Following up their hardtail mountain bike debut last fall, Cervélo is back with an all-new full-suspension ZFS-5 short-travel XC bike just in time for this weekend’s cross-country World Cup racing kick-off. So far, we’ve just got a sneak peek of the bike that will see its racing debut under two Dutch riders of Jumbo-Visma, Fem van Empel and Milan Vader in Nové Město na Moravě – and we’ll take a deeper dive this coming weekend.
What do we know so far?
Cervélo ZFS-5 carbon full-suspension XC mountain bike
Cervélo’s all-new Z-series mountain bikes got a little bit of a jilted start in 2022, as their ZHT-5 hardtail had been originally set to debut last spring on the World Cup under Milan Vader. But the Jumbo-Visma racer had a life-altering crash – fracturing vertebrae, collarbone, shoulder & more during the Tour of the Basque Country road race just days before the first XCO race of 2022. He literally spent half a year in rehab, but was surprisingly able to return to racing on & off-road last year – debuting the Cervélo hardtail in October.
Now he is back on the World Cup, joined by new teammate and current Cyclocross World Champion Fem van Empel, both set to race the new fully on the notoriously techy Nové Město XCO course this weekend.
So, onto the bike…
Tech Details & Geometry
Yes, Cervélo is going all-in with XC mountain bike racing aboard the all-new ZFS-5 full-suspension bike. Official details remain thin on this XC race bike for the time being, but we’ve got plenty to go on…
Described as a “Progressive But Racy” bike, the ZFS is a classic full-carbon single-pivot mountain bike with flexing seatstays and a horizontal linkage-driven shock under the top tube. Cervélo says they chose to “keep it single, stupid” with a simple suspension design that is “tried and true, and very tuneable”.
That ‘progressive’ geometry of the bike is a bit more slack-for-XC than the ZHT hardtail to handle rough modern technical cross-country racing, with a 67.8° head angle in its shorter 100mm travel setup, paired with a nice and steep 76.2° seat angle to get back uphill. And for riders looking to go slacker, they can shift to a 66.6° headtube in the 120mm variant.
One trickier bit in the suspension, Cervélo describes the post mount rear brake as ‘floating’ as it attaches to the chainstay and then the axle, to isolate it from the suspension flex around the drop-out and lower-end of the seatstay.
The carbon full-suspension bike sticks with a threaded bottom bracket for usability, a 30.9 seatpost with stealth dropper routing, full internal cable routing through the 1.5″ headset, UDH compatibility with the latest direct mount SRAM Eagle AXS Transmission derailleurs, and gets two sets of bottle cage mounts inside the main triangle.
One more interesting detail though is that Cervélo have shared two sets of geometry for two different travel options – 100mm or 120mm, presumably for cross-country or marathon racing. While it’s not uncommon to slap a longer fork on an XC race bike to slacken it out for more comfortable long-distance mountain bike racing, the 120mm geo is slacker BUT shares the same bottom bracket drop. That suggests that there is either a flip-chip somewhere that we haven’t been able to spot, or there might be 2 different linkages for the separate travel options, which could also allow for rear travel variation too.
For sure, I’ll find out this weekend!
Cervélo ZFS-5 – Options & availability
For now, pricing hasn’t been set for the new full-suspension Cervélo ZFS-5 XC bike. But we do expect it to be offered in multiple build kit options, and both 100mm cross-country or 120mm marathon travel. What we do know for sure, is that you will have to wait a few more months for pricing and build details when the new ZFS-5 XC bike becomes available this summer 2023 through your local Cervélo dealer.