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Old 01-16-08, 10:26 AM   #1
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Test Riding Cervelo Today

LBS is setting up an 2008 Cervelo R3 SL for me to test ride today. The one I will test has Campy Chorus but if I pull the trigger, I am thinking about going SRAM Red. If not SRAM Red, then I will go D/A. I will put my Bontrager Race xxx lite carbon wheelset on it and we think even in my size it will be sub 15 pounds with saddle and pedals (assuming SRAM Red).

http://www.cervelo.com/bikes.aspx?bike=R3SL2008

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Old 01-16-08, 10:31 AM   #2
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Whoa. Is that a bike or an intergalactic cruiser? That thing looks so fast, it doesn't even sit still on my monitor.
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Old 01-16-08, 10:37 AM   #3
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SRAM component groups.............yummy.

For us common folk though...Rival is enough.
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Old 01-16-08, 10:45 AM   #4
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SRAM component groups.............yummy.

For us common folk though...Rival is enough.
Hey double D, did you check out the SRAM Red?. It is new and in limited supply. FYI...it is never enough. My nose bleeds when I look at the price list but the schwagg is worth the price to play. And please note that I am absolutely not worried about being worthy. Worthiness like Trix are for kids.
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Old 01-16-08, 11:10 AM   #5
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The TT will get a mixed group. Started with Rival brakes but much of the group is labeled by SRAM as "non series" Ie. TT shifters, TT brake levers, S-300 crankset.

When I finally remove the DA shift levers I will probably get the rest of the Rival 10 speed set. (not including the STI levers)

I'm afraid the Cervelo is beyond the current horizon. We will just have to see if I survive the White Rabbit TT without replacing the bulldog as someone's hood ornament.

Note: I can now safely mount and dismount the TT on the trainer without injuring myself...

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Old 01-16-08, 12:53 PM   #6
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SRAM component groups.............yummy.

For us common folk though...Rival is enough.
When I have to start replacing parts, I would like to go to the Sram Rival components.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:00 PM   #7
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Is there any way you can change the colour of those Decals? Blacks not too bad- but all that white will give the rider an inferiority complex if it ever gets anywhere near DG on his shopper.

Great bikes and one to aspire to.

Having been Mountain biking for so long- I am brainwashed into Shimano but I like everything about the "Red"- except for the prices.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:04 PM   #8
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Tasty, it must be nice to have the budget, especially for Red or DA. You only live once and you can't take it with you so what the hey.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:07 PM   #9
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I would really like to hear your impressions of that frame. What are you riding now? How does it compare? What other bikes have you tried to compare with the R3 SL? How tall are you and what size R3 did you test?

The one thing that has steered me away from the Cervelo bikes is the relatively short HT. I'm not getting any younger and my lower back just doesn't have the flexibility it once had. I know they have the RS now. But I am a bit disappointed it doesn't have the same layup as the R3.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:08 PM   #10
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When I have to start replacing parts, I would like to go to the Sram Rival components.
remember that when you start to change the "shiftables" that the SRAM road group uses a different ratio than Campy who are in turn different from Shimano.

You will have to change shifters, rear derailleur and cassette (probably chain) all at the same time to move into the SRAM road groups. I'm not sure about the front Derailleur yet. (for me with barcons, not a problem as front is friction but the double tap's may require it)
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Old 01-16-08, 01:13 PM   #11
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remember that when you start to change the "shiftables" that the SRAM road group uses a different ratio than Campy who are in turn different from Shimano.

You will have to change shifters, rear derailleur and cassette (probably chain) all at the same time to move into the SRAM road groups. I'm not sure about the front Derailleur yet. (for me with barcons, not a problem as front is friction but the double tap's may require it)
SRAM and Shimano are mostly interchangeable. The only parts that have to match are the shifter and the rear derailleur.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:16 PM   #12
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I would really like to hear your impressions of that frame. What are you riding now? How does it compare? What other bikes have you tried to compare with the R3 SL? How tall are you and what size R3 did you test?

