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  1. #1
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    Cervelo R3... good deal or get something more relaxed?

    I have an opportunity to purchase a new Cervelo R3 (Dura-Ace) for almost the same price as the Cervelo RS (Ultegra). Does anyone have any experience with the two frames (R3 vs RS) considering my age of 58?

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    It all depends and your position on the bike. The RS has a longer head tube than the R3, so if you prefer having the bars tops close to height of the saddle you want a RS. I'm mid 50s, and need the bars much lower than the saddle, so a R3 would be better for me. It is all about you and your position on the bike, not about your age.

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Cervelo is one of the bikes that just the name has me thinking about N+1. I have never ridden one so I think the first thing to do is to test ride.

    And like merlin- I ride race geometry bikes so can put up with my head between my knees while riding but riser stems work wonder in changing ride position on bikes. And a change of wheels can work wonders on the comfort stakes if the ride is too harsh. And I am 62 and only changed to road bikes 3 years ago.
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    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    I'm 55...have ridden both..and absolutely loved the R3...much more than the RS. I think much of it depends on your own physical condition and the kind of riding you do. The R3 I rode was dura ace equipped and the RS was ultegra. More than the components I noticed the way more upright feeling of the taller head tube on the RS.

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    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I haven't ridden the RS, so in fact I don't have anything meaningful to contribute to help you decide.

    But I just had to mention that I'm loving my new R3SL I've done three century rides on it so far, including one with 10,000 ft of climbing. I love how it just eats up the rough pavement.

    I do have it set up moderately aggressively though. I can still get down into the drops for long periods of time, so the RS wouldn't have been necessary for me (yet.)

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    I think if you have to put a lot of spacers and a riser stem on a R3 then that bike is not for you. The reason is the frame is not designed for that position. Moving to a more upright position puts more weight on the rear wheel and will lighten the front end. The RS compensates by adding length to the chainstay and HT. The HT on the RS isn't really that tall. In a size 58, the RS has a 200mm HT and a Specialized Tarmac has a 205mm HT. By comparison, the R3 is 180mm, more like the team version of the Tarmac which is 175. So it is not that the RS HT is so long, it is the R3 HT that is short.

    The R3 is a great bike if you can fit the geometry and can handle the aggressive position. If you can't handle 8cm of drop from the saddle to bars then you probably should look for a bike with a taller HT. YMMV.

  7. #7
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I might be mistaken but I thought I read recently where the R3 was known for its stiffness versus comfort-I might be wrong but probably worth a test ride to confirm.

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Maybe your decision is really price. I would go for the R3. Spacers would mimmick the RS.

    Yes, I have the RS 2008 and have over 5,000 miles on it. Yes, I tried the R3 earlier this year when Cervelo had that promotion that allowed anyone to try out the R3 for two days, take home kind of thing. I was curious as to how much difference there really was, in my "real world" and not a pro rider's.

    At home, I measured the head tube length but my way, from the bottom of the head tube to the top of the stem. The R3 came with spacers all set up and my RS had 1 spacer. Both ended up to be almost the same length. In my garage I hang my RS up on these two L shaped hangers I got from Home Depot. They're screwed on to the studs. My RS frame fits with some give. I tried the R3 and the fit is really tight. To me that means the same frame size 51 for both translates to a difference. I account for that in the way the longer chain stay works. In my own words, it means the R3 is a tad bit smaller. This accounts for why the R3 seems more responsive. I think Carlos Sastre continues to prefer the R3SL, being about 100 grams difference than the R3.

    Two days and only two rides of about 30 miles each. That's all the time I had. The R3 being "smaller" I noticed its quicker off the start and quicker off the climb. But during the climb of about a mile, I don't think it makes a big difference. I think climbing is all about you. But if you the type that can climb and then on a switchback get off the saddle and start to downshift and accelerate, then the R3 makes a difference. Riders like Alberto Contador would benefit, but not me.

