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Ultimate time-trial bikes: Cervélo P5 Three

Cyclist magazine
28 Jul 2017

The fastest incarnation yet of the Canadian speedsmith's original time-trial weapon

This feature was produced in association with Cervélo.

There are few names that embody the notion of pure speed like Cervélo.

The Soloist arguably created the aero-road concept in 2002, but it was in the time-trial arena that the Toronto-based company cut its teeth, debuting the outrageous Barrachi TT bike in 1995, followed by the first iteration of the P-series a year later.

‘That was the P2,’ says Cervélo’s Alex Croucher. ‘Wind-tunnel testing was at the heart of that project, and two decades’ worth of experience later, it remains at the core of our design process with the P5.

‘Things are even more advanced now – we use a life-size mannequin based on a 3D scan of [former pro] Dave Zabriskie that sits and pedals the bikes in the tunnel, so the P5 is optimised for a rider in the real world, not just to win aero tests.’

As such, Cervélo claims the P5 is ‘6-11 watts faster than rival time-trial superbikes’.

This is in part down to a wheel-hugging frame that creates an almost homogenous shape to slice through the wind, and a smartly integrated cockpit designed by sister brand 3T.

It says a lot for the Cervélo’s aero credentials that it has become the go-to choice for British Cycling’s track programme.

‘BC ride a variant of the P5 on the track – the T5. So that’s how fast this bike is. However it’s not just enough to make a fast bike, it also has to ride well,’ says Croucher.

‘With that in mind, we’ve built around our proprietary, wide-stance BBright bottom bracket to increase pedalling stiffness, and used a seatstay design similar to our S-series road bikes to add vertical compliance.

‘Our motto is “aero is always on”, but there isn’t much point in that if it doesn’t actually benefit the rider out on the road.’

Cervélo P5 Three
Sram eTap with Magura RT6 hydraulic brakes
Wheels: HED Jet 6 Black
Finishing kit: 3T Aduro cockpit, Cervélo Carbon Aero seatpost, ISM PS 1.0 saddle
Weight: 8.57kg
Price: £8,499 approx as pictured

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