For 2012, Cervelo has rebadged the lower two “R” models as R3 and R3 Team and introduced the new R5 VWD (Vroomen-White Design) model between them and the top of the line, insanely expensive (and awesome) R5 CA, which you may know as the sub-700g framed Project California.
Cervelo likes to point out that it only has engineers, not industrial designers. Hence the recently introduced S5’s love-it-or-hate-it design. It, along with the other bikes, are purely about performance. We’ll actually be testing the S5 and the R5/R3 later in the year, but that’s another story.
Back to the R-series bikes. They all have the same frame shape with the “Squoval” (square-oval) tube shapes, the differences and weight savings come from the layup and construction.
The new R5 VWD will be available as a frameset (frame/fork) for $5,000 – half the price of the Project CA model. Frame weight is 750g for a 56, about 50-70g heavier than the PC but still really light. How light? We weighed it and the R5 CA after the break…
Essentially, all of the R-series bikes use the same frame with the pencil thin seatstays and Squoval-shaped downtube. It’s the construction of each that sets them apart. Visually, if they didn’t have the labels, you’d have a hard time differentiating them. The different frames maintain about the same stiffness across all R3 and R5 bikes to achieve a consistent feel, but they drop weight as you go up. All of the R models use a 1-1/4 to 1-3/8 inch tapered headtube.
The R5 VWD frame gets a little different internal layup than the R3 Team with different butting and construction to save about 75g. It comes with the Cervelo SL fork, which is just 290g and they say it’s stiffer than many competitor’s 350g+ forks.
Complete bike with Campagnolo Super Record 11 comes in at 13lbs 4oz.
The R5 CA here is built up in a totally blacked out, dream build with Lightweight wheels, SRAM Red and 3T cockpit.
Complete bike weight was 12lbs 8oz, but it could get quite a bit lighter if it wanted to.
R3 Team frameset is about 10% lighter than the base R3, with most of the weight coming from the fork. The R3 Team gets the same 290g SL fork as the R5 VWD and R5 CA, but the base R3 gets last year’s regular fork.
Complete bike is still only 14lbs 11oz.
Frame prices drop as expected down the line. Most of the bikes are available with Red, Dura-Ace, Di2, all the way down to a Rival group option for the base R3. They’ll also have the Super Record VWD pictured in this post.
One thing to keep in mind as you’re figuring out how to afford one of these is that they use Cervelo’s BBRight bottom bracket design. It’s an asymmetric shape that pushes the non-drive side out to create a wider, stiffer base. It requires BBRight cranksets, but considering the available drivetrain options on the complete bikes, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of choices. It’s more of an issue if you were simply planning on upgrading your frame and putting your current kit on it…you’ll at least need a new crankset.