    On the descent, I couldn't tell much difference. Both have that nice seat stay that keeps things less "jarring".

    I know you're not asking about any other Cervelo bike, but I also had a chance to ride the S3 2009 for almost a week straight. Same size 51 cm but with a nicer build with Zipp 404 tubulars. Now, that's an altogether different bike that the RS and R3. To me the climbing on the S3 is just as good as the R3 or RS, if not better. On the S3, I was able to descend at around 50 mph and it felt really good, really stable. Same kind of seat stay design. Stiffness? Hey I only weigh less than 140 so how much can I really torque the frame with my skinny legs?
    Last edited by Garfield Cat; 09-06-09 at 10:45 AM.

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    Garfield Cat - you mention a 51cm frame. If you don't mind me asking your height(?) I am 5'-7" (30' inseam) and am unsure between a 51cm and a 54cm frame(?). Thanks.

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Same, height 5'-7", inseam 30", weight less than 140. My fitter says I have long arms. Crank length 170".

    I was fitted three times: once with my own pro fitter (not associated with any bike shop), again by a bike shop to fit me on the R3, again in Spain by a mechanic for the S3. The 51 cm fits me fine.

    By the way, I also have a Cervelo Prodigy and that was a 54 which didn't fit me as well. But I still like it.

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    Thanks... Cervelo's stand over height is measured directly over the BB (not really where you'd 'stand over'). Measured vertically 12" from the center of the seat post I am a 51cm and not a 54cm (damn, there is a 54cm on sale for $3,750 fitted with DA, Easton Circuit wheels and an Easton EC-90 SL fork)... there will be more sales.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsnevertoolate View Post
    Garfield Cat - you mention a 51cm frame. If you don't mind me asking your height(?) I am 5'-7" (30' inseam) and am unsure between a 51cm and a 54cm frame(?). Thanks.
    5'6" short with 30" inseam and I ride a 51cm with a 535mm top tube. That is on Boreas but I also ride an "S" and an "M" in giants with their compact frames. The "S" has a 535mm top tube and the "M" is a 566mm top tube. Standover height is one of the things allied to Frame size- but that is not the way to get fitted to a bike. Top Tube length is a better measurement for fit. Saddle and bar height can be altered- Top tube length cannot----Except by stem length.

    Quote Originally Posted by itsnevertoolate View Post
    Thanks... Cervelo's stand over height is measured directly over the BB (not really where you'd 'stand over'). Measured vertically 12" from the center of the seat post I am a 51cm and not a 54cm (damn, there is a 54cm on sale for $3,750 fitted with DA, Easton Circuit wheels and an Easton EC-90 SL fork)... there will be more sales.
    Test the 54- it may be a better fit if you have a long torso and arms.

    The R3 in 51 has a top tube length of 530. The 54 has a TT length of 545. Not much difference and less than the "M" that I ride sometimes. Scroll down on the link to get the frame Geometry

    https://www.sigmasport.co.uk/app/sec...0&BID=3&View=N
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I own an R3 and a P2C and I like them. When I bought mine, I was custom fitted by the LBS and looked a different bikes and test rode several. I decided on the R3. We took the Cervelo R3 as shipped by Cervelo and stripped the components and wheels. I put a partial D/A gruppo which included Brifters, brake caliper, front and rear der and chain. I put on an IRD carbon crank, carbon bars and a carbon stem. I had my own wheels and cassette. The frame is ~$3000 plus other components and wheels.

    Cervelo equips their R3 with some D/A equipment but you should check if it is all D/A. For example, it may have Cervelo brake calipers, a 105 cassette and chain and a different crank. Typically, the wheels are entry level. The Eastons are okay but heavy and worth a couple of hundred dollar credit if you upgrade.

    Most of the Cervelos that sell from the LBS I use go from $5000 on up depending on the wheel selection and gruppo.

