Our most anticipated bike from last year turned out to be more than a little difficult to get hold of. We had the S5 Team bike for only a couple of weeks, as it was in high demand. Now, though, we’ve been given a bit longer to play with its big brother, the S5 VWD.
Using the same mould as the other S5s, but a different carbon layup, the VWD (Vroomen White Design) is not only the company’s signature model but also its lightest and stiffest aerodynamic road frame to date.
Our S5 is doubling up as our test bike for Shimano’s new 9000 mechanical groupset, so came appropriately built with Dura Ace 11-speed C35 wheels, a Pro stem and Zipp aero bars. But as the VWD is available only as a frameset, you’ll be able to dress it any way you like.
Every aerodynamic road bike we’ve ever tested has embodied a compromise: the ride suffers as a result of the tubes having been made slippery in the wind. It’s the inevitable consequence of narrow, yet deep tubes (meaning they flex under twisting loads and kick you over bumps). It’ll probably come as no surprise that Cervélo, having been making aero bikes for 16 years, is the least compromised.
Said to save up to 30 watts over a ‘standard’ road bike, it’s clearly fast. On the road, those watts are noticeable; the improvement is similar to replacing your normal box-section wheels with a set of 60mm rims. Thanks to the 15 per cent increase in stiffness, the VWD isn’t the compromise of previous aero road bikes and the 56cm frame weighs under a kilogram.
You’ll want to have a second look at the geometry before ordering, as we found the head tube to be on the long side when compared to other 58cm race bikes, whereas the top tube came up shorter.
Do we like the Cervélo, then? Yes, but you probably anticipated that – we’ve long been fans of aero bikes. Without a doubt, the S5 is a step forwards in terms of being more aerodynamic than its predecessors. It’s also better in terms of comfort and resistance to twisting, making it the best-handling too.
Price quoted is for frameset only