Cervélo releases ZHT-5 hardtail as its first-ever mountain bike

The ZHT-5 opens Cervélo's bid to be a leader in the “emerging multi-discipline market”

Man riding Céverlo ZHT-5.

Cervélo has moved into the mountain bike market with the ZHT-5, a cross-country mountain bike that prioritises low weight and efficiency.


Cervélo says the ZHT-5 is “purpose-built” for XC racing and it will make its race debut at the first round of the XCO World Cups in Valkenberg, Netherlands, next May.

The hardtail frame is designed around a 100mm-travel fork and 29in wheels.

Cervélo says it has kept the geometry “rationally progressive” with a 68.5-degree head tube angle.

The ZHT-5 is currently available in two builds with electronic drivetrains from SRAM, but Cervélo says it can also be built with mechanical mountain bike groupsets.

The lower-specced ZHT-5 costs £5,000 / €5,299 and the higher-specced model costs £8,500 / €9,999.

Why has Cervélo released an XC mountain bike?

Milan Cader’s Cervélo ZHT-5 in Jumbo-Visma livery.

Cervélo has released the ZHT-5 XC mountain bike with the ambition to be a leader in what it describes as the “emerging multi-discipline movement”.

The brand says it sees a “shift towards multidisciplinary racing”, where professionals such as Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel and Marianne Vos compete on the road and in XC mountain bike racing.

Team Jumbo-Visma, who Cervélo provides with bikes, has also signed Dutch cross-country champion Milan Vader and the ZHT-5 will be the bike he will race at the 2024 Olympics.

The bike has 100mm of travel.

Cervélo says its trajectory in 2022 has been ‘positive’ and releasing an XC bike will help it sustain brand loyalty and growth.

Cervélo is owned by PON Holdings, which also owns Santa Cruz, putting the brand in prime position to branch into cross-country mountain biking.

Low weight and avoiding the ‘lunatic fringe’

Cervélo says the ZHT-5 is fast downhill.

The ZHT-5’s carbon fibre frame weighs a claimed 870g (size medium). Cervélo says this is competitive with XC bikes from top brands.

For context, the claimed weight of the ZHT-5 is less than 50g heavier than similar hardtail cross-country race bikes from Canyon and Orbea and a bit further off the sub-800g claimed weight of the Specialized 2020 Epic HT.

Cervélo says it has aimed to balance the low weight of ZHT-5’s frame with the ability to descend confidently and aggressively.

Cervélo hasn’t gone into great detail on how it has achieved this balance, but it does say the ZHT-5’s geometry avoids the “lunatic fringe” of ever longer and slacker bike design, instead settling on a geometry that, the brand claims, keeps your weight centred and stable instead.

Frame details

Fewer holes will probably mean less mud and water ingress.

The ZHT-5 routes hoses and cables internally. Cervélo says this is to reduce cable exposure, adding that reducing the number of holes in the frame keeps weight low, presumably because there are no cable guides or plugs required if holes are not used.

Cables and hoses run into the frame through the headset cover. Cervélo provides different headset cover parts for a variety of setups, including electronic or mechanical 1x drivetrains and dropper post cabling.

The bike uses a 73mm threaded BSA bottom bracket and SRAM’s universal rear derailleur hanger standard.

Cervélo ZHT-5 geometry

Seat tube angle (degrees)74747474
Head tube angle (degrees)69696969
Chainstay (mm)430430430430
Bottom bracket drop (mm)62626262
Seat tube (mm)377433485519
Effective top tube (mm)582608635666
Head tube (mm)8995107121
Wheelbase (mm)1,0901,1161,1451,177
Stack (mm)606612623636
Reach (mm)409433457484

Cervélo ZHT-5 specs and prices

Cervélo has launched two versions of the ZHT-5.

The two bikes use SRAM electronic groupsets. The higher-specced model uses XX1 Eagle AXS and the lower-specced model has GX Eagle AXS.

The bikes come fitted with rigid seatpost.

The ZHT-5 is available in four sizes, from small to extra large, and in two colours, Five Black and Moss Khaki.

Cervélo ZHT-5 XX1 AXS

The top-specced ZHT-5 XX1 Eagle AXS costs £8,500 / €9,999.
  • Frame: Cervélo ZHT-5
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate, 100mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
  • Wheelset: Reserve 28 XC rim on i9 1/1 hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Rekon Race Black 29×2.4in
  • Handlebar: Race Face Next 35 carbon
  • Stem: Race Face Aeffect 35 alloy
  • Saddle: Prologo Dimension NDR
  • Seatpost: Cervélo SP29 Carbon 20.9mm
  • Price: £8,500 / €9,999

Cervélo ZHT-5 GX Eagle AXS

The ZHT-5 GX Eagle AXS has a RockShox SID SL Select 1 front fork.
  • Frame: Cervélo ZHT-5
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Select RL, 100mm travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Level TTL
  • Wheelset: Race Face ARC Offset 27 rim on with Ethirteen TRSE Race hubs
  • Tyres: Maxxis Rekon Race 29×2.4in
  • Handlebar: Race Face Aeffect alloy
  • Stem: Race Face Aeffect alloy
  • Saddle: Prologo Dimension NDR T4.0
  • Seatpost: Race Face Ride XC alloy 30.9mm
  • Price: £5,000 / €5,299