Cervelo S5 VWD complete
Cervelo S5 VWD complete

Finally, the top range Cervelo S5 bikes are hitting the floor at retailers around the country.  Both the Rival and Team S5’s have been on the scene for months, after patiently waiting now the VWD frames are ready to go.  First seen here, and tested here, we have had our eyes on this rig for a while.  Check out a few detailed photos of the paint and componentry after the break.

Hopefully by now most people are used to the look of the latest 990g(56cm) aero road offering from Cervelo.  There was a significant amount of  original opinion that seemed to be  negative towards the  aesthetic appeal regarding the S5 both in frame shape and colorway.  The white frame may not be the most attractive, people have been questioning the blue/red color combination on the Team frame, but no one has really gotten a chance to check out the top range VWD frame.  Putting aside opinions regarding how sexy the lines of this bike are, the VWD version looks pretty darn good.


Cervelo S5 VWD Color Detail
Cervelo S5 VWD Color Detail

The dark grey and deep blue paint detail make a good color combination against the black frame.  Less abrasive than the red and blue team frame colorway, this paint job has a nice understated look with a hit of color.


Cervelo S5 VWD Drivetrain
Cervelo S5 VWD Drivetrain

As for drivetrain components mated to the Shimano Di2 componentry, the VWD Di2 model comes stock with a Rotor 3D+ crankset.  Although there may be better shifting chainring options, and lighter weight cranksets, the bearing preload adjustment on this crank works very well.  The only significant change we made regarding stock componentry is the wheelset.  The stock Fulcrum Racing T wheelset just didn’t have the same look as these super sleek ENVE tubulars.


Cervelo S5 VWD Cockpit
Cervelo S5 VWD Cockpit

Di2 shifters mounted to the 3T Ergonova LTD handlebar/ARX LTD stem round out a well established front end.


Cervelo S5 VWD Battery Placement
Cervelo S5 VWD Battery Placement

VWD, top of the range for Cervelo not counting current California projects.  Stock Di2 battery placement is looking pretty good these days.  The talk of the town seems to be factory offerings from Shimano that put the battery somewhere inside the frame, most likely inside the seat post.


Cervelo S5 VWD on the scale
Cervelo S5 VWD on the scale

At 14.85lbs(6.73kg), This bike set up as is (without pedals) seems like it is going to be a lightweight option for those riders seeking the benefits of aerodynamic framesets.  There is always room for improvement, keep your eyes out for a custom build featuring this frame and some pretty legit componentry.


I guess there is only one last question to ponder…when will the S5CA be available?


  1. @david… HA! very good.

    I understand this position works even better with your jacket unzipped to just near the bottom

  2. hey, ballbusters,
    of course it’s gonna have a tall stack of spacers. it’s a bike on the sales floor, not in a catalog, not in a fancy photo shoot, not at a trade show.

  3. When you say “bearing preload adjustment”, what does that mean? I’m fairly new to the terminology, hopefully someone can fill me in!

  4. @Ashton
    On the non drive side, its a “barrel adjuster” if you will to take slack and make sure there is even and appropriate pressure placed on the bottom bracket bearings.
    Most people say this, but no one knows the flexibility, strength or use that the rider that might see, or has purchased this bike for..Slammed to the head tube is not really a good option for the masses…

  5. If you are talking about the way this bike looks, or what components are on it…you missed the point, and clearly have not ridden one for a meaningful distance. This bike, will…make you faster than your current bike, and that is what Cervelo is about.

  6. “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades” -eddy merckx. if only he had a Cervelo, maybe he would have made something of himself.
    ps- @Loren, did you just say the frame is more important than the components? poor understanding of both aerodynamics and bike racing. Give me that group on an 80s steel frame over that frame and and 80s kit any day of the week.

  7. ethanm,
    i believe it is you with the poor understanding of aerodynamics.
    with your 80s steel frame and kit, you may be fast (or not, that part is up to you), but the fact is you would be faster on this bike.

  8. and im not a dentist. i’m “independently impoverished”. my car does not shift on its own. i also never claimed to own this bike. i dont even really like this bike. that’s not the point. facts are facts.

  9. Come on Cervelo give us some new technology. Looks like the same BS you been putting out for the last 5 years. LAME and UGLY!

  10. It’s mostly little people who notice the non slammed stems. You see a lot of slammed stems with very little saddle to bar drop too – again, little people. A tall person with long legs can have a huge drop and still have spacers. Look at little cavvy boy’s bike. Or just visit – Randy Newman, Short People on youtube.


