Pro Bike: Tyler Farrar’s Garmin-Cervelo Cervelo S3

American sprinter makes the move to an aero road bike

Garmin-Cervelo sprinter Tyler Farrar had passed over Felt’s aero road bike option last season but has made the transition in 2011 with the switch to Cervelo bikes.  An evolution of the earlier Soloist Carbon and SLC-SL machines, Farrar’s new Cervelo S3 looks to offer the slippery profile to cut through the wind but also the stiffness required to harness the American’s considerable power.


Bicycle manufacturers’ encouraging claims about their frames’ aero performance often fall on deaf ears as far as the general cycling public is concerned – after all, 10 seconds here or there over 40km probably won’t have much impact on whether or not you get home by dark.

But for a top sprinter like Tyler Farrar, small differences in aerodynamic drag can have a major impact when traveling at top speeds of around 70km/h (43.5mph).  At that rate, aerodynamic drag is the most significant force opposing forward motion and half a wheel comprises a time difference of just 0.002s or so – or in other words, the difference between winning and second place, which to him is obviously a very big deal.

“During my Race Engineer presentation to riders and staff at our Calpe training camp in January, I convinced the guys of the importance of aerodynamics – they had largely shunned the excellent Felt AR because “it wasn’t stiff enough”,” said Cervelo race engineer Damon Rinard.  “But I showed them data comparing the power lost to flex of different frames, and contrasted it with a comparison of power lost to aero drag of different frames (including Cervelo’s wind tunnel measurement of the Felt AR) – and now they’re Cervelo believers (and kicking themselves they should have ridden the AR last season).”

In many ways, Farrar’s new S3 is somewhat of a hybrid of Cervelo’s R-series and aero platforms, blending aero-profile shapes in the head tube, seat tube, down tube, and seat stays along with the excellent drivetrain efficiency and comfort of the R.  To keep frontal area low, though, the S3 sticks with a straight 1 1/8″ steerer and hourglass-profile head tube.  Clever internal cable routing feeds the derailleur lines into the top tube behind the stem where the air is already turbulent.

Despite all that surface area, claimed frame weight is still just 1,050g.

The team version of sram’s red doubletap levers sport a bigger logo than usual – presumably for finish line photos.:
Daniel Benson/

Big logos on the SRAM DoubleTap levers, presumably for finish line photos

The recent team sponsor reshuffling also finds Farrar on SRAM instead of Shimano componentry, including the company’s top-end Red group with team-issue graphics on the carbon fiber DoubleTap levers and a steel cage on the front derailleur instead of the standard titanium one.  As do most pro road riders we’ve seen, Farrar is also using the quieter-running PG-1070 cassette instead of SRAM’s lighter – and tricker – PG-1090 PowerDome model.  Rotor steps in with its meaty 3D machined alloy crank and round chainrings, though, and both are connected with an SRM power measuring chainring spider.

Aside from the new brake hoods, however, the rest of the ‘touch points’ on the bike are conveniently carried over from Farrar’s previous setups.  Still present are the fi’zi:k Pavé saddle, 3T bar and stem, and Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals (albeit the new carbon fiber ones). Mavic continues on as the team wheel sponsor, too.

No surprises here: garmin’s edge 800 occupies prime real estate atop the 3t stem.: no surprises here: garmin’s edge 800 occupies prime real estate atop the 3t stem.
Daniel Benson/

A Garmin Edge 800 adorns the 3T stem

Camelbak and Arundel again provide the water bottles and cages, respectively, and of course, Garmin’s latest Edge 800 touchscreen GPS computer is perched atop the stem. 

Total weight as pictured – and as quoted by team mechanic Kris Withington – is 6.80kg (14.99lb) on the nose.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Cervelo S3, 56cm
  • Fork: 3T Funda Team
  • Headset: FSA Orbit IS-2 Carbon
  • Stem: 3T ARX-Team, 120mm x -6°
  • Handlebars: 3T Ergonova Pro
  • Tape/grips: 3T
  • Front brake: SRAM Red
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red w/ steel cage
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1070
  • Chain: SRAM PC-1091
  • Crankset: SRM PowerMeter Rotor 3D Standard, 53/39T
  • Bottom bracket: Rotor
  • Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7900
  • Wheelset: Mavic Ksyrium Elite
  • Front tire: Mavic Yksion Powerlink, 700x23c
  • Rear tire: Mavic Yksion Powerlink, 700x23c
  • Saddle: fi’zi:k Pavé CX
  • Seat post: Cervélo Aero SL
  • Bottle cages: Arundel Mandible
  • Computer: Garmin Edge 800
  • Other accessories: Rotor Chain Catcher

Critical measurements

  • Rider’s height: 1.83m (6’0″)
  • Rider’s weight: 74kg (163lb)
  • Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 765mm
  • Saddle setback: 70mm
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 535mm
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 475mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 586mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 90mm
  • Head tube length: 160mm
  • Top tube length: 565mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 6.80kg (14.99lb) as quoted by mechanic