    When I bought my Cervelo road and TT bikes, I wanted a bike that was tuned to ME. At that price point, it is all about me not the deal, the bike or the bike shop. $3700 is a great deal if it is all about YOU and what you want and need.

    I cannot speak to the question of seat to bar drop. When I was fitted at the bike shop, my flexibility and goals were taken into account. It has nothing to do with age. You need to figure that out. Good luck.
    Last edited by Hermes; 09-09-09 at 03:02 PM.

  14. #14
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    Thanks to all... your input and suggestions are appreciated.

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    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Don't know how I missed this thread earlier, but I did.

    I have a 51 cm R3. Per my Retul fit in May, I am (still) 5' 7" with a 31.25" inseam. My seat height from the BB center to the top of the saddle is 71.5 cm (using 170 mm cranks). I have been racing almost continuously since 1974. I mention all of this so that you understand some of my perspective.

    I like my R3. I don't love it. The basic geometry fits me very well but the short front-center dimension of the frame makes the handling less than stellar (though it is still better than average). Basically, the bike turns into a corner like most race bikes (pretty quickly) but at the limit the front wheel starts to lose traction before the rear wheel. Personally, I prefer the reverse -- having the rear tire start to lose traction before the front or, ideally, have both tires start to slide at the same time.

    Overall, my R3 provides a pretty comfortable ride for a race bike and without any really lightweight parts (2008 Record-10 group) the bike weighs 14.5 lbs. with older, "heavy" Look delta pedals.

    I have never ridden an RS but the chainstays are longer and the front-center is longer to go along with the taller head tube. I am guessing that if you don't race you will like the ride and handling characteristics of the RS better.

    My teammate, who is 69 years old, has a 51 cm RS and he likes it very much.

    Just as an added note, except for the RS all Cervélos have the same geometry. Obviously the tube shapes and stiffness characteristics vary and those characteristics can affect the handling of the bike. Also, the 54 cm frames and above have more "normal" front-center dimensions.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks.
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  16. #16
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    I had the RS for a year and replaced it with the S3. I'm 54 now, and used the RS in my first year of riding.

    The RS was a fantastic bike. As others have commented, which of the two is better for you depends on the kind of riding you do. If you do long rides, centuries and up and need a less aggressive position, then the RS is for you. Make no mistake though, the RS is FAST. It seems to me that the S3 is more stable than the RS up front though, the S3 is supposedly a mix of the S2 and R3. I have tried an R3 for a very short ride, and my choice is the S3.

    Let us know what you chose.
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  17. #17
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    Hi,

    Don't know how I missed this thread earlier, but I did.

    I have a 51 cm R3. Per my Retul fit in May, I am (still) 5' 7" with a 31.25" inseam. My seat height from the BB center to the top of the saddle is 71.5 cm (using 170 mm cranks). I have been racing almost continuously since 1974. I mention all of this so that you understand some of my perspective.

    I like my R3. I don't love it. The basic geometry fits me very well but the short front-center dimension of the frame makes the handling less than stellar (though it is still better than average). Basically, the bike turns into a corner like most race bikes (pretty quickly) but at the limit the front wheel starts to lose traction before the rear wheel. Personally, I prefer the reverse -- having the rear tire start to lose traction before the front or, ideally, have both tires start to slide at the same time.

    Overall, my R3 provides a pretty comfortable ride for a race bike and without any really lightweight parts (2008 Record-10 group) the bike weighs 14.5 lbs. with older, "heavy" Look delta pedals.

    I have never ridden an RS but the chainstays are longer and the front-center is longer to go along with the taller head tube. I am guessing that if you don't race you will like the ride and handling characteristics of the RS better.

    My teammate, who is 69 years old, has a 51 cm RS and he likes it very much.

    Just as an added note, except for the RS all Cervélos have the same geometry. Obviously the tube shapes and stiffness characteristics vary and those characteristics can affect the handling of the bike. Also, the 54 cm frames and above have more "normal" front-center dimensions.

