2011 Cervelo s3
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Aero Road Bike Revolution: Cervelo S3

Teschner SC7000: What started it all 
As a roadie and triathlete, I am fascinated by bikes that leverage technology to increase performance. My first taste was a 2004 Teschner SC7000 that combined extremely light weight yet super stiff Scandium tubes with a carbon fiber rear triangle that promised compliance and also weight savings.

It is a beautiful and very stiff bike that climbs well and weighed in at just under 15 pounds. The first time I rode it, I had an "a ha" moment. It was incredible! However, the stiff ride tended to be fatiguing for me over 50 miles. And as full carbon bikes came on to the scene, new possibilities emerged.

Frame Weight: 1275 grams
PR's with this bike:

Old La Honda road: 19:42
Wildflower 1/2 Ironman: 2:41



2006 SCOTT PLASMA TEAM
When I saw early pictures of the Scott Plasma, I was impressed. Wow--the integrated seat mast, aero tubes, and light weight seemed incredible. This was the second mainstream carbon fiber bike to offer an integrated seat mast (first being the gorgeous Time VXRS) and the first tri/time trial-specific frame to do so. I had to have it--and purchased a 2006 frame from my fellow cycling addict, Gebhard.

Built up, with aero bars, it came in at just a hair under 16 pounds. The frame weighed in just 1175 grams, 100 grams lighter than the Teschner. Comfort on the bike is very good; but the stock fork felt jarring. I later replaced it with an Easton EC90SLX and it is now much more comfortable. Descending, for a tri bike, is surprisingly good with less kick-back compared to the Teschner on bumpy descents.

Speed-wise, the aero tubes seem to make a dramatic and noticeable difference; the Plasma is faster. It holds speed and accelerates from 25 to 28+ mph better than any bike I've ridden. Even riding in the drops, acceleration at speed is markedly impressive. However, when climbing, the bike somehow seems to disperse energy. In fact, standing on the pedals seems to make it worse. Living in the SF Bay Area, the terrain demands climbing, so even if you have a tri bike, it's got to climb. I've found that this bike likes to be coaxed and not pushed--it rewards smooth spinning.

Frame Weight: 1175 grams
PR's with this bike:

Old La Honda road: 19:14
Wildflower 1/2 Ironman: 2:39
 



2007 CERVELO R3
In search of a better climbing, lighter, and even more comfortable bike, all roads led to the Cervelo R3. Like the Plasma, it is dramatically different. It features revolutionary massive and stiff down tube and chain stays, coupled with the ultra thin seat stays to create a bike that is dramatically different, if not magical. It features incredible stiffness and efficiency yet has a butter smooth ride, and class-leading light weight. Another bike I had to have! However, I was a bit skeptical of the simultaneous claims for stiffness and comfort so I opted to find one used rather than new. I finally found one on roadbikereview's classifieds.

This 56cm frame weighed 900 grams even. Using this uber-light foundation, I was able to build it to a remarkable 13 pounds, 13 ounces, as featured here in this series from roadbikereview.

Sure enough, the R3 simply feels awesome to ride. It climbs effortlessly, spinning smoothly in or out of the saddle. I set all new hillclimb PRs on this bike and it has  made me want to ride more. Descending is supremely confident, a huge leg up for guys like me who are tentative on the downhills. In a word, fantastic! However, the R3 has a flaw. At speeds over 23 mph, it simply does not accelerate as fast as the Plasma. I found it noticeably more challenging to go from 25 to 28 mph even compared to the Plasma when in the drops and out of the aero bars. Could aerodynamics really play that much of a difference?

Frame Weight: 900 grams
PR's with this bike:

Old La Honda road: 18:38
Wildflower 1/2 Ironman: Not attempted

2011 CERVELO S3
So this brings me to the next bike. The Cervelo S3. It appears to combine the aerodynamics of the Plasma with the light weight, stiffness, and comfort of the R3, with just a small difference in weight. It features aerodynamic tube profiles, similar to the Plasma, yet it also has a massive bottom bracket and chain stays to transfer power while still leveraging its thin seat stays (turned at a more aero angle) to smooth out the ride. Is this the ultimate "do anything" bike?

