In its debut Tour de France, AG2R's Rinaldo Nocentini rode the BH G5 into the yellow jersey on that Tour's longest stage and highest finish, at Andorra Arcalis. He held the jersey through the next two Pyrenean stages, over the massive Col de Tourmalet, and through a handful of nervous transitional stages across the heart of France. The significance of this is that his ride to the top of the classification exemplifies the qualities of the G5 - long distance comfort, light weight, and sharp handling.BH built the G5 upon the foundation set by the G4, a bike legendary among climbing specialists. What was already a groundbreaking frame design, with its extended seat mast, the G4 was improved upon by careful examination of the carbon lay-up. Chris Cocalis, the man who brought you Titus and, more recently, Pivot Cycles, is the driving force behind BH USA. He is known for his nearly fanatical obsession with testing, and his engineering team strived to tune the ride and to optimize the lay-up of the existing bike. The result is the G5, a frameset that delivers twice the stiffness in the bottom bracket area and a 170% improvement in stiffness in the head tube. Amazingly, these improvements came without any increase in weight.The G5 frame and fork are constructed as monocoques. That is to say that they're each built as one structural unit, with the composite material laid into a mold and formed in one piece. This process ensures uniformity in the lay-up, but it also allows their designers the freedom to create complex tube shapes, such as the down tube on the G5. It's one of the most striking details of the bike. What you'll notice is a channel on the underside. Aesthetically it serves to hide the cables from view, and for this clean look you won't suffer the added few grams regularly associated with internal routing. In addition, the channel adds stiffness to the down tube, and BH includes an extra set of threaded mounts for a no-fuss mounting option for your Di2 battery.The G5 is also notable because its 100% carbon construction excludes any alloy bits whatsoever. To remove metal in certain areas of the bike frame required extensive engineering and design. The rear dropouts are a great example. Typical construction might use alloy dropouts, bonded-in after the composite layup has cured. The BH full carbon dropouts are formed along with the rest of the frame, and this process assures continuity in the material. The result is a more durable structure. And when you're looking at a frame that weighs significantly less than the lightweight wheels you'll hang on it, it's reassuring to know how strong it is when you're in an all-out sprint or attacking the group over a steep climb. This all-carbon method also eliminates the need to use alloy for the cups in the head tube and for the crown race seat on the fork. The molded-in carbon cable guides and braze-on front derailleur tab are also integral parts of the structure. Lastly, the Pressfit 30 bottom br
So this bike is great if it fits you. Handles like it's on rails, climbs like a goat, weighs nothing, insert cliche here, etc.. overall I'm extremely happy with it.
But BH needs to go back to the drawing board with their seat mast designs. Because it's proprietary, you can't swap it out, so it needs to be great. I've seen the G4, and at least the G5 seatmast is better, but it's still pretty bad.
If your saddle doesn't have a cut out, it's very very difficult to reach the nuts for the clamp. Even if it does, it's very hard to get everything torqued down so that the saddle doesn't slide in the rails. I was eventually able to get mine to hold by adding another washer, but this was a huge pain the first year I had the bike.
It can be a little tricky to position the front deraiuller on it's hanger, but once you do it stays put and shift great. Overall a very easy bike to work on as well. Cable management is well done on this frame.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: April 12, 2013
Strengths: Responsive, body english around holes and cracks, yet it tracks straight enough to stretch and go hands free. Very light, very fast, accelerates quicker than my legs will take it. Longer rides, easier more fun rides. Be careful if you are a newbie, you will go faster than many of the dead feeling frames out there.
Weaknesses: Zip, nada, like none.
Strengths outlined, it is quick, light, and a blast to ride. Jump potholes, lean with your shoulder to corner, light touch to lean on the brake lever and you just missed a hole, or a rock. Stand on it climbing a long pitch uphill and you will drop your friends like yesterday's lunch.
