Arguably the most talked-about bikes of the year are those produced by Cervelo, with the company finding its sponsored riders picking up medal after medal. So it was with some excited anticipation that a Cervelo R3 test bike arrived in the RCUK bikeshed.
The R3 is the bike principally put into service by the CSC squad, with two Paris-Roubaix wins and of course the Tour de France this year. Other victories have come aboard the company’s equally impressive P3, with Gold medals from both the men and women’s Olympic time trials.
So, the bike’s performance in the most demanding races goes without saying, and it would be very surprising if the subsequent testing of the RCUK test bike that will follow this first look does anything but impress.
The arrival of the bike in the office has allowed us a proper chance to have a poke around the frame’s many interesting features. Most interesting is the “Squoval” downtube that feeds into one of the most heavily-reinforced bottom bracket shells seen on any bike previously. This incredible girth [steady – ed.] continues into the substantial chainstays; you don’t need a tape measure to realise just how tall they are, but a sharp eye is required to appreciate the wafer thin seat stays, designed to provide some comfort when hammering seated over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Though if we were a cobblestone and sighted an R3 being ridden by the powerhouse Fabian Cancellara coming our way, we’d just concede defeat and move aside.
The frame hasn’t just been designed on a sheet of paper, oh no. Every tube shape and profile is down to Finite Element Analysis, which has allowed those clever people at Cervelo to provide one of the most technically advanced framesets currently on the market.
Tune in soon to find out how RCUK rates it…