Cervelo has long been known for the aerodynamic prowess of their TT bikes and S-Series road frames. Despite this, the R-Series frames, their lighter and stiffer offerings, have been the most popular among both pros and amateurs. Though subjective qualities like comfort and lateral rigidity play a role in the wide appeal of the R-Series, a large part of the equation is that lightness is simply irresistible to the cycling enthusiast. Unlike aerodynamic claims, which are somewhat abstract and unverifiable to the average customer, a light bike can be directly experienced. You can hold it in your hand – or balanced lightly on one finger, if it's an Rca – and feel the difference.
|Our 54cm frame came in at 630g|
Now cyclists burning the midnight oil over the choice between aerodynamics and stiffness and weight can rest easy, able to have it all in one bike. The new aerodynamic features save 100 grams of drag (more than 7 free watts at 25 mph) compared to other high-end, non-aero road frames, making it about 1/3 as aero as an S5. The Rca, lighter than anything else on the market, also maintains all the stiffness of previous R frames. But for now, to own one you'll have to pay the big premium that comes with Project California frames, at around $10,000 for the frameset. Those of us with more modest bank accounts can look forward to the new aerodynamic "Squoval 3" tube shapes trickling down to the regular R-Series production frames in the very near future.
- BBright - Stiffness & Weight +Click For Details
- The BBright bottom bracket takes advantage of otherwise unused space on the non-drive side by using an asymmetric shape to increase stiffness and reduce the weight of the frame. Additionally, it allows cranksets to improve stiffness and/or weight as components have no external cups that they have to clear, allowing for straighter components with less curvature. In the end, the BB+crankset system as a whole can be designed stiffer and/or lighter. BBRight cranksets are available from many manufacturers such as Rotor, FSA, and SRAM, and others can be made to work with adapters.
- Squoval 3 - Aero, Light, Stiff +Click For Details
- Following in the footsteps of bikes like the Scott Foil and the new Madone, the Rca adopts "truncated" airfoil shapes in many of its tubes. At first glance they may seem like the same ovalized rectangles of previous R-Series frames, but if you look closely you can see the airfoil treatment that has been introduced. The new Squoval-3 shape manages to reduce drag by about 100 grams at 30mph compared to leading non-aero frames. That equates to about 1 second saved per kilometer at normal cycling speeds, 40 seconds over 40k, or more than 7 free watts at 25mph. Despite these new aerodynamic improvements, stiffness remains unchanged, and weight drops lower than ever before. You really do get to have your cake and eat it too!
- Integrated Magnet - Aerodynamics & Aesthetics +Click For Details
- When building up a beautiful, lightweight, aerodynamic bike, nothing makes one cringe more than having to zip tie or glue an accessory to it. That is exactly what you have to do in order to install popular crank-based power meters or cadence sensors on most bikes. The Cervelo Rca comes prepared, with an integrated magnet built into the bottom bracket area, saving you from these aerodynamic and aesthetic sins.
- Nanotech Fork - Weight, Stiffness, Safety +Click For Details
- The Rca fork weighs in at just 300 grams before the steerer tube has been cut, meaning it will be well under 300 grams once it is fitted to your bike. This alone would be impressive, the result of clever engineering such as hollow, all-carbon dropouts instead of metal inserts. An additional feature on the Rca is entirely unique in the industry, however – a nanotech steerer tube coating. A point of much debate in cycling circles is the safety of carbon steerer tubes, which have to handle the stresses of riding as well as the clamping forces of stems, often overly tightened by owners. Carbon fiber is not as easily engineered to handle excessive clamping forces, but metal steerer tubes are not easily and safely merged into carbon forks, either. To solve this problem, Cervelo has used a new material licensed from 3M called "PowerMetal Nanovate." This 50 micron thick layer of nickel increases the "toughness" of the steerer tube, allowing Cervelo to make it light and safe.