Cervelo Road Bikes Guide : Which Model is For You?

We are a reader supported site. We earn commissions when you buy through links on our site. Learn more.

Cervélo is a Canadian bike company that was founded in 1995 by Gerard Vroomen and Phil White. It started when Vroomen started researching bike dynamics at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Cervélo bikes were first unveiled to the public at the 1996 Toronto Bike Show and have since then gone strength to strength to be one of the leading bike brands today.

In 2012, Pon Holdings, a Dutch conglomerate bought Cervélo from Vroomen and White. Pon Holdings also has marketing rights to the likes of Raleigh, Santa Cruz, and Focus Bikes. 

Today, Cervélo head office is located in Southern California.

Cervélo Road Bikes in Pro Racing

Lazer Genesis Helmet
Photo Credit : Team Jumbo Visma

Cervélo’s entry into pro cycling began in 2003 with Team CSC. When they first started the partnership, Team CSC was ranked 14th in the world ranking. When the partnership ended in 2008, Carlos Sastre has just won the 2008 Tour de France onboard a Cervélo bike.

In 2009, it sponsored its own team, the Cervélo TestTeam, and the evolved to become Garmin-Cervélo from 2011 to 2014. From 2016 to 2018, Team Dimension Data and its various incarnations rode on Cervélo with the likes of former world champion, Mark Cavendish. 

After a brief period away from pro cycling, Cervélo is back with Team Jumbo-Visma for 2021.

Cervélo Road Bikes Line Up

Cervélo road bikes are divided into three models; R for all-rounder/climbing, S for aero, and C for endurance.

For each model, there’s the 5 (top of the line) and Series (mid-tier) frames.

Example : Cervélo S-Series Ultegra Di2

ModelDescriptionPrice Range
R5 and R-SeriesAll-rounder race bike$6,000 to $9,500
S5 and S-SeriesAero race bike$4,500 to $12,000
Caledonia 5 and CaledoniaEndurance bike$3,200 to $11,500

Cervélo R5 and R-Series

Cervelo R5 Disc
Photo Credit : Cervelo

The R5 and R-Series are the all-rounder road race bikes from Cervélo. The R5 sits at the top with the best components and the R-Series is mid-range.

Both R5 and R-Series share the same carbon fiber material. Cervélo calls the carbon tubing design, the Squoval Max, a reference to the combination of Square and Oval tube shapes to achieve a balance between weight, stiffness, and aerodynamics benefits according to their CFD analysis.

The main difference between R5 and R-Series lies in the frame geometry. The R5 is designed for those who want an aggressive position on the bike. For example, a size 54 R5 has a 7mm lower stack and 2mm longer reach as compared to an R-Series in the same size.

Another way to look at it is the R5 is for the pros while the R-Series caters to a wider spectrum of recreational cyclists.

The R5 and R-series are disc only and available in five different setups. The R5 is also available in frameset only.

  • R5 (from $9,500) – SRAM Red eTap AXS / Shimano Dura Ace Di2
  • R-Series (from $6,000) – SRAM Red eTap AXS / Shimano Ultegra Di2
  • R-Series (from $4,500) – Shimano Ultegra R8000

Our Value Pick : Cervélo R-Series with SRAM Red eTAP AXS ($6,000) 

Cervélo S5 and S-Series

Cervelo S5 Disc
Photo Credit : Cervelo

The S5 and S-Series are all about aerodynamic performance and maximizing speed. This can be seen throughout the frame’s design. Most road cyclists would concur that the Cervélo S5 is among their top choice for an aero road bike.

They come with 25mm tires but the frame allows up to 30mm. The difference between the S5 and S-Series lies in the frame design, geometry, and cockpit setup.

The S5 has a very aggressive frame geometry, placing the rider much lower on the bike and reducing their frontal area. A size 54 S5 has a 13mm lower stack and 6mm longer reach as compared to a size 54 S-Series.

When it comes to aerodynamics, the S5 has an extended seat tube cutout; a close-fitting curve in the seat tube that fully shields the leading edge of the rear wheel. In the S-Series, this cut-out is only partial, therefore not shielding the rear wheel completely.

Besides, the S5 uses the now-famous V-shaped, one-piece carbon cockpit compared to the two-piece, carbon stem, and alloy handlebars in the S-Series.

Both the S5 and S-Series are available in a complete bike setup or frameset only.

  • S5 SRAM ($6,900 / $8,400 / $12,000) – SRAM Rival / Force / Red eTap AXS
  • S5 Shimano ($7,000 / $8,700 / $12,000) – Shimano Ultegra / Ultegra Di2 / Dura Ace Di2
  • S-Series Shimano ($4,500 / $6,000) –  Shimano Ultegra / Ultegra Di2 

Our Value Pick : Cervélo S5 with Shimano Ultegra Di2 ($8,700)

Cervélo Caledonia 5 and Caledonia

Cervelo Caledonia 5
Photo Credit : Cervelo

The Caledonia is the latest addition to the Cervélo family, replacing the C series. It’s the endurance lineup of bikes designed for comfort and long-distance riding over tarmac, backroads, and smooth, hardpacked gravels.

Compared to the R and S series, the Caledonia has a much more relaxed geometry with a higher stack and shorter reach. This puts the rider in a more upright position for comfort rather than aero.

Both Caledonia 5 and Caledonia share the same carbon fiber, frame geometry and can take tires up to 34mm wide. The major difference lies in the cockpit.

The Caledonia 5 has a cleaner front end with hidden cables for all models while the Caledonia has external cabling. The beauty of the Caledonia 5 lies in Cervélo’s Performance Fit. The stem and two bearing caps allow for a choice between a more aggressive 7mm or relaxed 22mm stack without needed any spacers.

On the other hand, the Caledonia has integrated mounting points for fenders, lights, and computers.

The Caledonia 5 is available in various electronic shifting configurations or frameset only.

  • Caledonia 5 SRAM ($5,500 / $7,300 / $11,500) – SRAM Rival / Force / Red eTap AXS
  • Caledonia 5 Shimano ($7,300 / $11,500) – Shimano Ultegra Di2 / Dura Ace Di2
  • Caledonia SRAM ($4,400) – SRAM Rival eTap AXS
  • Caledonia Shimano ($3,200 / $4,100 / $5,000) – Shimano 105 R7000 / Ultegra R8000 / Ultegra Di2

Our Value Pick : Cervélo Caledonia with Shimano Ultegra Di2 ($5,000)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Cervélo’s warranty?

Cervélo road bike frame and fork have a lifetime warranty for the original owner except for paint and decals.

More info here.

Does Cervélo have a women-specific model?

Cervelo doesn’t have a women-specific model. Their frame sizing starts at 48 which fits riders from  5′ 3″ (160cm) and above.

Read More : 

Dan Matthews

Dan Matthews

Dan used to race competitively in the amateur ranks until his mid-30s. He's married with 3 kids aged 5, 7, and 10. When not riding or writing, you can find him obsessing himself in his latest hobby, scuba diving.