Tour de France tech: Mark Cavendish’s Custom Cervelo S5

by Dave Everett


LONGWY, France (CT) – Yeah, we know – it’s stunning, isn’t it? Mark Cavendish, freshly returned from a bout of glandular fever, is piloting this piece of art during this year’s Tour de France.

Cav’s Cervelo S5 has had more than a little respray. British company Silverstone Paint Technology (SPT) usually sticks within the realms of Formula 1, but it’s amazing to see what their ultralight heat-shielding material can accomplish on the carbon bike.

Beyond paint

Tom Briggs, Cervélo’s lead graphic designer, visited the SPT headquarters in Northamptonshire where he was shown the new heat-shielding material that’s usually applied to the brakes and engines of F1 cars. Covering the S5 in this material resulted in a ‘paint job’ that apparently weighs an unbelievable 1 gram. Cervelo claims the ‘paint’ is an equally unbelievable 10 microns thick.

Because adding paint and clear coat to the material would increase its weight, SPT used dyes to drastically reduce the amount of paint required. With only about a third of the frameset treated with the paint, it reduces the weight of the bike by a claimed 10% of the frame’s overall weight: a whole 75g.

Beyond the treatment (we daren’t call it paint) the bike has Dimension Data’s usual sponsored equipment. Enve supplies the rims and has colour-matched the decals to the frame, while also providing Aero carbon road bars. Keeping the wheels spinning are Chris King R45 hubs, again in a matching anodised green.

The groupset is from Shimano — the latest Dura-Ace 9100 Di2. The only deviations are a KMC X11S chain in gold and a Shimano 9000 series chainset. Fizik supply the saddle, the bar tape comes from Lizard Skin and the final contact point, the pedals, are Shimano Dura-Ace.

On the day we took photos, the bike was shod with tubulars from Continental — the Competition Pro LTDs in 25mm — though that could quickly change due to the unpredictable weather of northern Europe.

Note that Cavendish’s bike isn’t the first time SPT has been involved with Cervelo, as the company worked with British Cycling whom Cervelo supply special T5GB bikes to for Team GB track riders. These were used at the Rio Olympics in August.

Oh, and that treatment? It’s a steal at US$4,000!

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