We have taken delivery of our new steed, the much talked about and long anticipated Cervelo P5X.
The first impression the P5X gives you is that it’s something special, the shape is otherworldly and it resembles a bike of the motorised kind. The second thing you notice is absence of seat stays. The saddle is suspended in thin air by the huge top tube that shoots out from the head tube. The third is obviously the disc brakes. Cervelo claim that the P5X is the first bike to be designed solely for long distance triathlon, allowing them to throw out the UCI’s rule book and create something very special indeed.
The bike looks incredible, mine is the Di2 Ultegra version with HED Jet 6 and Jet 9 wheels. The first run of these frames is finished in gloss and some of the detail of the carbon can be seen on close inspection. The frame doesn’t look like it should work, the absence of seat stays and seat tube take a little while to get used to. Cervelo claim that less that .5mm of deflection in the top tube can be measured with rider on board.
So how does it ride?
My first ride was on the streets of Perth on smooth tar seal, it felt great. The bike is responsive despite the lack of tubes and you can’t really tell you’re kind of floating. I thought the ride might be a little more forgiving given the tube arrangement but the reality is that the bike is so stiff it didn’t feel much different from my P5 in the back end. Where you really notice the difference is up front. The P5X seems to be endlessly adjustable. The aero bars are mounted on a seat post type riser that gives you at least 4 inches of travel up and down, the aerobars can also be angled up and down through -5 degrees to +12. The pads adjust side to side and forward and aft, as do the skis. The handle bars too can be adjusted in height by turning them 180 degrees.
The first real test.
I had to travel to Western Australia to collect the bike and it happened to be the same week as the Busselton 70.3, so naturally I entered to give the bike its first real shake down. There were a few ooo’s and ahh’s when I racked in transition as well as the occasional glare. I was a little concerned about the setup, but it was the day before race day so I was pretty well committed. Busselton is a flat, smooth and very fast course. It suits the way I ride and given I was on the new ‘super bike’ I was hoping for a PB bke split. The bike did not disappoint, I did struggle to get comfortable and have since slammed the front end of the bike and changed the skis for straights, however I did manage to PB and rode a 2:21 – stoked!
Traveling with the Cervelo P5X
One of the key design features of the P5X is ease of break down and travel. Cervelo teamed up with Biknd to produce a purpose built travel case. Before packing mine away I watched the official Cervelo youtube video of the bike being packed down and to be honest this was one of the biggest attractions of the bike. Having traveled a lot with my P5 and eventually wearing out some delicate threads, I was keen on something that looked more simple to pack away. The reality is slightly different from what Cervelo claim. The bike is easy to break down but the cockpit requires and little more attention than shown in the video. There is a small plastic cover that needs to be removed to access the stem bolts and free up the bar riser which is essential to the packing process. On the whole though once you work it out the process is relatively simple and the travel case is great.
I’m wrapped with the bike. The price tag is silly and it’s not quite as refined as Cervelo claim but it is special and you feel that when you throw as much power down as you can. The P5X is a joy to ride and I’m looking forward to its next big outing at the inaugural Edinburgh 70.3 in a fortnight’s time.