Similar Products Used: 1980's DeRosa w Super Record and sew-ups, Specialized Allez Ishiwata w Super Record, Roberts and Campy Record, too many touring bikes to count, mountain bikes ditto, 30 year rider...
Bike Setup: BH G5 full Ultegra, Vision wheelset with 23C Mavics, Look Keo Blade pedals, Ritchey Classic bar/stem.
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2012
Strengths: light, stiff, very responsive, nice paint, superb craftsmanship, completely all carbon frame (industry first), excellent fork, tapered headset, BB30 and wicked stiff, aero rear seatpost that accepts 25mm tires without issue, aero seat post, excellent customer service.
Weaknesses: since it is entirely carbon - two spots require tweaking when using Campy parts - the front deraileur hanger is all carbon and needs precise installation and torque settings. the rear dropout has very tight tolerances - some casettes/wheels need precise tightening/installation, so chain doesn't rub against frame when on smallest (11t) sprocket. tune it right, and it'll fly.
I've ridden the BH G2,3,4 and now G5. This is by far their best frameset. Aside from "weaknesses" above, I have no compliants. The IS on rails. Amazing power transfer. Nimble. Mountain Goat when climbing. knocked off time on all major climbs as compared to using other bikes I've owned. Fork is very nimble, absorbs road shock well, and is sure footed in steep descents. very very fast bike. It's as good as a Fuji Altimira when climbing, as comfortable as an Orbea Orca on long rides, and blows away whatever cervelo or trek has to offer. You feel as if you are in a "recumbent" position on this frame and it reduced neck and shoulder pain I had from other frames on long rides. It's a 5 star bike. I wish there were more local dealers. some people only buy a bike if they see all the advertising and sposors and TDF riders on one. This bike sells itself if you get to test ride one.
Strengths: Super responsive, climbs like a dream, stable and sure-footed on fast descents
Weaknesses: None so far
I just finished building mine up from a frame. I used basically the Dura-Ace setup, but substituted an FSA (standard) crank set. Wheels are Campagnolo Zonda, the seat is a Selle Italia C2. I'm currently using a 12-27 cassette, but have an 11-28 and a 12-25 as well, just to find the right sweet spot for the majority of my rides.
So far the bike is the most responsive of any bike I've ever owned. It climbs like a mountain goat, and descends stably and predictably. I've never felt so at ease going down my favorite local mountain road. On most of the other bikes I used I get a fair amount of front end chatter when the road gets rough, and it's murder on my hands and arms. This one has none of that - the fork just seems to absorb all the little shocks. The bike has a reputation for being "stiff", but I find that only with respect to the instantaneous power transfer when you put your foot on the pedals. No reduction in comfort compared to my other current bike, a Specialized Roubaix Expert.
I should add that I built this bike up myself with components sourced on eBay and elsewhere. I wanted to have the experience of building, and I feel richly rewarded. I learned a lot in the process and in addition probably saved a fair amount of money by going this route. BH USA is very helpful when there are questions along the way, and I couldn't have asked for better support.
To put this in perspective, I'm a 63 year old recreational rider (about 100 to 150 miles/week), 6ft tall and weigh around 185 lbs.
Strengths: ProTour level bike, aero rear wheel cut-out, light, stiff, quick, good power transfer. Although Asian manufactured, very sturdy build. Crashed twice while racing and couldn't even scuff it. Great seat mast set up!
Weaknesses: Had difficulty with the Campagnolo build. Asian built. Not an extensive dealer network.
Great crit bike and more comfortable than other race bikes by far. Had a Campagnolo build and you could definitely tell it was a Pro-level bike, staying in yellow with Ronaldo Nocentini (what ever happened to him?) for several days at the Tour de France. Good power transfer, lightweight (15.1 lbs for a 57cm), smooth, good for attacking or jumping out quickly for counter attacks. Love the semi-integrated seatmast that can be adjusted but still have the power and protection of an ISP.