The newly introduced Cervélo Áspero wants to shake up our group test with its pedigree gravel performance and its “Trail Mixer” fork design. Is its competitive nature compatible with adventuring and bikepacking, or is gravel simply the wrong place to race against the clock?

Click here for an overview of the best gravel bike 2020 group test.

Cervélo Áspero | 8.57 kg (size 58) | € 6,000

The Cervélo makes a good first impression with tidy, flowing lines that draw your eyes. But then something catches your attention: a UCI label on the seat tube, denoting the bike’s approval for official competition use. Further nods to performance include aero shaping of the tubes which underline the purposeful racing character. The Áspero is purpose-built to win you KOMs and trophies, but not to transport your luggage. You’ll only find mounts for three bottle cages and a top tube bag with none for either mudguards or racks. Instead, the concept aims to stand out with its ability to take and adapt to a range of wheel sizes. The Áspero can fit up to 700 x 42C or 650 x 49B wheels. The “Trail Mixer” fork uses oval inserts in the dropouts that allow the rake to be adjusted by +/- 5 mm. That helps keep handling consistent even when switching wheel sizes. In addition, the adjustable “Trail Mixer” can also be used to tune the handling of the bike with the same wheel size, allowing the factory-spec Donnelly X’Plor MSO TR 700 x 40C tires to be changed from the more agile, to more stable position. However, because the brake mount also has to be moved, this isn’t an adjustment you’ll want to make while out on the road. Our test bike in size 58, equipped with a SRAM Force eTap AXS 1×12 drivetrain and DT Swiss GRC 1650 disc wheels, costs € 6,000 and weighs 8.57 kg.

Helmet POC Omne Air SPIN | Glasses Oakley Wind Jacket 2.0 | Jersey POC Essential Enduro Light | Shorts POC Essential Enduro Light | Socks Stance Socks | Shoes Dromarti Sportivo Touring Terra

The Cervélo Áspero in detail

Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS 36 t
Gearing 10-33 t cassette, 1×12
Brakes SRAM Force HRD, 160/160 mm
Handlebar Easton EC70 AX, 440 mm
Stem Easton EC90, 110 mm
Seatpost Easton EC70, 0 mm offset
Wheels DT Swiss GRC 1650 disc
Tires Donnelly X’Plor MSO TR 700 x40C

The oval “Trail Mixer” insert allows the rake to be adjusted by +/- 5mm.
Nicely shaped
The ergonomics of the 440 mm Easton EC70 AX bar convinced our whole test crew.
Cover up!
A cover conceals mounting points for an optional top tube bag.
Good team
The combination of DT Swiss GRC 1650 disc wheels and the Donnelly tires is an efficient pairing for acceleration and riding at high speed.
Size 48 51 54 56 58 61
Top tube 512 mm 532 mm 553 mm 575 mm 591 mm 608 mm
Head tube 83 mm 107 mm 133 mm 159 mm 188 mm 214 mm
Head angle 71.0° 71.5° 72.0° 72.0° 72.0° 72.0°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.0° 73.5° 73.0° 73.0° 73.0°
Kettenstrebe 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm
Radstand 990 mm 1.000 mm 1.010 mm 1.027 mm 1.046 mm 1.063 mm
Reach 370 mm 379 mm 388 mm 397 mm 406 mm 415 mm
Stack 505 mm 530 mm 555 mm 580 mm 605 mm 630 mm

The Cervélo Áspero in review

The Áspero picks up speed very quickly and responds to every turn of the cranks by surging forwards. But this gravel rocket isn’t done there. It continues to hold its speed, keeping you engaged and efficient on the flats! The comparatively long 406 mm reach generates good stability on the straights which makes the bike’s cornering all the more surprising. While the front reveals an aggressive and sporty character, changing direction willingly and quickly, the rear of the bike is a little more sluggish and can feel like it’s being dragged along for the ride. The rear isn’t sluggish per se, but it feels a little at odds with the agile front end.

Tuning tip
Go for a smaller frame and longer stem to put more pressure on the front wheel and slow down the steering.

The Áspero handles just as quickly as it pulls away in the standard fork setting. Hammer on the pedal, but keep a light touch at the bars!

Turn onto more technical terrain and you may find that you clip your pedals every now and again due to the long 175 mm cranks and large 73.5 mm bottom bracket drop. This is where you have to understand that the strengths of the Áspero lie in riding compacted gravel tracks that you can fly along at 30 km/h. This is the kind of riding the aggressive position is particularly well suited to. Likewise, the comfort of the bike is more than acceptable considering its performance focus and in general, the excellent damping of the frame and the Donnelly tires effectively isolate the rider from vibrations.


The Cervélo Áspero is a gravel rocket purpose-built for speed that will allow ambitious gravel racers have fun hunting for seconds on rough roads and compacted ground. However, for beginners and leisure riders, the agile handling in the standard fork setting could be overwhelming on challenging terrain. Ultimately, if you have the skills and watts to handle the Àspero’s character, you’ll find yourself aboard a very fast gravel machine!


  • high-quality workmanship
  • purposeful concept
  • light-footed and efficient when accelerating and at high speeds


  • low ground clearance on technical terrain
  • limited gear range due to small cassette and 1x drivetrain
  • changing the fork offset also requires the brake to be adjusted

Riding Characteristics



  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data


Size: 48 51 54 56 58 61
Weight: 8.57 kg
Price: € 6,000

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3

For more info:

Click here for an overview of the best gravel bike 2020 group test.

All bikes in test: Argon 18 Dark Matter | Cannondale Topstone Carbon Ultegra RX | Canyon Grail AL 7.0 | Cervélo Áspero | Giant Revolt Advanced Pro Force | Kona Libre AL | Liteville 4-ONE MK1 | OPEN WI.DE. | Pivot Vault Team Force | ROSE BACKROAD GRX RX810 Di2 | Santa Cruz Stigmata CC | Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert EVO | Standert Pfadfinder | Trek Domane SLR 9 eTap

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Words: Photos: GRAN FONDO-Team