If Cervélo didn’t invent aero road, the company has certainly been doing it at a high level longer than any other major builder. That heritage is apparent in the S5. It offers a refined blend of road feel and stiffness, the latter due in no small part to the burly, 79-millimeter BBright bottom bracket and short, 405-millimeter stays. The bike’s 73.5-degree head tube angle helps it knife through corners.
Once you’ve made your attack, the S5 is ready for an ambitious solo breakaway, with a rangy 55-centimeter top tube (size 54cm), wheel-hugging seat and down tubes, and house-brand aero drop bars. Though the bars are awkward up top, Cervelo claims they save 4.4 watts over a standard round bar.
The Mavic Cosmic Elite S wheels seem better suited for training than for racing, and we’ve never been huge fans of the matching Yksion Comp tires either. If you’re serious about racing on the S5, upgrade the wheels if you’ve got the cash.
The dramatic setback on the seatpost, combined with the long top tube, put the S5 out of reach of one short-legged tester who couldn’t get the saddle far enough forward. Those quibbles aside, and disregarding its polarizing aesthetic, the S5 offers a very good build on a great frame.
Component highlights: Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with Rotor 3D30 52/36 crankset and Ultegra 11-25 cassette; Shimano Ultegra brakes; Mavic Cosmic Elite S wheels