This review is brought to you by Roadbikereview contributor Joe Mackey aka @moseph1989

Cervelo has been busy this year, very busy. Between new bike launches and a successful pro tour season with Jumbo Visma, there has been plenty for the brand to talk about. Earlier this Spring Cervelo introduced their dedicated gravel race bike, the Aspero-5, and the focus on racing design is reimagined again with the launch of the new R5 that has already seen plenty of pro tour wins before going public. With a new fork design, internal cable routing, and reduced frame weight, the new R5 has become Cervelo’s go-to bike for big mountain days.

Cervelo R5 Highlights
  • Classic all-arounder updated as a climber's bike
  • Improved front-end compliance
  • New R5 frame is 130g lighter than the previous model
  • Frame weight of 703g with a 329g fork for a combined chassis weight of 1032g (claimed)
  • New internal cable routing
  • Disc brake only
  • Complete bike price range: $8,400 - $12,000
  • Frameset pricing: $5,000
  • Available now
Cervelo R5 Frame
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The goal for the new R5 was to transition the bike from a classic well-rounded road bike to a lightweight climbing bike while not compromising on stiffness. Reducing frame weight is a balance of shaving materials but making sure that the stiffness and responsiveness stays high. One of the main complaints Cervelo received from its pro team was that the bike's front end was too harsh and needed some refinement. This would translate to Cervelo engineers creating a new fork with less “longitudinal stiffness” compared to the previous version. While making the fork more compliant, Cervelo also dialed back some of the stiffness from the headtube.

While the front end of the bike was a major focus, Cervelo was also trying to maintain a headtube to bottom bracket stiffness ratio of 45% that was key in how the previous generation R5 performed. Cervelo removed surface area from the top tube and downtube for an overall weight reduction of 130-grams from the previous generation while maintaining a 44.8% stiffness ratio.
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Similar to the Caledonia-5 and Aspero-5, the R5 got a complete overhaul in the cable routing department. All of the cables and wires routing internally through the stem and steer tube for a completely clean setup. With all internal cable routing, Cervelo was able to reduce drag by 25g. While aerodynamics wasn’t a huge focus for this bike, the drag savings were a bonus. Cervelo also bumped up the tire clearance to a generous 34mm with 4mm of clearance and cleaned up the seatpost clamp by replacing a bulky rubber cover with a more integrated version.
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Cervelo kept the geometry the same with only a minor tweak in the trail by .5mm to accommodate the increased tire clearance. The R5 is disc brake only and uses Cervelo’s BBright bottom bracket system.

Cervelo R5 Build & Pricing
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This isn’t a budget bike by any means, all of the builds are higher end. Top shelf builds use Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (new 12-speed) and SRAM Red eTap AXS at $12,000. Followed by the Ultegra Di2 build at $8,700 and SRAM Force eTap AXS at $8,400. All bikes use Reserve 34/37 carbon wheels. Both of the SRAM-equipped bikes are coming with power meters. Cervelo will also offer these as frame-sets that will include bars, stem, and seatpost for $5,000. Dura-Ace Di2 equipped bikes are available today at local retailers with Ultegra equipped bikes shipping soon.

Cervelo R5 Ride Impressions
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I have been riding the (now) previous version of the R5 for about a year. It’s been my go-to for road miles—I even raced Belgian Waffle Ride this past summer. It’s stiff and responsive and quite versatile for having limited tire clearance. Needless to say, I have loved the bike.

When I was given the chance to try to new R5 I was curious if Cervelo could make a great bike even greater. Out of the box, I liked that Cervelo went with full internal cable routing making a very clean finish. Dialing in the fit, considering that the geometry is virtually identical. The SRAM hoods do add a little bit of reach to the bike,cerve so I had to accommodate by sliding my saddle forward a touch. The R5 is a light for a disc bike coming in at 16 pounds out-of-the-box setup tubeless—not bad for my 54cm test bike.

During the first ride, I could immediately feel a difference in the ride quality and compliance. I hadn’t received any information on the bike just yet and could tell they had done some work on making the bike ride smoother while still being responsive. Cervelo opted for a Prologo Skratch saddle which didn’t make it past the second ride for me, but saddle choice is completely subjective.

In many ways, it was the R5 I have known with a stiff and responsive demeanor when I was pedaling out of the saddle. I’m only about halfway through my testing phase, but I plan on putting in some more mountain days and even venturing off the beaten path.