This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Cervélo's P-series time trial bikes have become revered among the clock-chasing fraternity, with good reason. Always innovative, Cervélo sets the standard for others to beat, but can the P5 still cut it?
- Highs: Aerodynamics, integration, saddle, cockpit, gearing
- Lows: No gear change ability from the brake levers
- Buy if: You appreciate the best and are ready for a life of racing without excuses
The cockpit has a bespoke and fully adjustable one-piece 3T carbon stem and base bar, with carbon extensions. The narrow base bar's wing-shaped top allows the extensions to be raised with the sculpted aero support pictured, or with some tinkering, they’ll sit just on top of the bar, which is how we tested the bike.
Twin exhausts for a couple of tiny rocket motors, or bolts to clamp the dedicated aero seatpost?
A void within the stem hides the Di2 junction box and wires, plus hoses for the Magura RT8 hydraulic callipers. Their delta shape matches that of the fork crown, and a two-part aero cover ensures minimal leading-edge wind disruption. The rear brake is hidden behind a cowl under the bottom bracket.
The P5's near-vertical carbon seatpost is topped with ISM's Adamo Prologue split nose saddle. It looks unconventional, but is a massive help when riding hard in a tuck. Those vast tube junctions, plus really chunky asymmetric chainstays mean there's no flex, and standing starts are only limited by your ability.
Di2 is excellent on most TT bikes, thanks to multiple shifter positions, but the Magura brake levers mean the only shifters are on the extensions, a limit when cornering, starting or climbing. Braking is as powerful and modulated as good mechanical brakes, but requires far less pressure.
HED's 60mm deep rims are 27mm at their widest, with an aluminium braking track, contemporary aerodynamics and superb stability. They're laterally stiff, happy to gain speed, and keen to keep it.
We found the hydraulic Magura brakes were very impressive
The Continental clinchers are solid performers too, fast, grippy and robust, although the 24mm rear has minimal brake clearance. We found the gearing ideal, and only the really rapid might want a bigger ring.
As demonstrated by Fabian Cancellara, the P5 can be both predatory and pussycat. It's possible to feel intimidated by a bike with limits far higher than yours, but it's rewarding when you settle into the cockpit and begin to flow through turns and really wind it up.
The handling is docile and stable, unflustered by poor surfaces, building the confidence to ride faster, stay in the tuck for longer, and push your envelope. It's not a cheap option, but as an off-the-peg clock worrier, the P5 still has few equals.