This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
In 2015, Cervélo disappeared from the WorldTour as its former team Garmin-Sharp merged with Cannondale to form Team Cannondale-Garmin. It's fair to say that the Canadian brand's bikes never really left men's pro racing, with the then MTN-Qhubeka team managing wildcard entries into some of the biggest races. But for 2016 the South-African registered outfit, now named Dimension Data for Qhubeka, has stepped into the WorldTour ranks – and with that, Cervélo is properly back in the big league.
Having previously ridden for Garmin-Sharp and then Cannondale-Garmin before signing with Dimension Data on a two-year contract, Nathan Haas of Australia seems rather happy on his new Cervélo S5. Haas, who's a former mountain biker, clearly pays closer attention to his setup than many others in the peloton. Chat with the charismatic 26-year old about his bikes and he'll reel off weights of wheels, and the other little touches he prefers.
Off the bike, Haas is a popular personality within the cycling world, often to be found playing guitar or (until recently at least) promoting his successful Kickstarter campaign – the Attack the Pack card game.
Back in the game
Just one year out of the WorldTour…
Cervélo may only spent a year out of the WorldTour, but Haas is extremely happy to be back aboard one of its bikes – in this case the revised S5. Released for 2015, it's commonly used as an aero benchmark by many other leading brands.
"I can just get so much more aggressive on this bike and keep control of the thing," says Haas when we catch up with him at the Santos Tour Down Under. "It's not meant for the casual bunch ride that you can then race on – this is a pure bred racing horse.
"[Cervélo] were really the originator of aero tubing on a road bike – they're always pushing bikes to the limit, and pulling it back to make it rideable," he adds.
It's this latter characteristic, according to Haas, that makes a Cervélo such an "important tool" for winning races.
"There are other brands in the peloton, such as Trek and Canyon, that are putting out really nice bikes," Haas continues. "But what you can say about Cervélo is that if it's not the very best, it's at least on par with the bikes of the fastest guys in the world. There's no handicap – and this bike is certainly competitive."
Such praise from Haas certainly lines up with our own opinion of the new S5. The new generation of the bike features a lower and more aggressive head tube, while frame stiffness numbers are way up and on par with the brand's super light, but not so aero R5. The quick sprinting duo of Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw will also be riding the new aero bike for Dimension Data in 2016.
New pedals forced a few setup changes, but otherwise it's much the same for Haas
We ask Haas how his setup has changed since he last rode Cervélo in 2014. With a change to Speedplay pedals, he mentions that things such as saddle height did change. But otherwise, while his position on the S5 is a little different, he claims his R5 is like being "back at home".
Oh so trick...
The fast frame is one thing, but Dimension Data has a list of component sponsors that fulfil many people's dream bike aspirations. The cockpit and wheels are provided by American composites master ENVE; the power meter and perhaps soon to be drivetrain are from Spanish outfit Rotor; and all the parts that spin are doing so on CeramicSpeed bearings.
With ENVE providing the rolling stock, Haas changes wheels depending on the day's stage. When we photograph and weigh his bike – 7.11kg, since you ask – it features mid-depth SES 4.5 tubular wheels for the upcoming sprint stage.
Catching him before one of the climbing stages, we find Haas has swapped out to the new SES 2.2 tubular climbing wheels with ENVE's new carbon hubs.
"These wheels are 1032g for the pair, and CeramicSpeed have sent us some special bearings for them. I think, almost without doubt, it's the fastest climbing wheel on earth," he says.
The ENVE bars offer a subtle curve
"We're also now using ENVE bars and I'm really enjoying them, as they promote a good posture through the wrist," says Haas of his ENVE Compact 40cm carbon items, which flare outward between the hoods and drops.
Currently the Dimension Data team is using Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains. However, they're sponsored by Rotor, a brand that is currently working on its 'Uno' hydraulic groupset.
"I've had a play with the new hydraulic groupset – it's pretty cool," reveals Haas when we ask him about Uno. "I think there are a few guys that will be phasing it in, and Rotor is really working with the riders to make sure it's perfect for release. It's important to get it right, and we appreciate this method."
In the meantime, the team is riding with cranksets and chainrings from Rotor. While there's ready access to oval rings, Haas prefers more traditional 53/39 round ones.
Rotor's new power meter in testing
Like others in his team, Haas is testing the new Rotor 2INPower power meter, which adds left and right leg measurement over the currently available left-based InPower crank arm.
"I really like the new power meter – with the (power) device within the crank spindle, it's 'dead' weight and doesn't add to rotational weight," says Haas. Proving just how good a place this is to add mass to a bike, some other teams such as BMC have been known to add custom lead weights within the crank spindle to get bikes over the UCI's 6.8kg minimum weight limit.
While Haas awaits the new drivetrain, his Dura-Ace Di2 setup is perhaps a little faster than most. This is due to a rather pricey upgrade of the CeramicSpeed OSPW system. This special carbon derailleur cage replaces the stock cage on Shimano derailleurs, and provides its own 17t pulley wheels for a claimed 2.4W saving. Such a saving is the result of less wrapping of the individual chain links – and the ultra-slick CeramicSpeed ceramic bearings too.
Putting the final touches on his setup, Haas grips his ENVE handlebar with high-traction Lizard Skins DSP bar tape, while a well-padded Fizik Aliante VS Braided saddle is his perch of choice.