The Cervélo Caledonia is an aero endurance bike with 35mm tyre clearance and mudguard mounts

Can the Cervélo Caledonia rival the endurance bike big-hitters?

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2

Cervélo has launched the Caledonia – a range of endurance road bikes designed to take on the likes of the Trek Domane, Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse and Specialized Roubaix.

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The Caledonia is designed with big tyres in mind, with room for 35mm tyres and 30s fitted as standard, and incorporates a mudguard/fender mounting system for year-round use.

Cervélo is a company with racing at its heart and there are two versions of the Caledonia frame for different performance slants: the Caledonia 5 has aero-optimised tube profiles and an integrated cockpit, while the standard Caledonia uses more conventional shapes.

The Caledonia 5 points to a future of road bikes where aero, endurance and, with wide tyre clearance, all-road are combined into one bike.

There are eight bikes in the range in total, starting with the £2,799 Caledonia 105 and rising to the £9,699 Caledonia 5 Dura-Ace Di2. We’ve got the Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2 (£5,799) in for testing and will bring you a full review as soon as we’ve got enough miles under the wheels.

Cervélo Caledonia | Everything you need to know

  • It’s named after the Caledonia road in Cervélo’s HQ in Toronto, notorious for its poor condition
  • It was inspired by the Cervélo R3 Mud, on which Johan Van Summeren won the 2011 Paris-Roubaix…
  • …and it’ll be the bike of choice for Team Sunweb when Paris-Roubaix finally happens this October
  • It’s optimised for big tyres, up to a 35mm, and comes equipped with 30s
  • The Caledonia aims to be a year-round ride with a new mudguard/fender mounting system
  • The Caledonia comes in two distinct frame designs: the aero-optimised Caledonia 5 and the R-series-inspired Caledonia
  • Claimed weights: Caledonia 5 (936g frame, 370g fork), Caledonia (1,031g frame, 432g fork)

A Cervélo bike with a twist

Cervélo has always been one of the most race-focused bike brands out there, with a commitment to aerodynamics stretching right back to the Soloist in 2001.

Aero has remained at the heart of Cervélo’s bikes, right through to the current S-series machines, and the P-series time trial and triathlon bikes, while the latest R-series bikes built for GC riders combine lightweight and aero shapes.

Even last year’s Aspero gravel machine brought low weight and wind-cheating profiles into the mix for a fully race-focused dirt bike.

The C-series, which remains in the range, was somewhat of a departure; an early entry into the all-road arena and a bike capable both on- and off-road, but it still retained more of a performance outlook than most in the category.

That changes with the new Caledonia, according to Cervélo. The primary design goal of the company’s latest addition was to make a bike for a wider riding audience; a true endurance bike to compete with established names from Trek, Giant, Cannondale and Specialized.

But, Cervélo being Cervélo, where competition is at the very core of the brand, the added challenge was to make this a bike that would still serve the pro ranks for racing on the tough roads of the Classics.

Rough rider

Cervélo Caledonia
With mounts for full-length mudguards (not fitted here), the Cervélo is an endurance bike with year-round appeal.

Cervelo’s team at the company’s HQ in Toronto have a fiercely competitive Thursday night group ride, which normally takes in the nearby Caledonia road, notorious for its poor condition.

As a result, riders often choose between the brand’s race-bred R5 or the Aspero gravel bike, squeezing the biggest tyres they can into the R5 or road-tuning the Aspero with slicks and slamming the position.

This, Cervélo says, led to the engineering team setting out to make a bike that could handle the needs of real-world riders and still meet the requirements of racing – not to mention simply making a bike that they wanted to ride (not a bad thing in itself).

Led by head of engineering, Graham Strive, and director of product, Maria Benson, they looked into the Cervélo back catalogue for inspiration and found the team-issue R3 Mud, designed to handle the rigours of Paris-Roubaix.

The R3 Mud expanded tyre clearance to a 30mm tubular tyre – massive in 2011, a time when most riders were still using 23s as standard and 25s for rougher days. The Mud edition R5 also introduced a bit more compliance than the standard R3, to improve comfort on the cobbles.

Cervélo says the new Caledonia mimics the same lateral stiffness characteristics as the Aspero, while torsional stiffness closely matches the R-series bikes.

Shape of things to come

Over the last few years we’ve heard just about every brand out there talk about tube shape libraries of one sort or another, be it BMC’s super computer-driven ACE+ system, used on the latest Teammachine, Specialized’s win(d) tunnel-derived tube shapes, or Cannondale’s aero department, headed up by aerodynamicist Nathan Barry.

All of those brands owe something of a debt of gratitude to Cervélo, who started formulating its own tube shape library way back in 2010, with the still mind-bendingly light 675g R5CA (Project California).

“The [Caledonia] tube shapes all come from our tube library,” Cervelo told BikeRadar. “Thousands of iterations designed in-house as the building blocks of the design, taking into account strength, compliance, weight and even aerodynamics.

“We aimed at stiffness and torsion figures that are absolutely equal to our road bikes, so the Caledonia is pro bike stiff where it needs to be.”

In fact, Cervelo says the new Caledonia mimics the same lateral stiffness characteristics as the Aspero, while torsional stiffness closely matches the latest R-series bikes.

Crucially, for a bike like this, Cervélo also says the Caledonia has more compliance built into the chassis where it’s needed, either through the choice of materials or tube shapes.

And there are two versions of the frame to choose from…

Caledonian family

Cervélo Caledonia
The Caledonia 5 will apparently be raced by Team Sunweb at the Classics.

The Caledonia isn’t just one new chassis design. It is, in fact, two quite distinct frame shapes, though both do share exactly the same construction methods, materials and stiffness figures, according to Cervélo.

