You’d be hard-pressed to find a group without that one peeping voice in the corner from the kid who wants to fit in. Nothing deters that kid, who’ll naively charge into any scenario, not quite grasping the ‘not here, not now’ response.

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Much like Cervélo C5, this delightfully naïve approach can be interpreted as the C5’s desire to have more fun and take life less seriously. With such brilliant handling, the fun never ends on this ride, and the C5 is a bike that’s capable of so much more than a regular high-end road bike.
A brand known for its thoroughbreds, Cervélo claim to have designed the C5 with the intention of ‘extending your season and helping you to be faster and go further on the most varied of terrain.’ After our testing, it’s entirely possible that they underplayed the C5’s abilities, and we’re wondering if it could potentially be the world’s first bike to exceed marketing hype.

Cervelo C5 | 7.60 kg | € 7,999
Cervelo C5 | 7.60 kg | € 7,999

Standing next to the rest of the high-end bikes on test, the Cervélo isn’t the most aesthetically appealing in a traditional sense. However, while its flowing tube profile with long stem and svelte seat stays allow for a comfortable ride and doesn’t scream speed, the C5 clocked up the most kilometres during the test week, so it clearly captured our hearts and legs.

Cervelo-C5-5 Cervelo-C5-6

The C5 is one of those bikes to cherish, one that gives you the immediate sense that you’ve picked the right one off the stand. On paper you could argue it’s down to the harmonious combination of the slack 71.5° head angle, the 53 mm fork rake, the 75 mm bottom bracket drop and long 420 mm chainstays, but whatever it is, the bike has a great handling package of liveliness and stability, one of those easy-going, can’t-get-enough-of-it bikes. Riders with a mind focused on racing might take a while to get used to the slacker angles, but the C5 is ready to take on anything that gets thrown at it, and it’s more than equipped with powerful disc brakes and 28c Grand Prix tyres from Conti.

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Cervelo C5 in detail

Clearance: more tire clearance of the Cervélo C5 in front would leave more options to the rider.
Clearance: more tire clearance of the Cervélo C5 in front would leave more options to the rider.
Bigger is better: Although the 140 mm discs work impeccably, we'd prefer 160 mm discs in front on longer downhills.
Bigger is better: Although the 140 mm discs work impeccably, we’d prefer 160 mm discs in front on longer downhills.
Could be smoother: The Rotor chainset doesn't shift as smoothly as the Shimano. but ofeers the option of oval chainrings.
Could be smoother: The Rotor chainset doesn’t shift as smoothly as the Shimano. but ofeers the option of oval chainrings.

Specifications of the Cervelo C5

  • Drivetrain: Shimano Dura ACE 2X11 SP
  • Gear: Chainrings: 50/34 | Cassette: 11-28
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-RS805 140 mm
  • Tyres: Continental Grand Prix 180TPI
  • Wheelset: HED Ardennes Plus LT Disc
  • Weight: 7.60 kg
  • Price: From € 7,999
Geometry of the Cervelo C5
Geometry of the Cervelo C5

But does the fun have to end? Those screechy kids don’t know when to give up, and neither does the C5. You won’t be winning city centre crits with this bike, but it still has the capacity to hold its own in a race. At 7.6 kg for an endurance-oriented, disc brake-equipped bike, its true strengths lie in long rides thanks to the immense comfort and stable handling, allowing those final few exhausted kilometres to be overcome.

Conclusion

So who is the Cervélo C5 aimed at? Riders with an aversion to fun will probably not see eye to eye with this bike. But for the rest out there, it’s a veritable do-it-all with some peculiar and more playful genes. Successfully blending the ability to endure long days in comfort, it’s a down-to-earth bike designed for riders who aren’t enamored by the bikes of the pro peloton, preferring endurance over elite eye-catchers.

Strengths

  • Superb handling, brilliant riding position
  • A broud potential for rides and roads

Weaknesses

  • Small discs (160 mm would be better for the front)

For more information check the Cervelo Website.

About the test

With 10 test riders descending on Barcelona from across the globe, we dedicated 9 days to pushing this season’s most exclusive and exciting and exciting bikes to their limits in a one-of-a-kind group test. Each rider brought his or her own specific experience to the process, with a test team comprised of four women and six men, including former Tour de France riders, biomechanics, bike shop owners, tour guides and amateur riders. In short: a gathering of highly experienced and well-versed road riding enthusiasts. Our goal was a simple one, to give you all the information needed to make you a winner: Why? Becuase life’s too short to ride the wrong bikes.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The 10 most exclusive and exciting bikes in Test



All bikes in test: Storck Aernario Platinum G1 | Specialized S-Works Venge | Ritte Ace | Focus Izalco Max Disc“ | Festka One LT Dazzle | Crema Doma | Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 | Bianchi Specialissima | Trek Madone 9.9

Words: Markus Ybanez, Robin Schmitt, Emmie Collinge Photos: Constantin Gerlach, Klaus Kneist, Christoph Bayer