Canadian manufacturer launches its innovative new P5X triathlon bike - could this be the future of aero bike design?

As radical bike designs go, there is little to rival Cervélo’s new P5X triathlon machine. The latest incarnation of the Canadian company’s aero bike was launched at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on Tuesday.

Cervélo are boldly claiming that the P5X is the ‘most technologically advanced triathlon bike ever made’. On looks alone, it’s hard to argue.

According to the firm, designing the P5X commenced in 2013. However, this didn’t just include hours of time working on a computer design package or in the wind-tunnel, but hours of interviews with triathletes to see what they wanted out of a bike and hours of observation of triathletes racing to see how they used their equipment.


The end result is a machine that aims not only to be fast in a racing environment, but also one that is practical when training and travelling. To this end, the P5X has customisable storage with various containers and mounts for bottles, tools, food and spare clothing. A folding aero bar and optional bespoke bike case make packing away easy.

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P5X lead designer David Killing said: “Whether training or racing, everything you need to support yourself, including nutrition, flat kit and cold weather gear, can be securely stowed in the exclusive Smartpak, Stealthbox and Speedcase components. With the added convenience of three round bottles placed exactly where you want them, performance will never be compromised.”

Of course, Cervélo did spend plenty of time honing the P5X’s aerodynamics – they say 180 hours in a wind tunnel to accompany the real-world testing. Part of this was incorporating the bike’s disc brakes set-up, which feature thru-axles on the front and rear hubs to improve stiffness.


The bike has also been designed to be set up the way a rider wants, with several ways to adjust the fit to get the ideal riding position.

Two builds of the bike will be initially available: one with SRAM Red eTap electronic gears, and another with Shimano Ultegra Di2.

The eTap model comes with Enve 7.8 wheels and is proced at $15,000, while the Shimano version has a Rotor crank and Hed 6.9 wheels and is priced $11,000. Four sizes are available: S, M, L, XL.


UK prices to be confirmed. Cervélo has a dedicated P5X website where you can find out more.

We had to wonder: although the bike is designed for triathlon, would it also be suitable for time trials, particularly in the light of rumours that the UCI is about to scrap its restrictive TT bike design rules?

According to a Cervélo spokesperson, the answer is no: “The P5X was designed for the triathlete, not for a time triallist.”

“If the UCI were to change the rules to allow for more radical designs for TT machines, we will look to design a bike for that purpose in mind.”

However, perhaps the P5X is in some small way a preview of what Cervélo’s time trial machine could resemble if UCI design restrictions are relaxed.