The new Cervélo Soloist is a do-it-all, aero-inspired bike designed for amateur racers and fast road riders.
The bike rides brilliantly and should be easy to live with in the long-term, though a handful of middling components are difficult to justify at this price point.
The new Soloist range tops out at £6,800 / $6,800 with the pictured 12-speed Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and a carbon wheelset from house brand Reserve.
Cervélo Soloist Ultegra Di2 spec highlights
According to Cervélo, the Soloist frameset is designed to be aerodynamic, light and mechanically simple.
The cockpit integration is neat and easy to live with.
Rather than go with a complex, fully integrated routed system as found on the S5, Cervélo has employed neat under-stem routing for the brake hoses and gear cables (where applicable).
These flow into the head tube forward of the headset, where they run through specially shaped spacers.
This setup makes the bike easier to work on if you want to swap handlebars or stems. It also makes it easier to break down to pack for travel.
The bike is specced with a Soloist-specific aero seatpost and is topped with the brilliant Selle Italia Novus Boost saddle. For me, this hits the right marks for comfort, shape and padding.
Comfort aside, on a bike that costs £6,800 / $6,800, I’d have expected carbon or titanium rails, rather than the middling Manganese alloy here.
The same is true of the AB07 handlebar from Cervélo – this has a great semi-compact drop and a comfortable aero-shaped top section, but it’s disappointing to see an alloy bar on such an expensive bike.
By way of comparison, Canyon’s £4,749 Aeroad CLX SL 7 features the brand’s adjustable carbon one-piece bar. Likewise, Trek’s new Madone SLR 6 (£6,850) comes with a carbon bar, though that bike ‘only’ features 105 Di2.
The Soloist is built around Shimano’s Ultegra R8100 Di2 groupset.
As a race-focused bike, the bike comes with a relatively sporty 52/36 crankset paired with a tight 11-30t cassette.
The bike ships with a Reserve 44/40 wheelset. Reserve is a sister house brand of Cervélo, and also supplies wheelsets for Santa Cruz and others in the PON bike group (which includes the likes of Focus, Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, Kalkhoff and others).
The wheelset has a 40mm-deep front rim and 44mm-deep rear rim. These rims have internal widths of 25.5 and 25mm, and external widths of 33 and 31mm respectively.
This combination of a slightly shallower front wheel paired with a deeper rear wheel is used commonly across many bikes.
The rims are laced to a Zipp 76 hub up-front and a matching Zipp 176 hub at the rear. These same hubs are specced on the brand’s 303S wheelset. Until now, Reserve wheels came solely with DT Swiss hubs and, as far as we’re aware, Zipp has never offered hubs as standalone components.
The complete bike weighs 8.1kg, in a size 58cm.
Cervelo Soloist Ultegra Di2 geometry
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||73||73||73||73||73||73|
|Seat tube length (mm)||433||483||507||531||555||579|
|Effective top tube length (mm)||516||532||548||565||581||598|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||71||72||73||73||73||73|
|Fork offset (mm)||57.5||51.5||45.5||45.5||45.5||45.5|
|Fork length (mm)||373||373||373||373||373||373|
|Head tube length (mm)||86||106||130||156||184||211|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||74.5||74.5||72||72||69.5||69.5|
|Front centre (mm)||574||576||578||595||611||628|
|Chainstay length (mm)||410||410||410||410||410||410|
|*Standover height measured from 5cm in front of bottom bracket|
Cervelo Soloist Ultegra Di2 ride impressions
The Soloist’s ride is quite simply awesome.
The geometry of the bike is slightly different from the S5, having just a couple of millimetres more stack, though the frame shares the same reach.
The 590mm stack on my 58cm test bike is low without being slammed. That said, I’d have preferred to drop a few spacers out of the bike as it arrived, but as a test bike, it’s not my place to cut down a carbon steerer.
The 401mm reach is also similarly sporty without being stretched. Paired with the bike’s short wheelbase, it’s a sublime-handling bike.
The snap of the fast handling makes it so much fun to ride – fast descents are a joy, and the bike feels accurate and nimble when threading through winding terrain.
The 8.1kg weight is decent, but not especially competitive compared to similarly minded bikes at this price point.
The £6,449 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 8 Disc Di2 comes in at a claimed 7.76kg and the £6,300 Lapierre Aircode DRS 8.0 at 7.87kg.
The broad rims plump up the middleweight 28c Vittoria Rubino Pro TLR G tyres to 30mm.
The Soloist may be a race bike, but the ride feel isn’t what you’d expect – I was taken aback by just how smooth the Soloist handled itself over poor tarmac surfaces.
The Vittoria Rubinos certainly aren’t the fastest tubeless tyres available, but they do offer loads of grip and are fairly durable.
In the long-term, I’d upgrade to a faster and lighter tyre, but I wouldn’t waste a minute stressing over running the Rubinos until they were worn through.
The Reserve wheelset warrants no complaints – it, perhaps unsurprisingly, feels plenty stiff and the swift pickup of the Zipp freehub makes for a package I feel no need to upgrade.
Cervelo Soloist Ultegra Di2 bottom line
Some may discount the Soloist for being something of a ‘nearly’ model – it’s not as aero as the S5 and not as light as the R5, so who is it for?
Well, I’d argue the new Soloist is light, aero and smooth enough, and that adds up to a bike that’s fast and a joy to ride.
Furthermore, though the R5 and the S5 are the more obvious comparisons, after more than 200 miles of test riding, I’d argue the Soloist’s closest sibling in terms of ride feel is the Caledonia endurance road bike. That level of comfort is impressive for a do-it-all race bike.
Among all of Cervélo’s cutting-edge lightweight and/or aerodynamic models, the Soloist is probably my favourite and quite possibly the next road bike I want to own.
|Price||GBP £6800.00USD $6800.00|
|Bottom bracket||JY BBright T47, 24mm spindle|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra R8150|
|Cassette||Shimano Ultegra, R8150, 12 speed, 11-30|
|Chain||Shimano M8100, 12 speed|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra R8100, 52/36|
|Fork||Cervélo all-carbon, tapered Soloist fork|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra, R8150|
|Handlebar||Cervélo AB07 alloy|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra, R8150|
|Saddle||Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo, Superflow Manganese|
|Seatpost||Cervélo SP27 Carbon|
|Shifter||Shimano Ultegra, R8170|
|Stem||Cervélo ST36 alloy|
|Tyres||Vittoria Rubino Pro TLR G 28c|