The one thing that has steered me away from the Cervelo bikes is the relatively short HT. I'm not getting any younger and my lower back just doesn't have the flexibility it once had. I know they have the RS now. But I am a bit disappointed it doesn't have the same layup as the R3.
I will report later today. I have a Madone and the LBS is configuring the Cervelo to the exact (as close as possible) positions i.e. saddle to bar drop and etc. The idea is to get close to what I am riding today so that I can ride and appreciate (or not) the attributes of the new bike. The Cevelo can be rigged most anyway you want within reason. The picture shows a big seat to bar drop and I can assure you that will not be the case for me today.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:45 PM   #13
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SRAM and Shimano are mostly interchangeable. The only parts that have to match are the shifter and the rear derailleur.
Upon further research, it turns out that the cassettes have the same spacing and can be thought of as interchangable but the SRAM chain is narrower and may affect the "feel" of the cassette. The derailleurs (both front and rear) however have ratio's specific to the SRAM exact actuation shifters.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:47 PM   #14
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I will report later today. I have a Madone and the LBS is configuring the Cervelo to the exact (as close as possible) positions i.e. saddle to bar drop and etc. The idea is to get close to what I am riding today so that I can ride and appreciate (or not) the attributes of the new bike. The Cevelo can be rigged most anyway you want within reason. The picture shows a big seat to bar drop and I can assure you that will not be the case for me today.
"Wots da matter.........you couldn't find a Madone you liked in America"

To paraphrase a famous Ford commercial.
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Old 01-16-08, 02:07 PM   #15
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I followed the link and didn't see a weight limit, although those seat stays look amazingly minimal
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Old 01-16-08, 07:17 PM   #16
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Back from the test ride. The LBS did a fantastic job at duplicating the fit from my Madone. We put the bike on the trainer and checked out the fit - no adjustments needed. I am 6 feet, 168, 32 inseam and 35 sleeve length. The 58 cm frame with an 8 cm stem was perfect.

Next we weighed it and the bike as ridden weighed 15.2 pounds with Campy Chorus gruppo and Mavic wheels with carbon spokes.



I had a number of things to get used to including the Campy Ergo shifters and the compact double 50/34 with an 12/25 cassette versus my Shimano triple. Last night I did 45 minutes of intervals on rollers so the engine was suspect but seemed okay. The saddle was stiffer than I am used to but the fit was perfect so it felt a little too firm but does not enter into the evaluation.

The bike did not have a computer so the only metric I had was heart rate. By virtue of it being 4 pounds lighter than my Madone, acceleration and hill climbing were improved. However, out of the saddle climbing was extremely smooth. My ride was 25 miles and included a 2.5 mile climb with sections of the climb at a 7% grade. Nothing long or difficult but a good test. I flew up the hill and it became clear that climbing was very good.

I went down a steep rough descent and this frame and wheelset are stiffer than I am used to but performance was excellent. I felt in control at high speed on the rougher pavement. I got to the time trial course and now it was time to run the engine up to 95 cadence and see what this thing can do. At high speeds, it was very stable and I could jump out of the saddle and accelerate. Once again, out of the saddle sprinting and climbing were superb. The compact double was so so and I would prefer a 53/39. At times I seemed like i was in the wrong gear and a couple of shifts left me spinning like crazy. Obviously, one shifts this configuration differently and one has to get the hang of it.

I liked the ride a lot and got waved to in the parking lot by a hot chick. This should be an easy sale. Back to reality...the Madone is a great bike but not in the league of a Cervelo R3 SL but the Madone rides really smooth on rough roads. The Cervelo's ride is harsher but the upside is the responsiveness and crispness. For climbing there is no comparison, and in the bay area that is all we do.

Ergo shifting left me feeling ho hum (this is a personal preference from years with Shimano so Campy users do not need to defend yourselves. Campy is a great solution). SRAM Red is tough in that there are few complete gruppos available. It takes a couple of weeks to get it and theoretically no test ride. And it is a lot of dough. I will digest this and may test ride another brand. However, this is the fun part of buying new bikes.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:03 PM   #17
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Good report. That's a lot of new stuff to get used to in one ride.

By the way, the new Road Bike Action arrived today and lo and behold.....a short review of riding with red..............

Choices......choices.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:20 PM   #18
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Nice review. Could you tell any problems with using a 8cm stem? That seems a tad short for a bike and rider your size. At 6'3", the 58cm would work for me but with a 120 stem. My saddle to bar drop is similar to yours thus I would also need quite a few spacers or need to flip the stem.

I was most interested in the ride characteristics of the R3 and you described them well. I guess there are always compromises. If a bike is that snappy it probably will be more harsh than one that starts out smooth. I want it all but the question is how much do I need? My Parlee Z4 is very smooth and a good climber, however it is not what I would call snappy. I love the bike and for 99% of the type of riding I do it is great. Just every so often when I stand or jump I wish it were a tad bit more snappy. Maybe a stiffer set of wheels would make some difference.