    Hope this helps.
    Cleave, With respect to front wheels washing out versus rear, could it be your weight distribution on the bike? I am not being cute. From a pure physics view, the frictional force is directly proportional to weight. I could see a longer stem shifting weight to the front wheel. On my wife's Orbea Orca 48, we used a very short stem due to her longer legs and shorter torso. I suspect her weight distribution favors the rear wheel. BTW, I have not had either tire skid but that is probably because I have not cornered fast enough.

  18. #18
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Cleave, With respect to front wheels washing out versus rear, could it be your weight distribution on the bike? I am not being cute. From a pure physics view, the frictional force is directly proportional to weight. I could see a longer stem shifting weight to the front wheel. On my wife's Orbea Orca 48, we used a very short stem due to her longer legs and shorter torso. I suspect her weight distribution favors the rear wheel. BTW, I have not had either tire skid but that is probably because I have not cornered fast enough.
    Hi,

    I am thinking the same thing as you but with slightly different views on the physics. I haven't tried balancing myself on a pair of bathroom scales (though it would be a fun experiment), but I think I actually have more weight on the front wheel than the rear wheel.

    As I noted, the bike has a short front-center dimension and I have a 130 mm stem on the bike. I think I might have too much weight on the front wheel causing the front tire to "give up" before the rear. I have TUFO tires on my race wheels and I wasn't overly impressed with them when I was using the wheels on my Serotta last season. So part of the problem may also be the tires.

    I'm thinking Serotta's geometry and handling are just so good that the tires weren't a significant limiting factor on that bike. On the Cervélo they seem to exacerbate the bike's relatively minor shortcomings.

    Dropping the tire pressure for criteriums from 140 psi to 130 psi has definitely helped too.
    Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    ...With respect to front wheels washing out versus rear, could it be your weight distribution on the bike?...
    I would take this as prima facie evidence that a high-performance, bargain bike that doesn't fit is no bargain at all.

  20. #20
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    Hi,

    I am thinking the same thing as you but with slightly different views on the physics. I haven't tried balancing myself on a pair of bathroom scales (though it would be a fun experiment), but I think I actually have more weight on the front wheel than the rear wheel.

    As I noted, the bike has a short front-center dimension and I have a 130 mm stem on the bike. I think I might have too much weight on the front wheel causing the front tire to "give up" before the rear.
    I have TUFO tires on my race wheels and I wasn't overly impressed with them when I was using the wheels on my Serotta last season. So part of the problem may also be the tires.

    I'm thinking Serotta's geometry and handling are just so good that the tires weren't a significant limiting factor on that bike. On the Cervélo they seem to exacerbate the bike's relatively minor shortcomings.

    Dropping the tire pressure for criteriums from 140 psi to 130 psi has definitely helped too.
    IMHO, Tufos are the equivalent of riding on a garden hose. And I am not alone. My friends at my club as well as Kenny Williams agree. Williams came up with the garden hose analogy. I do not know if you have seen the rolling resistance test performed on a trainer with an SRM power meter to compare tire rolling resistance. Tufos are about the worst by a compelling margin. If you pump them up to 320 psig, they improve but the grip and certainly the ride are dubious. At pressure below 160 psig, I suspect the rolling resistance is terrible.

    I have a set on the first set of TT race wheels. I have given the LBS grief every time I remember to do it for selling me those. They are coming off for next season and I have a set of Vittorias to replace them.

    I will be happy to send you the rolling resistance study and tell you what I really think of Tufos via email.

    To be a little balanced, Tufos may be a good solution for touristas who want to ride tubies for general biking / training. You tape on the garden hose using Tufo tape and put Tufo slime in the tire. If you hit a piece of glass or a thorn, then the slime works really well to seal the puncture. You carry a spare Tufo and some tape and if the tire flats, it is pretty easy to tape another one on.
    Last edited by Hermes; 09-11-09 at 11:27 AM.

