The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.

Cervélo Soloist Ultegra Di2 review

Soloist Marque revived for high-performing all-round racer

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £6,800.00 RRP | USD $6,800.00
Cervélo Soloist road bike review 4

Our review

The Cervélo Soloist Ultegra Di2 is a very comfortable and fast aero-optimised racer deserving of the Soloist name
Pros: Sublime handling; smooth-rolling; a blast to ride fast
Cons: A few middling components for the price
Skip to view product specifications

The new Cervélo Soloist is a do-it-all, aero-inspired bike designed for amateur racers and fast road riders.

Advertisement

The new bike sits between the S5 and the R5 in the Cervélo hierarchy – it’s lighter but not as aerodynamic as the S5, and heavier but more aerodynamic than the R5.

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

The cockpit should be easy to live with in the long run.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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.

A similar setup is used on bikes such as the Aurum Magma, Specialized Allez Sprint and Trek Emonda SL 6.

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 uses a Soloist-specific seatpost.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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 bike is built around a set of wheels from house brand Reserve.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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.

This is the first time we’ve seen Zipp hubs laced to rims from another brand.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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

Size (cm)485154565861
Stack (mm)491515540565590615
Reach (mm)365374383392401410
Seat tube angle (degrees)737373737373
Seat tube length (mm)433483507531555579
Effective top tube length (mm)516532548565581598
Head tube angle (degrees)717273737373
Fork offset (mm)57.551.545.545.545.545.5
Fork length (mm)373373373373373373
Head tube length (mm)86106130156184211
Bottom bracket drop (mm)74.574.5727269.569.5
Front centre (mm)574576578595611628
Chainstay length (mm)410410410410410410
Standover (mm)*708748774798824848
Wheelbase (mm)9729749779941,0111,028
*Standover height measured from 5cm in front of bottom bracket

Cervelo Soloist Ultegra Di2 ride impressions

The bike is an absolute blast to ride.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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 bike comes alive on winding descents.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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.

The tyres present a good all-round option and by no means need upgrading from the off.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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

The Soloist is a properly sorted all-round performer.
Russel Burton / Our Media

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.

Advertisement

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.

Product Specifications

Product

Price GBP £6800.00USD $6800.00
Weight 8.1kg (58cm)
Year 2022
Brand Cervelo

Features

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
Wheels Reserve 44/40