The range-topping Caledonia 5 looks much more inspired by the brand’s S-Series bikes (it even shares the same stem, split spacers and AB09 carbon bar as the S3).

The regular Caledonia, on the other hand, looks more like the brand’s R-series, with some of the Aspero gravel bike thrown in, with its standard head tube shape, round seatpost and even the top tube Bento box mounts.

What both frames share, however, is an aim to be versatile. Both come equipped with a selection of add-on mounts, including a bolt-on rear bridge and thru-axle adaptors which add threaded eyelets for full length mudguards (and drilled fork crowns at the front of the bike).

Both also have very generous tyre clearances at 35mm and with Cervélo’s full-length mudguards in place it’s still generous at 31mm. You also get a replaceable seat clamp cradle that includes a mount for a direct-mount rear light.

The Caledonia 5 occupies the upper end of the range and is the bike that offers the most integrated and clean-looking design.

The front-end uses a D-shaped steerer tube for the fork and, while the stem mounts conventionally to the steerer, its steerer eye is keyed to the same shape (no more wonky bars).

The cabling runs in channels on the underside of the AB09 drop bar, into the stem and down through the channel at the front of the head tube.

This, combined with split-aero spacers, makes the integrated front-end one of the easiest we’ve tried for making adjustments in bar height (the spacers flip-over and can sit above or below the stem) or for disassembling for travel. We’re all for the aero advantages of integration and internal routing when it’s made user-friendly.

Weight-wise the Caledonia 5 comes in at 936g for the frame and 370g for the fork (finished, painted, hardware fitted, 56cm) and the Caledonia at 1,031g for the frame and 432g for the fork (finished, painted, hardware fitted, 56cm).

Cervélo Caledonia geometry

Cervélo Caledonia
The Caledonia is designed to combine long-distance comfort and race agility.

The geometry on both bikes is the same and differs from existing Cervélos in being more about stable and smooth handling than the sharp reactions of the R-series.

That means relaxing the head angle slightly to 72 degrees with a 50mm fork offset (the R-Series has a 73-degree head and 45mm offset), which means the Caledonia gets a trail figure (the horizontal measurement from contact patch to steering axis) of 57mm on a 25mm tyre, rising to 60mm on a 30mm tyre.

The seat angle remains a regular 73 degrees, while the chainstays run out to a longer 415mm (the R5 has 410mm chainstays).

Those numbers do mean, however, that the Caledonia has more performance-orientated geometry than the often overlooked C-series, which has a slacker 71.5-degree head angle and longer chainstays at 420mm, along with more fork offset at 53mm.

Besides a whole new frame, what the Caledonia adds is more tyre clearance and, if we’re honest, we think it brings on the swan song for the C-series range.

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2 test bike

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2
We’ve got the Cervélo Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2 in to test.
Warren Rossiter / Immediate Media

We’ve got the Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2 (£5,799) in for test and will bring you a full review of Cervélo’s new performance-endurance bike in due course.

The Ultegra Di2-equipped bike comes with a 52/36t chainset combined with a wide 11-34t cassette – the kind of gearing you’d expect on a bike designed to be ridden fast and far, over varied terrain.

There’s also Cervélo’s AB09 carbon bar, a Prologo Dimension saddle, a D-shaped Cervélo carbon post and the new Reserve 35 carbon wheelset.

Reserve is a recently-launched collaboration between Cervélo and mountain bike supremos Santa Cruz, and the 35 carbon wheels here are shod with 30mm Vittoria Rubino Pro TLR tyres.

Our 58cm test bike weighs in at 8.62kg.

2021 Cervélo Caledonia range

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Dura-Ace Di2

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Dura-Ace Di2.
The top-of-the-range Caledonia 5 comes with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Enve wheels and a 4iii power meter as standard.
  • Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • ENVE SES 3.4 AR Disc wheels (25mm Internal)
  • 4iiii Precision dual-sided power meter
  • 30mm Vittoria Corsa Control TLR tyres
  • €10,999, £9,699. $11,000, AU$15,000

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Red eTap AXS

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Red eTap AXS
The Red AXS-equipped Caledonia 5 at £9,299 comes with Zipp’s new 303s wheels and a Red AXS power meter.
  • SRAM Red eTap AXS
  • Zipp 303 S wheels
  • SRAM Red AXS power meter chainset
  • 30mm Vittoria Corsa Control TLR
  • €10,499, £9,299, $10,000, AU$14,500

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Force eTap AXS

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Force eTap AXS
The Caledonia 5 is also available with SRAM’s second-tier Force AXS at £6,399. It also includes a power meter as standard.
  • SRAM Force eTap AXS
  • Reserve 35 wheels with DT 370 hubs
  • SRAM Force AXS power meter chainset
  • 30mm Vittoria Corsa Control TLR tyres
  • €7,199, £6,399, $7,000, AU$9,700

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Ultegra Di2

  • Shimano Ultegra Di2
  • Reserve 35 wheels with DT 370 hubs
  • 30mm Vittoria Rubino Pro TLR tyres
  • Available in two colours
  • €6,599, £5,799, $6,500, AU$9,700

Cervélo Caledonia 5 Ultegra

Cervélo 5 Caledonia Ultegra
The start of the Caledonia 5 range is this Ultegra-equipped model at £5,299 with DT Swiss E1800 wheels.
  • Shimano Ultegra
  • DT Swiss E1800 wheels
  • 30mm Vittoria Rubino Pro TLR tyres
  • €5,999, £5,299, $4,300, AU$6,400

Cervélo Caledonia 5 frameset