Cervelo S1 review

The daddy of aero rides

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,200.00 RRP

Our review

A classic design – fast and responsive but the ride is stiff
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This is the bike the new generation of aero machines should call ‘Dad’. Canadian bike manufacturers Cervélo pioneered the wind-beating road bike market with the Soloist. Today’s aluminium S1 is essentially a development of that bike.

  • Frame: If you follow pro cycling, the Cervélo’s shape will be familiar. It’s stiff, responsive and aero, but gives your backside a hard time compared with its carbon rivals (8/10)
  • Handling: Well-honed geometry and the light but stiff 3T Funda Pro all-carbon fork make for precise and stable steering, whether on the flat or carving a steep descent (8/10)
  • Equipment: Shimano Ultegra performs reliably as ever, and the PRO Vibe bar and stem match the stiff and racy character of the bike. The San Marco saddle is well shaped but firm (8/10)
  • Wheels: No complaints here. The RS80 wheels are light but have a mid-section profile to cut through the air cleanly. The Continental tyres are top quality (9/10)
Cervélo s1: cervélo s1
Paul Smith - www.smithpic.co.uk

You can buy the S1 frame and fork for £999. That seems a lot for an aluminium bike, but not when you consider it’s won Paris-Nice, the Critérium International and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. If you ignore the name change, this is a fairly old design; old, but not old hat. There are clear similarities in tube shapes between the S1 and the £3,500 frame and fork of the S3, and the geometry is identical.

The frame is shaped using what Cervélo call TrueAero shapes – long tail aerofoils with a 3:1 ratio to avoid falling foul of the men with clipboards from the UCI. The head tube is shaped to be aero too, with a narrower section between the bearing races to reduce the frontal area. The seatstays are pencil thin compared with the chunky tubing used elsewhere on the bike. Cervélo say this reduces weight and makes the bike more comfortable – we’ll come back to that later.

Throughout the frame, tube thicknesses are greater at the sides so the bike can better resist side-to-side movement. And resist it does. Lean the S1 over hard and the stiff frame and excellent 3T Funda Pro fork hold a precise line. Punch out of a corner, and it would take the quads of a shire horse to get more than a few millimetres of flex at the bottom bracket – all your effort goes to the road. The Shimano RS80 wheels help translate that power into acceleration.

They’re light (940g front, 1,370g rear including tubes and tyres), which helps the S1 spin up to speed quickly. The rims have a part-aluminium, part-carbon construction, which gives the security of aluminium braking but with the weight saving (not to mention cool points) of carbon. In practice we found the braking short of bite in wet weather, even with the usually dependable Ultegra callipers doing the stopping, but had no complaints in the dry. The wheels are fitted with Continental Force and Attack tyres (22mm front, 24mm at the rear), which roll and grip well.

Our bike was built up with a full Ultegra groupset, which worked as efficiently as you’d expect of one of Shimano’s top component lines. There’s a much softer feel at the shifters than you’ll find with SRAM kit – which you prefer is really a matter of taste. Ultegra’s metal cranks may lack the bling of carbon rivals, but they’re light and, more importantly, strong. If aluminium cranks aren’t fancy enough for your liking, well, that’s one of the advantages of buying a frame and fork and speccing the rest of the bike yourself – you can fit whatever kit you want.

One thing we’d think twice about is the gear ratios. Our test bike’s 39/23 bottom gear shows that, in this build, the S1 is a pure racing machine. There’s no concession to hauling a winter spare tyre over the hills. No concessions are made to your backside, either. The San Marco Regal E saddle is a comfortable shape but thinly padded. Over rough tarmac it might as well be made of concrete.


The frame doesn’t help, either. In spite of the thin rear stays, ride this bike at speed over a badly surfaced road and you’ll be on first-name terms with every last bump in the road. For the rider who puts speed and value ahead of comfort, that may be a price worth paying.

Product Specifications


Name S1 (11)
Brand Cervelo

Description Continental Grand Prix Force, 700x24 rear, Attack 700x22 front tyres
Stem Pro Vibe 7S forged alloy, 10.5cm, twin bolt 1 1/8in steerer, 4-bolt o/s clamp
Rear Tyre N/A
Rear Wheel Weight 1370
Rims Shimano RS80 carbon/alloy
Saddle San Marco Regal E, stainless rails, padded vinyl
Seat Angle 73
Seatpost One-postion aero carbon
Weight (kg) 7.63
Pedals N/A
Weight (lb) 16.8
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Chainstays (cm) 40
Seat Tube (cm) 49.5
Standover Height (cm) 80.5
Top Tube (cm) 56
Rear Hub Ball and cone-sealed alloy
Headset Type FSA sealed cartridge fully integrated 1 1/8in aheadset
Available Colours Black / Red
Fork Weight 390
Available Sizes 51 54 56 58 61 54 56 58 54 56 48 48 48 56 54 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 54 56 58 56 58 48 48 51 54 56 58 61 48 51 54 56 58 48 48 48 56 61 54 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 58 56 58 56 58 54 56 58 54 56 54 56 58 54 56 56
Bottom Bracket Shimano Ultegra external alloy cups, sealed cartridge bearings
Brakes Shimano Ultegra forged alloy dual-pivot
Cassette Shimano Dura-Ace, 10spd, 11-23, six steel, four Ti sprockets on alloy spider
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Cranks Shimano Ultegra forged alloy with steel spindle, 175mm arms, 130mm bcd, 52/39t alloy rings
Frame Material All-aluminium smooth TIG-welded, machined head-tube, replaceable gear hanger
Head Angle 70.5
Frame Weight 1523
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra braze-on
Front Hub Ball and cone-sealed alloy
Front Tyre N/A
Front Wheel Weight 940
Handlebar Pro Vibe 7S alloy medium drop anatomic, 42cm c-c, os clamp zone
Wheelbase (cm) 99