Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Cervelo P5 Unveiled: Simply Faster!

The Union Cycliste Internationale, ruling party of all things bike racing, has been busy "clarifying" rules pertaining to bike design for most of its history. Frames and bike parts deemed legal for years are often found, quite suddenly, to be illegal. Recent victims have included the Specialized Transition, P4 water bottle, Cervelo seatposts, and the much-loved Vision time trial bars.

Growing weary of the changes and restrictions, which strike many as arbitrary and superficial, triathletes have campaigned for bikes that do not adhere to UCI rules, since most triathlons allow for much more design freedom. Bike makers have begun to answer the call. Spy pictures of a UCI-illegal "Illicito" from Quintana Roo have surfaced. Specialized had a brilliant release of the Shiv Tri, with Craig Alexander's Kona win as a fitting introduction. Now Cervelo has released their offering, the P5, which features a UCI-illegal fork, seatpost, and front end. But don't fear, roadies – there's a UCI-legal configuration as well.

Full details on the aerodynamic advancements have not been released yet (a whitepaper is coming) but the Cervelo website hints at the P5 being "30 seconds faster over 40k." It's not known if they are comparing the P5 Tri with the P4, but if so that would represent a significant leap forward, given that the P4 was already among the fastest, if not the fastest, bike on the market. The time savings implies that Cervelo may have trimmed another 75 grams of drag from the P4 to the P5, which would make it a complete outlier among bikes today.

Two Versions - UCI-Legal and Triathlon Specific

The Cervelo P5 frame is a completely UCI-legal and optimized shape. Several design features will appear similar to other recent super bikes such as the Scott Plasma 3 and Cannondale's prototype (currently being referred to as "the new Slice"). This is no accident, as the distinctive seat tube and head tube shapes are a logical consequence of the UCI's tube shape rules. Cervelo claims to have gone the farthest in maximizing these rules, resulting in deeper tube shapes in these regions than any other frame. The UCI-legal frame allows Cervelo to offer the bike in two configurations, one for triathletes and one for roadies. Those with the coin could even switch between configurations depending on the race. The UCI-illegal frameset comes with the following UCI-illegal bits to reduce drag even further:

  • A deeper, UCI-illegal fork that integrates with the Magura hydraulic aero brakes
    (~4 seconds per 40k time savings)
  • An aerodynamic, UCI-illegal front end cover for the front brakes
    (~3 seconds per 40k time savings)
  • A seat post allowing a more forward seat position adjustment
  • A custom, UCI-legal integrated aerobar, the 3T Aduro

Given that forks, head tubes, and aerobars sit up front hitting clean air, these changes should make for fairly large drag reductions compared to the UCI-legal frameset. The 3T Aduro offers the most potential advantage with its integrated design, adjustability, and water bottle mounting features. Fortunately, it's UCI legal, so roadies can use it too, though it doesn't come standard on the UCI-legal bike. Below you can see the P5 in three configurations, the standard UCI-legal bike with Magura aero brakes, the UCI-legal bike with a standard brake caliper, and the all-out triathlon setup (click to zoom):


The P5 frame features a bit more stack than the P3 in order to better accommodate the typical triathlete position. Those who prefer super low positions are not out of luck, however, as Cervelo assures the aero-minded that their 3T Aduro bar in X-Lo configuration allows lower positions than could be achieved on a P3 or P4. They claim the P5 allows more than enough adjustment to accommodate the entire Garmin team's positions, including Aero God Dave Zabriske. Cervelo has provided a stack and reach chart to aid in sorting out their new integrated aerobar system (below). When using the 3T Aduro bar, large stack adjustments are made with the 3 different configurations (X-Lo, Low, High-V). Fine tuning of the stack is done with under-stem spacers shaped to match the integrated stem. These under-stem spacers, once finalized, can not be adjusted much once the fork is cut to size. You can however make adjustments later with armpad riders. Any 3T, or Vision aero arm pad spacers will work.

P5 Features
  • BBright - Stiffness and weight +Click For Details
  • Dropped Down Tube - Integrates with fork and front wheel +Click For Details
  • Storage and Hydration - Carry water, food, and tools +Click For Details
  • Magura Hydraulic Brakes - Optimum aero and stopping power +Click For Details
  • Easy Maintenance - Easy traveling, wheels fit, standard parts +Click For Details
  • The 3T Aduro - Integrated, adjustable, fast +Click For Details

Specs, Pricing, Availability - ATC expects stock to begin arriving in March

Four configurations of P5 are currently offered, framesets and complete bikes in "TT" and "Tri" configurations. Details and pricing follow:

TT FramesetUCI-legal fork and seatpost, mechanical rear aero brakeN/A$4,500
TT Complete Bike3D Rotor BBRight Cranks, 3T Aura Pro Aerobar, Magura Hydraulic Brakes +aboveDura-Ace/Ultegra$6,000
Tri FramesetUCI-illegal fork and seatpost, hydraulic brakes, 3T Aduro AerobarN/A$6,500
Tri Complete BikeRotor 3D BBRight Crankset +aboveDura Ace Di2$10,000

More Info

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