  11. fact is cervelo is gay for tall head tubes
    look at his thing, ita a 56 and has a head tube of at least a 58
    every bike i have seen at group rides looks gigantic

    that said this bike looks like terrible, while it might be aero i still would pick something else it looks like it was hit with the ugly stick a little

  12. Thanks so much for posting this! I (contrary to those above) think this bike is quite dashing. As a designer myself, I follow the “form follows function” aesthetic sense, and this thing’s form does follow function in spades. Design for the sake of a “look” panders to those who wish to belong to that supposed group that they wish to associate with, or more like “wished they could associate with!” This S5 VWD was designed for a purpose – to be light and fast. I love the single minded focus. Guess that’s what makes it so beautiful to me.

  13. Looks are one thing, but what about ride quality? I thought the S3 frames rode like a brick, this bike looks like it would be even more stiff. I bet it rides like a TT bike, which is not a good thing for a road bike.

  14. All Cervelo’s seem to have ridiculously tall head tubes. If they’re trying to appeal to performance cyclists, they’re way off the mark.

  15. @Dan
    Sounds like that bike store was more interested in selling bikes to dentists with actual money, who may not want a slammed stem, than style-obsessed wannabe racers trolling internet comment pages. Weird, I know.

  16. I own a Cervélo P4 with Dura Ace DI2. The wiring is completely internal inside the frame as is the battery (in the seatpost). I wonder why this ugly, supposedly very aerodynamic bike is keeping the battery external where it will get dirty and sticky from the spill of bottles. The bottom bracket area is always the dirties and stickiest on my bikes and there’s rarely ever a bottle that is ALWAYS completely water-tight.

    Now the P4 is already boarderline ugly and starts to look old compared to offerings from other manufacturers and Cervélo’s own P3 but the S5 is bringing ugly ugly ugly to an entirely new level. Sure Cervélo think they made a really aerodynamic bike and that must be worth something. But they forgot that most of their possible clients are wealthy guys that spend to much money on cycling and not enough time on the road. These are guys that will ride around 20-25 km/h where aerodynamics means sh*t. A german mag calculated the power saving of the S5 to be 24 Watts at 40 km/h. AT 40 KM/H!!!
    Well… how many rich amateurs go that fast for long?

    And why isn’t every race won by a Cervélo S5 if the aerodynamic benefit was that high? Fact is that even the Garmin Cervélo riders often prefered the R5 over the S5.

    The S3 was a pretty bike and minor updates would have sufficed (flattening the frame around the bottle area for example. I’m in the market to replace my beloved Specialized SL2 but it’s not going to be the S5. Shame on you Cervélo.

  17. @Dan I’m not defending this bike, but there are some papers from bike and wheel manufacturers explaining why they tests at 40km/h. I’ll try to summarize. It seems that the results scale, therefore faster at 40km/h still means faster at 20km/h. Also, things that add or reduce drag at 40km/h are easier to detect because the changes are greater. Finally, if you test other bikes at 40km/h then you are comparing apples to apples, so if bike A is faster than bike B at 40km/h, and the results scale, then bike A is faster than bike B at 20km/h.

    Also, the bike is horrendous in pictures, but in person it isn’t THAT bad. I would still probably want to ride the Venge.

  18. Ugliest bike in the world. Aerodynamically it doesnt make sense. You’ll get higher gains from your position on a bike rather than shaped tubes or deep wheels. You may as well put a basket on the front and use it to buy bread and newspapers.

  19. I’m not a Cervelo hater, but wow that’s a mess. It looks like something you’d see Eben lampoon on BikeSnobNYC. The S3 and P4 designs were pretty sexy, so it’s surprising that their love child is so ugly. What a shame.

  20. The Cervelo S5 is hands down the ugliest bike ever created. It kinda doesn’t even look like a proper road bike anymore. It’s just a culmination of ugly shapes and forms topped with a horrible paint job. The color stripes they added don’t even make sense. After red, grey, yellowa and green that all have a relevance in the world of cycling we now have dark blue. Or red-blue. Garmin Baracuda has a nice bright blue as the dominating team color. If the stripes had that color it would be 10 times better already. And leave the red é on the head tube RED regardless of the otherwise used colors.

    I like the Project California “paint” scheme… the matte black with the glossy Cervélo labels really have that understatement high-end appeal to them. But I wouldn’t get such an expensive bike just for the paint job.

