Cervélo have unveiled the RCA – the Canadian firm’s latest Project California frame with a claimed weight of just 667g and jaw-dropping $10,000 price tag for the frameset.
Project California is Cervélo’s money-no-object collaboration with carbon fibre specialists Criterion Composites, who are based in the American state.
The RCA is Project California’s latest venture and it follows the Cervélo R5ca, ridden by Garmin-Sharp’s Ryder Hesjedal when he won the Giro d’Italia in 2012. This latest frame has been developed in conjunction with the team.
Not content with the R5ca’s paltry claimed weight of 696g, Cervélo set about putting the frame on a diet, without sacrificing stiffness, but while also introducing aero tube profiles.
“The RCA showcases the best of Cervélo’s knowledge, testing, and industry-leading engineering processes,” said Cervélo co-founder and CEO Phil White. “We are always proud to introduce a new Cervélo, but given its no-holds barred, best-of-the-best nature, launching a new Project California bike is particularly special.”
While not an aero bike per se, Cervélo have tweaked their Squoval tubes to reflect the aerodynamic profile of their S-series aero machines. That means the downtube, headtube and seattube now have an aero leading edge, while the seatstays have been turned 90 degrees at the bottom to smooth airflow.
The new Squoval 3 tube profiles, as they’re known, result in 7.4 watts less aero drag than the R5ca, according to Cervélo.
With tubes that light, Cervélo have inserted reinforcements into high stress areas (at the top of the downtube and seattube, and above the BBRight bottom bracket shell) to maximise strength without turning to thicker – and heavier – tubes, while, out back, Cervélo’s pencil-thin seatstays remain, well, pencil-thin with a ‘ComfortPly’ layup to smoothen out road vibrations.
The fork, meanwhile, has been given a ‘PowerMetal Nanovate treatment’, which is essentially an incredibly thin layer of nickel on the steerer tube to increase strength without sacrificing weight. The result of that is a fork which Cervélo say weighs less than 300g.
Otherwise, the carbon fibre dropouts are hollow and the seatstays are then inserted into them, which, once again, saves a little weight (5g according to Cervelo – but every little helps when you’re striving for the lightest frame possible) and allows the cable routing to be routed directly out of the dropout, which makes for a very neat finish.
Like all Project California bikes, the frames are individually handmade in the Golden State – and only 325 will be manufactured.