Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cervelo R3 follow-up review... 2000 kms later

My Cervelo, just back and still dirty after 65km this morning. Bellissima.

As some of you will remember, I purchased my Cervelo R3 this summer (August, to be exact) and have now had the opportunity to put about 2000kms on it, so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to provide my many readers with what could be called a 'long term review'.

Hopefully my review will be slightly less affected by 'new bike syndrome' which, I must admit, did color my initial review...

First the bits I really, really like.

The bottom bracket area. Fantastic rigidity.

1. The rigidity of the bottom bracket area is simply phenomenal. Every single nanojoule of energy (and, not to boast, but I produce several dozen in an all out sprint) goes to the cranks/pedals. Nothing is wasted in frame flex. I stand by the statement I made in my initial post about the bike; I climb at least one tooth harder thanks to this frame.

2. The weight. Or rather, lack thereof. We are talking about a sub-1000 gram frameset. I thought all reasonably light road bikes would feel more or less the same. I was wrong. You actually notice how much lighter (at least in my case) this bike is. It does go up hills easier!

The Funda. Does the job very, very well.

3. The 3t Funda fork. Quite frankly, the Funda did not inspire a great deal of confidence the first time I laid eyes on it. But I have to admit that the steering is very good and, once again, the rigidity is just fine - no lost energy up front. I also wondered if the width of the forks would be an issue on gusty days - sail effect and flighty handling and all that, but absolutely not. Rock solid. The steering is spot on.

Selle San Marco Mantra. Comfy for my bum and all the rest of the goods down there. Happy Pete.

4. The Selle San Marco Mantra seat. Fine, not strictly part of the frame, but hey, I purchased it with the frame, so... Very comfy for my rear end, with no numbness or other ill effects. The seat is graced with an absolutely massive 'prostate hole' which does its job quite well. The red highlights on the nose of the saddle have 'bled' a bit, which does not make me too happy, but if that is the price to pay for a comfy saddle, then so be it.

5. The Campagnolo bits. If you are here, you have probably figured out that I am partial to Campagnolo components. The bike currently has a hodgepodge of Campagnolo Chorus and Record (all 10v) bits. They are sublime. Perfect. Nothing to add there. And the Record Red bits are now on their way to being mounted on this bike. Heheh... what is better than perfect? Nirvana?

Now, the not so great bits...

Short stays.

How short? This short...

5. Short seat stays. I had read about this before purchasing the frame, but did not realise just how short they are. I have to make a conscious effort not to 'hit' the stays with my feet on the pedal upstroke. I guess that this is a result of the fact that the stays flare out quite markedly - it is not a deal breaker, but this is clearly something that riders with big feet (I wear a European 45 shoe) in relatively small sizes (mine is a 54) have to take into consideration. I know, I know, changing them would mean having to completely rework the geometry and handling, but hey, it is something that bothers me a bit.

6. Fork clearance. As I stated above, I love the fork. I do however, dislike the minimal clearance that it provides. I seriously doubt that I would be in a position to mount 25mm clinchers, something that I might like to do in the winter for a wee bit of extra comfort and puncture protection. For a bike that advertises its prowess in winning races like the Paris-Roubaix, I would have hoped for slightly more thought provided to light 'off roading' potential. Heck, they are even introducing bits of rough gravel road at the Giro...

So there you have it. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the R3 and find it to be a frameset that is fantastically above my capabilities as a rider. I can feel it yawning when I (think I) am hammering up a short steep hill. It handles well. It looks great. I get very positive comments at coffee stops (always a good thing).

So, if you have the opportunity, test ride one. I think you will end up owning one.


  1. Thanks for the bike review.
    I'm cosidering keeping my Trek 1500 and putting better wheels on. How do you like yours?


  2. Good call. Your Trek is a nice bike. Upgrading your wheels will make a world of difference.

    I love my Cervelo. Now you got me thinking about new wheels too...

  3. Nice review...didn't know too much about the R3, but it looks like a great bike. I'd probably have the same chainstay issues as you do, though (large feet, smaller frame).

    What were your initial misgivings about the 3T fork?

    And, how do you like the Racing 7s? I'm in the market for some training/racing wheels, and the Racing 5/Racing 7 are on my radar for a budget pair.

  4. Ciao Ghostrider. Thanks.

    I came from more 'substantial' looking forks - the super thin and wide design of the Funda gave me pause for thought, but absolutely no issues there.

    I do like my Racing 7s. Bullet proof. I am a heavier guy, so the 7s make a lot of sense as a training wheel - 1 broken spoke in two years of riding. If you are lighter, consider the 5s, that are a bit lighter and better finished for not so much more cash.

  5. Great review, perhaps I need to offer a review of the Tri-Cross?

    Like the new header by the way.

  6. Thank you sir. Too kind. I would love to read your review of the Tri-Cross... please do tell us more and post a few pics!

    Grazie for the header! Took some work, then my daughter explained how to do it correctly!

  7. Excellent...perhaps Racing 5s are in my future, as I've never weighed more than 63 kgs (139 lb.) -- my current weight is around 134. I tell people I have a Fausto Coppi-like physique, but without the talent.

  8. LOL Ghostrider... I have the body mass of Magnus Backstedt without the height or the talent! ;-)

    Jokes aside, then consider either the 5s or the 3s. At that weight you will have no trouble with either model.

  9. Super nice bike - looks fantastic in white. Plus it's getting used - the most important aspect of any bike !!

  10. Indeed Dan O. Just looking at it makes me excited and gets me to want to ride it!

  11. Nice write-up, though the comment about striking your heel on the chainstay had me concerned until I got my bike. I wear Euro 45 shoes and use the 56cm frame, and it's not an issue at all.

  12. Hi,

    I just got me one of these in perfect condition with Campag Record 11 at the price of less than the I happy, or what.
    My initial thoughts follow yours and "dreamy eyes" is something I'd describe myself as right now. A 55mile spin today and I'm still fresh tells a story all by itself.
    It's good to see your review after 2000k...the buzz stays. Cheers.