    IMHO Cervélo should revive the S3, make it look a bit more like the Project California, focus on proper internal wiring and battery inside the frame and possibly even add an integrated TREK style ANT+ sensor for cadence and speed to the chainstay. Also cleaning up the cockpit with integrated wiring through the stem would look great now with DI2 getting mainstream. And don’t give us those 60+ year old guy upright sitting head tubes. Also what’s up with all those bottom bracket standards. Nobody really cares about them. Just makes everybodies life harder. If you travel abroad with your bike and the bottom bracket needs servicing or replacement I’d love to have a standard Shimano BB even if it’s a bit less stiff.

    Usually the smaller manufacturers are most creative and bring new innovations but Cervélo is in deep sleep and resting on past achievements. I hope they’re not going to sell many S5 bikes and will be FORCED to kill that monstrosity and replacing it with a bike that actually looks pleasing. Imagine how people spend 10k$ for a bike that they are almost ashamed of.

    Don’t play with our hearts Cervélo because the heart is connected to the wallet!

  21. Louis: You might be right that testing at 40 km/h makes sense. Testing at 200 km/h would probably also make sense and the watt difference would be even greater.

    But let’s face it – as that guy above already wrote: Typical Cervélo riders will travel somewhere around 20 to 25 km/h average speed. Even if the aerodynamics of the of the frame would bring a 10 % inprovement it would mean just about 2 km/h speed difference. But that’s completely insanely unrealistic. With 20 km/h the aerodynamic gain is probably around 10 watts. Probably you would have to be happy if the frame made you 0,1 km/h faster. Is that really a difference that is worth thousands of dollars and a product that is entirely unpleasing to the eye?

    Cervélo just doesn’t understand marketing and design. People buy expensive t-shirts just because they have a little stitched on logo. They buy fancy sportscars that are basicly garbage in all areas but design and 0-100 km/h performance. They like the prettiest girl and not the smartest (although smart doesn’t hurt).

    What I’m trying to say is: Cervélo could sell a sexy product even if it wasn’t technically superior and reach more customers. But instead they are so focussed trying to achieve x % stiffer bottom brackets, more aerodynamic frames, etc (that don’t mean jack to anybody as long as the frame is in the same league as the other main players) and completely forget about design and marketing to the eye and heart.

    Btw: The Specialized Venge tested a tiny bit better aerodynamically than the S5 in a review – and it still looks like a nice (Specialized) bike.

  22. Everyone agrees this bike is ugly, even the shop employee writing the review. Facts are facts but at the end of the day you have to love the bike your on. Big girls need love too.

  23. @Rich 100% agree. The S5 doesn’t represent any sea change in performance that I know of, therefore no one could truly be faulted for choosing the Venge, AR or the F01L over the S5.

    Actually, if I had my choice, I would jump at the chance to ride an S3 which is still a great looking bike. However, I chose my road bike based on comfort, geometry, stiffness and weight because I don’t really think that at my level (cat 4/5) aerodynamics means THAT much. And I would imagine the majority of riders are even slower than me and less likely to care if they are more aero.

  24. @grandmama, “i” love you(tall lady), get back at me 🙂

    @bikerumor, unbox the cervelo? it looks like a box….lol

    have to agree this bike is for a tall rider. and that your only going to be 5-10% faster on this bike over a non-areo bike. which is also the difference between riding with your arms straight or bending them at the elbows.

    thanks bike rumor for continuing to bring us new and exciting bike news everyday.

  25. Spend 5 minutes doing some “research” or ride that bike for 5 minutes and tell me its not faster than your bike. Look, I dont work for Cervelo…I simply have ridden a lot of bikes for a lot of miles and can tell you that they simply are faster. And there is plenty of numbers to back up that assertion. If you dont care what bike is actually faster or dont race bikes, thats fine. I personally find the S5 to be ugly, but Cervelo did not design it to be attractive (good thing) they designed it to be faster than the S3. (Which, by the way…was freaking fast)

    Case and point, if you want a nice looking bike…get a custom. I bet you will like the way it looks if you design it. But if you want a bike that reduces the effect wind has on your speed…then get this one. It will rock your face off. =)

  26. I love Cervelo for the same reason I love Ed Hardy. Both brands make it easy to pick complete Douche Nozzles in a crowd. There are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part it works.

  27. Criticizing the bike is one thing but I can’t understand what you have against people who disagree with you. Maybe you’re pissed you’re not a doctor and will never ride a bike this nice. Stop being childish and go ride your bike.

  28. There sure are a lot of haters here. I actually do own an S5. I dont like the way they look in pictures, but in person it looks awesome! There is something about the asymmetry that doesn’t photograph well. I actually get tons of compliments on it–and I have never heard a single negative comment in person. And, yes, I actually can ride the thing.

