Cervelo P5 SIX Di2 review£7,699.00

Faster than (ever) P4

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Cervélo’s P-series time trial bikes have become revered among the clock-chasing fraternity, with good reason. Always innovative, Cervélo sets the standard for others to beat, but can the P5 still cut it?

Bespoke bar

The cockpit has a bespoke and fully adjustable one-piece 3T carbon stem and base bar, with carbon extensions. The narrow base bar’s wing-shaped top allows the extensions to be raised with the sculpted aero support pictured, or with some tinkering, they’ll sit just on top of the bar, which is how we tested the bike.

Twin exhausts for a couple of tiny rocket motors, or bolts to clamp the dedicated aero seatpost? we’ll let you decide…:
Twin exhausts for a couple of tiny rocket motors, or bolts to clamp the dedicated aero seatpost? we’ll let you decide…:

Twin exhausts for a couple of tiny rocket motors, or bolts to clamp the dedicated aero seatpost?

A void within the stem hides the Di2 junction box and wires, plus hoses for the Magura RT8 hydraulic callipers. Their delta shape matches that of the fork crown, and a two-part aero cover ensures minimal leading-edge wind disruption. The rear brake is hidden behind a cowl under the bottom bracket.

Related: New Argon 18 E119 Tri ‘faster than a Cervélo P5’

The P5’s near-vertical carbon seatpost is topped with ISM’s Adamo Prologue split nose saddle. It looks unconventional, but is a massive help when riding hard in a tuck. Those vast tube junctions, plus really chunky asymmetric chainstays mean there’s no flex, and standing starts are only limited by your ability.

Docile-handling rocket

Di2 is excellent on most TT bikes, thanks to multiple shifter positions, but the Magura brake levers mean the only shifters are on the extensions, a limit when cornering, starting or climbing. Braking is as powerful and modulated as good mechanical brakes, but requires far less pressure.

HED’s 60mm deep rims are 27mm at their widest, with an aluminium braking track, contemporary aerodynamics and superb stability. They’re laterally stiff, happy to gain speed, and keen to keep it.

Are hydraulic rim brakes the future for wind- cheating tt bikes? we’re not convinced, but the maguras were very impressive:
Are hydraulic rim brakes the future for wind- cheating tt bikes? we’re not convinced, but the maguras were very impressive:

We found the hydraulic Magura brakes were very impressive

The Continental clinchers are solid performers too, fast, grippy and robust, although the 24mm rear has minimal brake clearance. We found the gearing ideal, and only the really rapid might want a bigger ring.

Related: The best 2016 TT and triathlon bikes at Eurobike 2015

As demonstrated by Fabian Cancellara, the P5 can be both predatory and pussycat. It’s possible to feel intimidated by a bike with limits far higher than yours, but it’s rewarding when you settle into the cockpit and begin to flow through turns and really wind it up.

The handling is docile and stable, unflustered by poor surfaces, building the confidence to ride faster, stay in the tuck for longer, and push your envelope. It’s not a cheap option, but as an off-the-peg clock worrier, the P5 still has few equals.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK, Procycling Magazine
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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