By Rick Schultz
As a USAC coach and elite bike fitter, one question I get all of the time is, “What do you ride?”
I currently have three bikes. A 2012 Cervelo R5CA, a 2015 Giant TCR Advanced and a 2018 Trek Madone 9.4. They share the chainring gearing, and all three have dual power meters from different manufacturers. The Cervelo is running Assioma DUO power meter pedals, the Giant is running Rotor 2inPower and the Trek dual 4iiii. All three bikes have Bryton sport head units.
Years ago, I test rode for Cervelo and helped test the original S5 prototype. When the testing was complete, they gave me a 2012 R5ca for long-term testing. The bike came with Garmin Cervelo team-issue SRAM red with Zipp 202 tubulars. It weighed in at 10.5 lbs. (4.76 kg). That’s so light that a 5 lb. (2.268 kg) steel weight had to be added to the ones that the pros used to make it UCI legal to race.
After wearing out the original SRAM red, I replaced the components with a brand new 6800 Ultegra groupset. When that wore out, I went back to the designer and builder of this bike and he drilled several holes in the frame so we could build it using a Shimano Di2 drivetrain.
The next upgrade was the Rotor Q-Rings. I use 52/34 chainrings as I believe that gives me the best of both worlds, compact & mid-compact gearing. In 2018, I clicked over 50,000 miles (80,470 km) on the frame and forks. I swapped out the old forks with a new set of Cervelo full-carbon forks pictured below. As of February 1 of this year, the Cervelo frame has 55,000 miles (88,515 km).
During 2018 and 2019, I primarily rode my Giant TCR Advanced. Now, in 2020, I will put another 5,000 miles (8,047 km) on the Cervelo to make it a round 60,000 miles (96,560 km). It’s still holding up well and still the best riding bike I have ever been on.
Since the Cervelo is primarily a climbing bike, I try to keep it as light as possible, but, as reliable as possible as well. I know there are lighter components, but I would rather not have anything break on me while riding, especially descending. Here’s the configuration.
- Wheels: Shimano Dura-Ace C24
- Not the lightest but the most durable.
- Derailleurs: Rear: Ultegra Di2,
Front: Dura-Ace Di2
- Still rock-solid even after all of these years and miles
- Shifters: Dura Ace 9070 Di2
- Love the buttons on top, programmed to change the pages of the head unit.
- Crankset: 170mm Ultegra 6800 with
Rotor Q-Rings 52/34
- Yes, I’m 6’0” (183 cm) tall and prefer 170mm crank arms. This puts my knees into the ‘green zone.’ My experience is that most cyclists are running crank arms that are too long for them causing knee-pain.
- Cassette: 11-32
- This maxes out the rear derailleur. On my Giant TCR Advanced, I am running 11-34 using a long cage Ultegra 6800 GS.
- Pedals: Favero Assioma DUO
- Great set of pedal power meters and the only power meter pedals I recommend. Why? They only increase stance width 1mm each side (54mm vs 53mm for standard pedals). Easily paired and have been rock solid!
- Head Unit: Bryton Sport Aero 60
- Been using the tried and true 530. Never had a failure. Easily programmed and easy to pair. Just recently installed the new Bryton Aero 60.
Selle SMP VT30C
- Surprisingly comfortable. For setup, I had to tilt the nose up about a degree as I felt I was sliding off the front when it was level. Never had any hot spots nor any rubbing nor numbing. Great saddle and value for $179.00
So, the Cervelo will be my main rig for the next six months as I want to hit the 60,000 miles (96,560 km) mark.
In my opinion, it’s still the best bike ever built. I guess it’s proved all of the nay-sayers wrong who told me back in 2012 and 2013 that the frame was too light and would never last.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he's a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He's the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick's full bio.