Finally, the wait is over… I am blogging this beauty machine from Cervelo. It is Cervelo S3 and it is an aero road bike.
I got my bike just a day before Christmas. So, it was the best Christmas present I ever got for myself and am really happy about it. The design and the color of the Cervelo S3 is definitely a head turner. People will stare and some will stop and ask about the bike. This is a 2nd Cervelo bike I owned. The 1st was Cervelo Team Soloist which I have blogged about earlier. This time round, I got the carbon frame and my 1st carbon bike after having or had the other 3 bikes.
Nowadays companies are trying to maximize their profit by making a full range of bikes or either they are cash rich. Cervelo is one of the few that are still concentrating on road, tri and time trial bike. To maximize the profit, the bike is Made in China.
Frame: Cervelo S3 Carbon
Fork: Cervelo FK42
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 6800 11spd (except crank)
Crankset: Rotor 3DF BBright 52/36
Bottom bracket: Rotor PF-30
Cassette: 11speed, 11-25
Seatpost: Cervelo Carbon, Aero
Handlebar: 3T Ergonova Pro
Stem: 3T ARX Pro
Saddle: fi’zi:k Antares
Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Elite S
Tires: Mavic Yksion Comp
Weight: 7.3kg (51cm) without pedal
This bike is a total redesigned for 2014 model. They maintained the aero frame for the front and incorporated the R-series for the rear. As can be seen in the pic below, the seat stay is copied from the R-series which provides a better comfort and ride quality.
The bottom bracket has been redesign based on BBright technology which they developed and make it as open standard. They make the non-drive side 11mm larger than the other side and this oversize effect making the frame stiffer and lighter.
The bike comes with almost a full Ultegra groupset except for the crankset and BB. So, taking off the crankset, the groupset weights about 1.5kg. The total weight of this bike with pedals and 1 bottle cage is 7.52kg only. The weight mainly contributed by the heavier wheels which is 1770g for a pair without tires and tube.
This set of wheels is slightly heavier than my previous American Classic 420 Aero 3 by 250g. Is it that significant? I don’t believe so on the flat but I felt there is a flex when I was going uphill and out from my saddle.
This bike is able to take 25mm tires but when I put in the Continental GP 4000s II, there isn’t much clearance between the tire and seat tube. I wrote to Cervelo and asked if 25mm tires can be put and the answer was can but not Continental tires. 😦 Judge for yourself if you think 3-4mm is sufficient (the seat tube is curve inside).
But it has a lot of rooms for 25mm at the front (the pics below are with 23mm tire).
The Cervelo S2 and S3 are having the same frame except for the fork and the components used. The S3 fork is slightly thicker and larger which translate to a stiffer fork for better climbing. The components for S3 are better and lighter also.
Cervelo has been using or partnering with 3T for many years. The dropbar and stem used are 3T Ergonova Pro and ARX-Pro. Both are aluminium and weighs about 265g for the dropbar and 140g for the stem respectively.
All the cables are internal routed which are nicely hidden as in my previous Soloist. I read in the forum that some folks can even hide their Di2 battery pack.
The bike geometry of this bike and my Team Soloist has changed even with the same size I got. The more significant changes are the chain stays length. It has increased from 399mm to 406mm but that didn’t slow me down a bit. I will explain a little bit more later. The longer chain stays does provide a better ride quality for me. The Stack and Headtube length has increased 8mm respectively. So, it is more upright sitting (if you still have spacer). I feel these changes are providing a more comfort ride especially we are not getting any younger, so a more comfortable bike to ride now. If you are coming from an old S2/S3, you may want to do a bike fit 1st before getting the bike since they have different geometry now.
Ok, why I said the longer chain stays didn’t slow me down a bit. For those of you who follow my Strava; you can notice there is a stretch of straight and flat road in Penang and it is about 900m long. It is called the Teluk Bahang Sprint. On my old bike I can only do ~37-39 km/h for about 400-500m of that stretch only. With the new S3, I was surprised that I did a 45-47km/h and spin for ~800m long before I am all out. Also, I have reached a top speed of 51km/h. Yet, better still was a recovery ride for me after I got a motorbike accident.
Headwind? Not a problem with this bike. Seriously, when I rode at Teluk Bahang Sprint with strong headwinds, I can still sprint. The only thing held me back was my legs. Wish I can ask them to shut up. 🙂
As mentioned, the bike is very comfortable that I was still fresh after I rode for 130km and able to go for a swim with my daughter on a same day. With my Team Soloist, I won’t be able to do that even with 120km ride as my hands were numbed, legs were tired and body sored. So far this is the best bike I rode comparing with Cervelo Team Soloist and Boardman’s Team Carbon.
Coming from compact crankset to 52-36 chainrings, I find them slightly more effort is needed but not the end of the world. I have yet to try the steepest hill in Penang but it was manageable with the 2 smaller hills here.
The only thing that this bike is lacking of is climbing. It is not the best climbing bike I rode. I have tried the BH Ultralight and it is really able to climb like a mountain goat. The 2nd best I will go for is Boardman’s Team. The S3 does need to take a bit of extra efforts even with the lighter frame than Boardman. That could be probably due to the chainrings as well.
Ahh… the most heard complain is the bottom bracket. Somehow, it was noticeable in every S series bikes and you can read it a lot in the forum. The “tuck tuck” sounds can be very annoying especially you are riding alone and in the woods. The sound can be heard only when you are exerting force onto the crank especially when going uphill. During the flat road it remains very quiet. I wasn’t that upset because I already expected this before I bought the bike. Some were recommending putting Loctite or changing to ceramic bearing to solve it. So, it is not unsolvable but I just ignore it for now.
The wheels come with the Yksion Comp tires. I would strongly recommend that you change out the tires to any brand but this. I had 2 punctures within a week time and both times were caused by a small sharp rock that protruded inside the tire. I would understand if this is an old tire but I just had 370km on it only. I finally gave up on this tire and changed to Continental GP4000 SII 23mm.
This is definitely a very fast bike and if you have pair strong legs, this baby will fly. The bike is stiff enough for sprinting yet it is comfortable like you are riding a HT MTB on a road with wide tires. It can be a good bike for triathletes as you need the energy for the run after you have biked.
Lastly, if you like getting the attention, then this bike is definitely for you. Enjoy…