The Ironman World Championship is right around the corner, and new superbikes are popping up left and right. Last night, Cervelo took the wraps off their radical new P5X – a bike that has been many years in the making. After seeing that Biowheels in Madeira, OH actually had one on hand, we decided it was time to pay one of our favorite local shops (and a previous employer of Zach – Ed.) a visit to check out the bike, the tech, and the weight in person…
Like most new tri bikes, when it came time to develop the P5X Cervelo wanted to make it faster – but more importantly, they wanted it to be at least as fast with the addition of disc brakes. It seems that disc brakes are the way forward for tri bikes and Disc discs will become more prevalent (which is good news for those who have had to set up integrated aero brakes). Supposedly, Cervelo achieved their goal, not only making the bike as fast as previous P5 but making it a bit faster in the process. The addition of disc brakes plus the nature of the frame means the addition of thru axles as well with a 142×12 rear and 100×12 front QR thru axle. The brakes are flat mount with 160mm rotors and TRP’s HYRD mechanical/hydraulic calipers.
Cervelo also wanted to ensure their wind tunnel results actually translated to the race course which is what sent them on a massive investigation into the actual set ups found on the course. Supposedly, Cervelo took over 14,000 photos of different bikes to see exactly what riders were doing with their bikes. You can have the most aero bike in the world in the wind tunnel, but if you’re taping gels to the top tube and strapping tubes to the frame, those numbers go out the window. To make sure the bike is as fast as possible, the P5X features three main storage compartments that are both built in and removable depending on the location for the perfect amount of storage.
On the top tube, the SmartPak features a structured zippered pouch with internal organization for gels, a center section for deeper storage, and even a small tray for electrolyte tabs. It can be removed from the frame completely if not needed and includes a cover for the hole in the frame.
Speaking of frame openings, Biowheels’ owner Mitch Graham pointed out that you can access the internal cable routing through the openings of the frame making assembly a bit easier.
In front of the bottom bracket is the Stealth Box which is the one completely integrated storage compartment. Nestled inside the opening is a small box which is big enough to hold a spare tube, small co2 inflator, and a multi tool to keep the weight down low. The compartment is accessed through a latch on the driveside and includes a secondary latch on the box itself to open the storage compartment.
Finally, the SpeedCase is the third storage area which is also removable and bolts to a standard water bottle mount on the down tube. There is a secondary water bottle mount on top of the SpeedCase when the box is in use so you don’t lose the mounting location. The thought is that if you’re only doing a Sprint or Olympic distance tri, you don’t need the same amount of storage as an Ironman, so the storage space should be modular to fit your needs.
Additional bottle storage is offered behind the saddle with a built in mount. The seat post can actually pierce the upper beam and is held in place by a single pinch bolt, but the post can be cut at the bottom for maximum aerodynamics. This bike’s post has already been cut. Most bikes will likely be fit, then cut to size for the owner who will then still have a small range of adjustment.
Perhaps one of the most surprising features of the frame isn’t really a design element, but where it is built. All of the P5X frames are being built by HED Cycling in Minnesota. Supposedly only 40 bikes were built in the first run with more on the way.
Along with storage and aerodynamics, the frame features a number of impressive features to make it fit a huge range of rider and to make it easier to travel. Both the base bar and the elbow pad cradle can be flipped for different positions, and the height of the aerobars themselves can be adjusted 112mm with a sliding stack height “post.” Electronics can be integrated into the frame behind the handlebars with a window built in for junction boxes. Between the elbow pads you’ll also find another water bottle cage mount.
Anyone who has ever packed or traveled with a tri bike can tell you – it’s not fun. The bikes are modern marvels when it comes to performance, but getting them into and out of their shipping homes can be a challenge. However, Cervelo seems to have thought of everything with a custom P5X case from biknd as well as a unique collapsible base bar. To break the bike down, you just remove the four screws that hold the base bar together and it divides into two pieces which are then held to each fork leg with a neoprene sleeve. That allows you to slide the bike into the case without messing with the headset and preserving most of your settings. Built with inflatable sides for protection and thru axle mounting points, the biknd case isn’t included with the bike though – it’s another $800.
On Biowheels’ scale, the medium frame as pictured with all three storage compartments in place (without the spare tube) came in at 21.96lbs (9.96kg). That’s with the $15,000 SRAM Red eTap build and ENVE wheels. Later in December, there will also be an Ultegra Di2 model offered with HED wheels and a slightly more attainable price of $11,000. Who’s to put a price on your Personal.Best, right?
Thanks to Mitch for the run down on the bike!