Good luck with your decision. The R3 is certainly a great race bike.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:48 PM   #19
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Before riding a fine bike like the Cervelo R3 SL, isn't a half hour of foreplay recommended?
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Old 01-16-08, 09:19 PM   #20
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I wonder what the comparisons would be to the new Madons. How come a 58c frame size, given as much rise, just the extra frame weight of a 59 or 60?
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Old 01-16-08, 09:39 PM   #21
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Nice review. Could you tell any problems with using a 8cm stem? That seems a tad short for a bike and rider your size. At 6'3", the 58cm would work for me but with a 120 stem. My saddle to bar drop is similar to yours thus I would also need quite a few spacers or need to flip the stem.

I was most interested in the ride characteristics of the R3 and you described them well. I guess there are always compromises. If a bike is that snappy it probably will be more harsh than one that starts out smooth. I want it all but the question is how much do I need? My Parlee Z4 is very smooth and a good climber, however it is not what I would call snappy. I love the bike and for 99% of the type of riding I do it is great. Just every so often when I stand or jump I wish it were a tad bit more snappy. Maybe a stiffer set of wheels would make some difference.

Good luck with your decision. The R3 is certainly a great race bike.
The reality is that i should have a 56 cm. However, the seat to handlebar drop is more than I want right now or maybe never. The 58 with the shorter stem solves the problem. The shorter stem on the test ride seemed okay but I did not do any technical turns e.g. switchbacks. The tracking at high power and fast descent was perfect. I descended a hill I normally coast down and cranked up the cadence enough to keep power on through the turns. The bike was perfect. So, who knows.

I think the wheelset, tire pressure and saddle firmness may have contributed to my "harsh" assessment. Before I purchase this bike or any, I will take my Bontrager Race XXX lites to the LBS and have him put them on the bike and my saddle. I suspect that will soften up the ride a little. However, i will lose some responsiveness.

When out of the saddle climbing, I thought i died and went to heaven. It was a total rush
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Old 01-16-08, 09:46 PM   #22
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I wonder what the comparisons would be to the new Madons. How come a 58c frame size, given as much rise, just the extra frame weight of a 59 or 60?
I really like the new Madones. I plan to take one out as well. Having said that and absolutely nothing against Trek, I own one and love it, I wanted something different.
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Old 01-17-08, 05:40 AM   #23
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Nice report. It seems that I see more and more of these ridden by pros. Where you live, I guess the hill climbing trumps the comfort of the Madone? I wonder what different wheels would do for the comfort and if that would have a negative impact on climbing.
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Old 01-17-08, 06:19 AM   #24
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I'm fascinated Hermes. Any guess as to the weight difference on the Mavic wheels versus your XXX's? And even with the sloping top tube the bike still felt very stable on fast descents as best you could tell? I didn't realize your existing bike was as heavy as it was (not that is heavy). Isn't it a blast when you can really feel the difference in weight when standing or accelerating? The bike just seems to lurch forward when you mash the pedals. When you drop 2-3 more pounds you'll be a real terror on hills and accelerating.

I'd also find that Campy would be an adjustment but I do really like the cleaner look I see on some of my buddies bikes.

Our measurements are very close to the same-our weights are the same (at least when I've ridden more), I might be an inch taller but our arm lengths are the same. It looks like my legs are 2+ inches longer though-probably why I can get away with riding a range of 58-62 frames (using Trek frames). I also like not having quite as much drop in the bar heights and for that reason a 58 would be on my bottom end of frame sizes and a 60 is probably ideal.

I will be very interested in your thoughts around the new Madone. I'm just a few more years away from getting out from under the 3 college tuitions and finding a used model in a year or so might be something for me to keep an eye on.

Like you, I really enjoy shopping around and investigating the various options.
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Old 01-17-08, 06:22 AM   #25
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Good report, the nice thing is that once you move into this class of bikes you really can't make a bad decision. All of the little nuances are icing on the cake. Light and stiff make the bike sooo responsive, I found when I got my Scott it took awhile to get use to it. While I would not say it is twitchy I would say it does not take a whole lot of input to get a response. How was the R3 in that regard? It would really look nice with a set of 404s.
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