The Cervelo Soloist is back! Jumbo-Visma has another new bike

Almost two decades ago, Cervelo's Soloist range altered the path of bike design before disappearing forever. But now it's back.

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Yesterday we reported on a new Cervelo S5 we had spotted many Jumbo-Visma riders racing on this season. The updates to the S5 frame are so subtle they had gone unnoticed thus far and made for a great game of spot the difference. Cervelo has since confirmed the bike spotted is indeed a new S5 set for release later this year.

Less than 24 hours later, we have a new game of Spot the Cervelo. We were alerted to what looked like a new Caledonia by a CyclingTips Twitter follower, @MirceaGhinea. Unlike the new S5 that most of the team is racing, seemingly only Johannes Staune-Mittet on Jumbo-Visma’s development team has yet raced on the new frame, and so clear pictures of the bike are extremely limited. The shot provided to us isn’t great (big kudos to @MirceaGhinea for spotting this) and, as such, doesn’t reveal much, but this is certainly a new frame. Whether it is the new Caledonia seemed very unlikely, though. After all, Cervelo had only launched the Caledonia 5 less than two years ago as its new endurance bike. With relatively huge tyre clearance, comfort, and stability all wrapped up in an aero road frame, the Caledonia is pretty up to date. This is the bike Marianne Vos raced to a podium finish in the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes, after all, so a refresh seemed unlikely.

So we asked Cervelo, “Hey, what’s this bike?” Much to our surprise (and as you’ll hear on this week’s CyclingTips Podcast) Cervelo replied, ” It is not a Caledonia-5. We call it FM151, the Soloist.”

The Soloist is back.

The Soloist Carbon, as used by Team CSC.

Anyone who raced a bike or watched bike racing in the mid-2000’s will know the Soloist. And anyone who rides a bike today likely has a lot to thank (or blame) the Soloist for. The Soloist was one of the most popular bikes of its time and one of the first of the aero focused road racing bikes we know today. The Soloist changed the trajectory of bike design, and set the road racing world on the path that leads to today’s fully integrated aero machines. I longed for a Soloist in my early racing days, as featured in my best bikes of the past thirty years feature. But the Soloist disappeared somewhere around 2008, replaced by the S range, including the S2, S3, and eventually, the S5.

We have no exact details as of yet, but from these few photos, we can make a few observations about what the new Soloist is.

The new Soloist looks alot like the Caledonia 5 from the front.

Any frame from Cervelo with the Soloist name would have to be an aero bike, and clearly, the new Soloist does not disappoint. Starting at the front, the bike utilises FSA’s ACR system for fully internal cable routing and features the same tapered head tube for a clean and aero look. Staune-Mittet’s bike features an FSA two-piece bar and stem offering increased adjustability. While nowhere near the proportions on the new S5, the Soloist’s head tube area is in keeping with an aero frame, similar to that of the Caledonia 5 and much deeper than that found on the new R5. Side-on at least, the fork on the new Soloist is remarkably similar to that on the Caledonia, especially around the lower crown. Furthermore, the down tube’s truncated airfoil profile also appears very similar to that found on the Caledonia 5, but here the similarities end.

This image was provided to us by @MirceaGhinea. Photographer unknown.

The top tube is the first big giveaway. Slightly sloping on the Caledonia, it’s almost horizontal on the new Soloist. Cervelo have again utilised those new UCI rules to incorporate a mini-compensation triangle at the top tube-to-seat tube junction. As mentioned in the new S5 article, compensation triangles smooth the airflow over the frame, creating a slight improvement in the frame’s aerodynamic efficiency. That bring us to the seat tube, and the area that first caught our eye. The truncated profile on the seat tube is fairly standard at this point, and something the Caledonia also features. However, where the seat tubes on the Caledonia and S5 follow the curvature of the rear wheel, there’s a much larger gap on the Soloist. The design is much more akin to the lower seat tube found on the Specialized Shiv TT Disc.

The new Soloist also features dropped seatstays, now seemingly mandatory for an aero road frame. Unfortunately, we cannot determine from the photos at hand which bottom bracket Cervelo has opted for, although presumably, it will stick with its BBright standard.

One big question that remains unanswered right now is where the Soloist will sit in Cervelo’s crowded range of aero road frames. Given that Cervelo has provided the Jumbo-Visma development team with this new bike and not the World Tour team, that may indicate the Soloist might be more of a mid-range model offered at a more affordable price point. Either way, Cervelo told us it will be the second half of this year before the new Soloist is commercially available, but we’ll continue to bring you more on this bike as we have it.

Editors' Picks