles
- Steep seat tube and moderate head tube balance for comfort and speed
- Compatible with both 700c and 650b wheel sizes for speed and comfort
- Top-tube Bento mount lets you add nutrition storage on long rides
- Internal cable routing allows for addition of dropper post