  21. #21
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
    I would take this as prima facie evidence that a high-performance, bargain bike that doesn't fit is no bargain at all.
    Actually, the bike fits well in term of the contacts points relative to the BB. You have to remember that I only have issues with the bike's handling at the limit and for some, starting to lose the front end before the rear is preferable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    IMHO, Tufos are the equivalent of riding on a garden hose. And I am not alone. My friends at my club as well as Kenny Williams agree. Williams came up with the garden hose analogy. I do not know if you have seen the rolling resistance test performed on a trainer with an SRM power meter to compare tire rolling resistance. Tufos are about the worst by a compelling margin. If you pump them up to 320 psig, they improve but the grip and certainly the ride are dubious. At pressure below 160 psig, I suspect the rolling resistance is terrible.

    I have a set on the first set of TT race wheels. I have given the LBS grief every time I remember to do it for selling me those. They are coming off for next season and I have a set of Vittorias to replace them.

    I will be happy to send you the rolling resistance study and tell you what I really think of Tufos via email.

    To be a little balanced, Tufos may be a good solution for touristas who want to ride tubies for general biking / training. You tape on the garden hose using Tufo tape and put Tufo slime in the tire. If you hit a piece of glass or a thorn, then the slime works really well to seal the puncture. You carry a spare Tufo and some tape and if the tire flats, it is pretty easy to tape another one on.
    Well, I have to say that my LBS recommended these too. To be fair though, the owner said that he had heard that they were good and that he was going to try some himself. I ended up trying them before him and yes, I am not crazy about them.

    I'd be interested in the rolling resistance study to see how other tires fared. I won't be buying another set of Tufos though.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    Actually, the bike fits well in term of the contacts points relative to the BB. You have to remember that I only have issues with the bike's handling at the limit and for some, starting to lose the front end before the rear is preferable.



    Well, I have to say that my LBS recommended these too. To be fair though, the owner said that he had heard that they were good and that he was going to try some himself. I ended up trying them before him and yes, I am not crazy about them.

    I'd be interested in the rolling resistance study to see how other tires fared. I won't be buying another set of Tufos though.
    Study sent via email.

  23. #23
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Have to admit that my absolutely marvellous LBS tried very hard to sell me some Tufos once. I looked at them- didn't like the idea and didn't like the feel of the tyre either. I asked on this Forum as to whether I was making a mistake and the concensus was that I did right by not getting them.

    I finished up getting Michelin PR2's and now have them on 3 bikes. Can't see the reason to change off them but often wonder if the PR3's are any better. Might try them once I wear the 2's out but it looks like being a long time before that happens.

    So back to the OP

    Have you tried the R3 yet?
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Have to admit that my absolutely marvellous LBS tried very hard to sell me some Tufos once. I looked at them- didn't like the idea and didn't like the feel of the tyre either. I asked on this Forum as to whether I was making a mistake and the concensus was that I did right by not getting them.

    I finished up getting Michelin PR2's and now have them on 3 bikes. Can't see the reason to change off them but often wonder if the PR3's are any better. Might try them once I wear the 2's out but it looks like being a long time before that happens.

    So back to the OP

    Have you tried the R3 yet?
    Were the Tufos tubular? I doubt it. You missed the point. Mine were for a set of racing tubular wheels - a disc and trispoke and they should have been glued and not taped. Go eat some pie.

    OP...sorry for the digression.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    Actually, the bike fits well in term of the contacts points relative to the BB. You have to remember that I only have issues with the bike's handling at the limit and for some, starting to lose the front end before the rear is preferable...
    Yes. I re-read my post and it really implies something I didn't intend. Trying again (to dig foot out of mouth) I meant to say that to buy a bike in haste, distracted by a bargain price for instance, can result in one neglecting other important properties like ride, handling and appropriateness to the intended use.

    It is also my experience that, once the front wheel starts to slide and the rear doesn't, you are going down so I am surprised that anyone would intentionally want this handling in a bike.

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