Primoz Roglic previews new Cervelo R5 at La Fleche Wallonne

Still a semi-aero lightweight, but now with tweaked frame shaping and fully internal cable routing.

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Jumbo-Visma star Primoz Roglic may have come up just a bit short at Fleche Wallone yesterday, but perhaps the sting was lessened by the jubilation of #newbikeday? Ok, probably not, but Roglic was nevertheless spotted on an unannounced new Cervelo that presumably will be the next-generation R5.

Overall, the new R5 clearly sticks to the same overall design goal of being primarily lightweight and stiff, but with some aero cues. The down tube is still D-shaped and appears to have grown ever-so-slightly deeper in section depth (at least down by the bottom bracket), and it’s fair to assume that the seat tube and seatpost stick with the proven flat-back concept, too. 

In a move that will surprise exactly no one, the new Cervelo moves to fully internal cable routing up front. Whether it’ll still be compatible with mechanical drivetrains is still to be determined.

The most obvious change is up front. The current R5 has a rather narrow-profile head tube, and the derailleur line enters the frame at the top tube, just behind the stem. On the new bike, the routing is now fully internal through the handlebar and stem, and the head tube has grown in width to accommodate. Roglic’s bike features a stem and bar from team sponsor FSA (with that brand’s ACR system), but production bikes would more likely use the house-brand stuff that Cervelo has been using on its other bikes with this sort of routing.

Not much is known about the steerer tube shape, but it seems like a safe bet that Cervelo would adopt the crescent moon profile here that’s already used on its Caledonia 5 all-road bike and Aspero 5 gravel bike

One visual consequence of the new routing setup is that the head tube has grown considerably in order to fit everything inside. But while the front end is clearly more bulbous than on the current R5, the visual impact is still tempered with the new bike’s more integrated-looking fork, which now flows more smoothly into the surrounding structure.

The new routing setup certainly makes for a cleaner look, and also presumably helps with aerodynamic efficiency.

Not a whole lot of change is obvious out back, with the new bike sticking to the big-chainstay-little-seatstay approach that has marked every R-series Cervelo since day one. The hidden seatpost binder appears to have been cleaned up a bit, though, and Cervelo is likely to stick by its BBRight asymmetrical press-fit bottom bracket shell down below.

Geometry-wise, your guess is as good as mine with respect to any potential changes. Cervelo is hopefully finally adopting size-specific seat tube angles on the new bike, though, as the 73° figure that’s used across the board on the current R5 certainly isn’t ideal. 

Cervelo is understandably tight-lipped on technical details regarding the new bike, but the company did at least acknowledge its existence, even providing its internal engineering project code: FM140.

Roglic’s previous Cervelo R5 features similar overall design cues on the frame, but the front end is noticeably slimmer.

“It’s still under development, still in engineering,” said Richard Keeskamp from Cervelo’s sports marketing division. “We have been testing it with the team, and yesterday was the first race. We can still make some small adjustments to it but I believe, from the feedback we have, it’s 99% sure that we will bring it like it is. What I can tell you is that the cables are all internal, but that’s not all. We are not bringing a new bike that only features internal cable routing. There will be more new shapes to the bike, but the last details, I am not sure yet.”

Roglic may have been the first Jumbo-Visma rider to use the new bike in competition, but that’s about to change very quickly. According to Keeskamp, both Jumbo-Visma teams have already been testing the new bike, and it’s set to see further action at all three Grand Tours, the Giro Rosa, and the Olympics. 

The exact timeline for the official release is very much up in the air, however — and it’s not due to anything internal at Cervelo. 

When will Cervelo announce this new bike officially? That’s hard to say, but it sounds like Cervelo will be ready before its suppliers will be.

“We need to bring it to the market in the next twelve months, but when exactly depends a lot on when we can assemble bikes,” Keeskamp said. “That’s a huge, huge issue. Normally, I would be able to tell you, ok, four months from now it’ll be available, but it’s simply impossible to tell you right now. With this sort of bike, you need a high-end gruppo, and that’s a serious problem, and also wheels and the right saddle. It’s not a fully set product yet so the name is still pending. But we will bring it to market as soon as possible because I think we have enough feedback from the team to be very confident that this is a great bike.”

In other words, you know the global bike parts shortage is bad when even a brand like Cervelo can’t secure enough supply to firmly plan a new bike launch date. And based on Keeskamp’s comment, it sounds like this new machine might not even be called an R5. 

We’ll find out more soon enough.

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