Aspero Ultegra RX Complete Bike
If we had a nickel for every time we talked about where we think bike trends are going, we'd have a boatload of nickels. Sometimes the debates around the office are over small things, like how many headset spacers we should run, or what the best stem length is. Other times they stir up some serious emotions, like the debate of whether or not disc brakes belong on road bikes. Whatever your opinion may be, there are some certain undeniable truths in bike trends, and one we find regardless of discipline is that bikes are built for progress. Sometimes that means progressing into a whole new sport, like the way gravel racing has taken to the masses, finding attention internationally, when only years ago it was a niche for riders who wanted to write their own rules and create adventures that others balked at as crazy. In just over a decade the most popular gravel races have shifted from a starting list in the 30's to over 3,000 rowdy riders toeing the line on race day. And as such, proper bikes needed to evolve to keep up with the demands. Featherlight road steeds just don't cut it when your race involves 200+ miles of off road conditions varying from hard pack dirt to forging rivers, and knee-deep gravel grinds. Cervélo takes it upon themselves to craft the Aspero Ultegra RX Complete Bike to tackle these rough conditions — and with deliberate intent to satisfy the needs of those hunting for a spot on the podium.
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 in the world of geometry, and it comes into play on the Aspero to provide stability, regardless of the bike's size. It 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.
Cervelo completes this particular build with Shimano's Ultegra RX groupset to offer you precise shifting under pressure, and plenty of gears to take on the steepest pitches. The RX derailleur differs from Shimano's standard Ultegra derailleur in that it features a clutch mechanism much like we've seen in Shimano's MTB lineup. This clutch enables greater chain tension (but not so much that there's strain), which reduces chain slap and unwanted chain drops when you're riding in rougher conditions. The Ultegra RX was originally designed with rowdy cobbles in mind, and is built with the ability to take on some of the most iconic and roughest rides in the classics, like the Roubaix. As you'd expect with Cervélo, the Aspero is built with the wide and stiff BBRight platform, offering a bottom bracket that doesn't flex under pressure when you're on your final sprints to the finish line.
- A gravel bike built to charge at serious speed, not haul gear
- Steep seat tube and moderate head tube balance for comfort and speed
- 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
- 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
- Shimano's Ultegra RX has the benefits of Ultegra's sleek shifting, with RX clutch mechanism for better chain tension in rough terrain