Cervélo’s all-new C5 quickly won us over with its seamless blend of performance and comfort. It is light, agile, and fun to ride — not what you’d expect from an endurance bike. But fun is exactly the word that came to mind when chasing town line sprints and climbing steep hills aboard Cervélo’s newest addition.
The C5 combines a shallow head tube angle (71.5 degrees) and increased fork rake (53 millimeters), resulting in a trail figure that’s only 1 millimeter shorter than the 73-degree head angle and 43-millimeter rake of many race bikes. And the one-piece rear triangle and 79-millimeter oversized BBright bottom bracket made for faster than expected acceleration.
The C5 does feel a tad sluggish at slow speeds but is especially stable at high speed, which became apparent when carving down a steep and twisty descent on our test loop. The lower bottom bracket puts the bike’s center of gravity closer to the ground, lending stability through switchbacks and enabling us to hold smooth lines through sharp corners.
Make no mistake, this endurance bike is still a race-worthy steed. And we would expect that, given Cervélo’s history. But we didn’t expect this level of comfort. The geometry — a 180-millimeter head tube and 1,036-millimeter wheelbase — certainly helps, but the frame is clearly tuned for vibration damping.
The 28-millimeter Continental Grand Prix tires wrapped around Hed Ardennes Plus wheels also added to the smooth ride, minimizing vibrations from the road for a buttery feel over rough pavement. Thanks to the bike’s disc brakes, there is plenty of room for these supple tires with one Cervélo engineer even suggesting that 32-millimeter tires would fit.
As for aesthetics, that’s the one place we think Cervélo missed the mark. The C5’s glossy black and brownish-gold paint scheme did little to wow us. We prefer the lower level C3 model’s black, red, and white paint job.
Endurance bikes have an unfortunate reputation as being unresponsive or mushy under power, but a few of the new endurance offerings we’ve ridden this year admirably combine responsiveness and a smooth ride. Cervélo’s C-Series is no exception.
Component Highlights: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with 11-28 cassette; Rotor 3D+ 50/34 crankset and; Shimano RS805 hydraulic disc brakes; HED Ardennes Plus LT disc wheels