On paper, this bike seems like the ultimate combination of hillclimbing capability, light weight (1050 grams claimed for the frame), in addition to aerodynamics. It seems to be the ultimate "do anything" bike, great for hill climbing, sprinting, and even triathlon (especially with the optional reversible seatpost).

I debated over buying this frame for over a year. Finally, upon getting a bonus from work,  I made the call to my standby, Gebhard at Veloro Bicycles to order up a frame.

CERVELO S3 - the build
l received the S3 in February. Ironically, I somehow injured my back, herniating a disc between L5 and S1. What that means is excruciating pain across the glutes and hamstrings with pain radiating down the leg to the ankle. Worse still is the recovery time is many months. So here I was with the "dream bike" but unable to ride it.  hope I will be able to ride this soonQ

All the wind sees:

Stiffness: Massive bottom bracket and chainstays for stiffness

Set up: Shifter cable routing. Required three adjustments to get it right.

Frame Weight: 1079 grams (actual)
PR's with this bike:

Old La Honda road: Not attempted (yet)
Wildflower 1/2 Ironman: Not attempted (yet)

Conclusion
The era of aerodynamic road bikes has now fully materialized, apparently started with the Kestrel Talon.
Since then, there have been countless offerings from Scott, Specialized, Lightspeed, Fuji, Ridley, Felt, Blue Cycles, and countless others.

 

plus aero-ness? Optional reversible seatpost for triathlons? It makes sense that the bike you train on should be the one you race on at triathlons. This seems to be the best of both worlds. Check out how it won the recent review.

 

Is this the ultimate "do anything" bike? Great hillclimbing, light weight, plus aero-ness? Optional reversible seatpost for triathlons? It makes sense that the bike you train on should be the one you race on at triathlons. This seems to be the best of both worlds. Check out how it won the recent review.

As equipped, 14lbs 3 oz. Adding Hed Clip-light aerobars, 15 pounds even.

 

With Hed aerobars and Hed Jet 60/90 wheels, 16 pounds, 1 ounce.

 


Oh Yeah!

 Cervelo S3 Build Report: 14lbs 3 oz
Component Brand Grams Pounds Ounces
Frame S3 1070 2.35 37.66
seat collar Cervelo 15 0.03 0.53
Deraileur hanger Cervelo 13 0.03 0.46
rear brake bolt Generic 5 0.01 0.18
Headset FSA 52 0.11 1.83
Fork 3t (with race) 360 0.79 12.67
headset spacers Generic, incl top cap 45 0.10 1.58
Brakes Zero Gravity 185 0.41 6.51
Brake Shift SRAM Red 323 0.71 11.37
Crank+rings Easton EC90 574 1.26 20.20
Bottom Bracket Easton EC90  102 0.22 3.59
Front Derailleur SRAM Red 70 0.15 2.46
Cassette SRAM Red (11-26) 165 0.36 5.81
Rear Derailleur SRAM Red 146 0.32 5.14
Chain shimano 7900 244 0.54 8.59
Pedals Look Keo Carbon TI 198 0.44 6.97
Stem Ritchey  WCS 4-axis 110 0.24 3.87
Handlebar   Ritchey  SuperLogic Carbon Evo 200 0.44 7.04
Handlebar Tape Deda 90 0.20 3.17
Cables Yokozuna 25 0.06 0.88
Housing Yokozuna 35 0.08 1.23
Computer Jittery joes cateye 30 0.07 1.06
Seatpost Cervelo 180 0.40 6.34
Seatpost adapter N/A 0 0.00 0.00
Saddle Fizik Antares 178 0.39 6.27
Tires(f/r) Schwalbe Ultremo 376 0.83 13.24
Tubes(f/r) Performance Light 140 0.31 4.93
Wheels Easton EC90 1400 3.08 49.28
Rim Tape Easton 30 0.07 1.06
Cages (2) ebay 40 0.09 1.41
Skewers KCNC 45 0.10 1.58
chain catcher rotor 6 0.01 0.21
  Total 6452 14.19 227.11
  ratio 0.0022 14.03