  29. Taller head tube equals stiffer bike, check how many spacers are on the average road bike has. That’s what’s behind it. This is also an illusion on the part of the people who have commented above, take a look at the geometry run the numbers and you will understand. Ugly or not you can bet Trek, Specialized and Pinarello have all taken cues from this bike to add to their 2014 bikes. Who do think started the aero bike sector ?? I have spent a lot of time on an S3 and recently got my hands on and S5 for a couple of weeks and it is a better bike all round. Yes it is faster, especially with aero wheels. To bad Specialized had to go to a car company to figure out how to design a bike, – its funny how a fancy paint job and marketing sells to someone who is trying a bit to hard. And no I don’t work for Cervelo either ……….

  30. RL: With all due respect – I was passing about a dozen guys yesterday with my old Specialized SL2. Some of them on Cervelo P3’s and one even had a S5. Last week I was out with my Cervelo P4 and I passed all the guys that I’ve seen. The legs make the difference not the bike.

    You seem to think Cervelo has started the aero roadbike story. But really this Kestrel from 1990 seems to have a rear wheel cut-out, internal cabling, aerodynamic brakes, etc. 5-6 years before Cervelo was even founded! It seems Cervelo has copied mostly ideas that Kestrel already implemented. Funny 🙂

    But anyway, it’s really rare that the inventor of something is the uber-master at it. I bet the inventor of soccer wouldn’t come far in today’s soccer world.

    Same with Cervelo: They had a strong start but the competition passed them on all fronts. Now they play catching up.

    How long did it take Cervelo to come up with the P5 and integrate the cockpit, hide the front brake, make it possible to have internal DI2 wiring and hide the Di2 battery inside the frame. Other manufacturers had that for years. Specialized even has a drinking system inside the tri frame now. Trek has a tail (toolbox) that can be removed for UCI races that don’t allow it. Trek has integrated speed and cadence sensors which are certainly much better than any sensors you have to mount to your frame.. And then again I wonder why I haven’t seen a single P5 in UCI road races? All pros are still on the P4 with the shitty rear brake, can’t used the TINY integrated aerodynamic bottle (try to clean that bottle through the tiny opening).

    Well you’re slamming Specialized because they colaborated with McLaren on one of their top offerings and tried to make it better? So it’s wrong to get people involved that have proven expertise? Isn’t it a little absurd when Cervelo does the same getting in bed with Magura, Rotor, etc.

    I wish Cervelo had colaborated with Magura before and I wouldn’t have to put up with the shitty rear brakes on my P4.

    When it comes to marketing BS I think Cervelo is right there with Specialized. BBright my ass. How is VWD different from S-Works or McLaren? I wonder how much weight could be saved if they didn’t put that “non-fancy” paint on the S5. The project california finish looks much cooler and is obviously lighter.

  31. pros are not on p5s because they arent out yet. for cervelo teams, they use off-the-shelf frames.
    s5 team (pretty much an s5 with lighter paint) saves about 50g on the frame. vwd is definitely different. i would be surprised if it didnt come out of a completely different factory.
    and youre right, cervelo is playing catch-up right now.

  32. Wow All the negative comments are prolly from people that have never ridden the bike. I own 2 and they are hands down the best bikes i’ve ever ridden! Yea you may not like the paint scheme but does that really matter when you trying to out sprint your buddy?

  33. I’d gladly try the S5VWD with Mad fiber wheelset and Shimano DA-9000. I think the bike has something which is uncommon in a good way. The 2013 graphics i dislike, but the 2012 black/ blue i really like.
    Talking aero, i’d like some integrated brakes like BMC TMR01 or new Trek Madone 7 series.
    Headtube and stack seems high, but a smaller frame should do if saddle could be pushed back sufficiently. Could i afford, i would try swapping frames between this and my Scott Foil.

  34. I own an 2009 Cervelo R3. Then I purchased a 2012 S5 team. I am a data geek and I can guarantee you the S5 is 1.5 to 2 full km/h faster than the S3 and the S3 is not a bad bike. Take the bike in the picture throw some aero bars or bullhorns on it get an aero helmet and go to your favorite TT course and tell me what you think. Ill save you the expense, you will be blown away by the numbers. I raced the S5 just like I describe and WOW. There is only one bike I would even consider over the S5 and that is the Specialized Venge. But I am not spending $12,500. I just bought a 2012 VWD frame used, and can build it up with Shimano Ultegra Di2 11, and Enve 6.7 Smarts, for less than 6 Gs. The Venge is a great frame, finally after a decade of subpar frames from that manufacturer. Ill take my build and gladly save 6 Gs, thank you very much. The S5 is ugly to some but when I saw the 20 K TT results ohhhh she is so beautiful now.

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