R5 Ultegra R8000 Complete Bike
The R5 from Cervelo hardly needs an introduction. If you've flipped through a road bike magazine or watched a professional road race in the past decade, chances are you've either read a glowing review or watched a rider aboard crossing the finish line with their arms in the air. Its success really comes as no surprise since the frame prioritizes its stiffness to weight ratio and is supremely comfortable during 3-week stage races and 6-hour cobbled classics alike. If we had one area of concern, it would be its relatively high barrier of entry which is understandable given its material choices and heavy R&D. Thankfully, Cervelo offers it in its R5 Ultegra R8000 Complete Bike option that's only $800 more than the frameset alone making it the most economical way to get into a complete R5.
The first thing you notice when you hop aboard an R5 is its impressive stiffness and geometry that magically shapeshifts between stability and agility when you need it most. Cervelo was able to make the R5 stiffer at key points while still remaining featherweight. In fact, it claims the disc version of the R5 is its stiffest road frame to date. By placing such an emphasis on that stiffness to weight ratio it results in a bike that leaps forward with each pedal stroke yet isn't a wet noodle that's unruly on steep, technical descents and remains predictable at speed.
Cervelo achieves this feat by building up the frame using special carbon layups and construction techniques, allowing it to reduce the frame's weight while making it stiffer. It uses advanced engineering software like Finite Element Analysis (FEA) that allows it to better understand exactly how each layer of carbon fiber is working and if it's being used properly. Its carbon expertise prescribes a specific frame layup by placing hundreds of individually cut plies of carbon in a mold in a certain order and orientation. By precisely cutting these plies, the frame is able to be made lighter while still achieving the desired strength and reliability.
And because different areas of the frame experience different loads while climbing, sprinting, and descending, to better cope with these forces, Cervelo creates different layups by placing the fibers at different angles in specific areas for the desired metrics. In addition to reducing weight, maximizing strength and stiffness, it's also instrumental in how comfortable the bike is to ride and it's backed up with extensive in-house testing and real-world experience.
All of that stiffness doesn't come at the expense of a harsh ride that rattles fillings loose. Cervelo addresses the ride quality with its refined carbon fiber layup, a 27.2mm seatpost with special flat back design, and plenty of tire clearance for rubber up to 28mm wide. In addition to gaining more comfort, fatter tires improve traction and lower rolling resistance.
We can't talk about a racing bike without touching on frame geometry and the R5 gets Cervelo's Pro Road Fit which is its lowest frame stack height and it enables a more aerodynamic riding position. It’s a well-known fact that the majority of the resistance you must overcome while riding comes from the air and most of that drag is caused by the rider, so Cervelo heeded the advice of its pro racers on Team Sunweb who want to get their bars as low as possible for maximum aerodynamic advantage, and made the stack low. It's certainly more aggressive than its Elite Fit Road on the R3 and R2 and the Endurance Fit of its C-Series bikes, so if comfort is paramount or you don't want to run a ton of spacers under the stem, you might want to glance at the geo charts.
Returning Cervélo features include its BBright bottom bracket and Squoval Max tubing. It developed the wider BBright standard in an effort to increase stiffness by taking advantage of the real estate at the bottom bracket shell, seat tube, down tube, and chainstay. Additionally, it plays well with all major crank standards. Squoval Max tubing allows the design engineers the ability to use the best attributes of a square and oval shape to improve the bike's ride quality while minimizing weight and maximizing stiffness. And while not as out-and-out aero as its S-Series lineup, its tube shapes and internal cable routing do serve as some aero tricks up its sleeve when you're driving off the front of the pace line. Also, that before mentioned rider position has a bigger impact on drag reduction than any amount of tube shaping or manipulation can achieve.
The 5-series frames are always Cervelo's top-tier offerings where the engineering and technology are at its highest, before trickling down to its other frames. As such, the R5 receives constant refinements through material use, tube shapes, and carbon layups in an effort to boost stiffness, improve ride quality, and drop grams. Compared to previous generation R5s, this version has a 44-gram reduction in aero drag, and it's 21 percent stiffer at the head tube and 13 percent stiffer at the bottom bracket, channeling all of your power directly to your rear wheel while descending with confidence.
Lastly, we love all of the small details that make a Cervelo a Cervelo. Things like its Future-Proof Cable Management system allows for full compatibility across mechanical, electronic, and hydraulic brake and derailleur systems. Its interchangeable cable stops snap into the frame and is easily swapped out by hand to accommodate different builds. And for those that prefer tried and true mechanical shifting, you'll appreciate its Reduced-Friction BB Guide, which maintains a consistent curve for each cable path that avoids extreme bends or kinks. The result is significantly reduced friction, easier setup, smoother shifting, and longer service intervals.
This particular R5 gets a solid build with a Shimano Ultegra group that shifts accurately and remains durable for many seasons. DT Swiss P1800 Spline 32 wheels handle the rolling stock and remain durable and true even over the roughest roads. Finally, Cervelo's house-brand components handle the cockpit duties further adding durability and value to this build.
- A road bike for those who seek value and performance
- Frame design and layup balances comfort and efficiency
- Squoval tube shapes blend weight savings, stiffness, and comfort
- BBright BB shell sends all the watts to the rear wheel
- 28mm tire clearance cushions chip-seal and pockmarked pavement
- Mechanical Ultegra drivetrain shifts reliably and is dependable
- Proven in Grand Tours and one-day classics alike
- Cervelo continues to manufacture some of the most technologically advanced frames on the market