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2012 Cervelo P5 First Look Review
article by Nick Salazar
images by Cervelo
Jan 17, 2012  hits 83,200

The other big new feature is the Magura hydraulic brakes, which hide from the wind whether on the integrated fork or the UCI version.

If I'm going to say an aerobar is a bike's soul, then its front brake has got to be its brains. Or its IQ. Basically, a clean front brake design takes a lot of smarts to create, and only a few have really cleaned up that area. The P5 has a brand new front brake made by Magura, called the RT8 TT. And boy, is it brainy.

The Magura RT8 TT is a hydraulic brake, meaning it requires a special type of brake lever, housing, and fluid to work. All of these are included with the P5. In the triathlon version of the P5, it gets hidden behind a fairing setup to make it look incredibly clean - basically just like a Speed Concept. On the UCI-legal version of the P5, you get the same brake. The only difference is that it's exposed, to be seen by everyone except the wind. It has a tiny frontal profile, and basically hides in the frontal profile of the bike.

So why go to hydraulic? Cervelo has chosen it because of its superior strength versus cabled brakes. They caught some flack for the original version of the P4 brake, which was maligned for being very weak. So they're silencing all the doubters by packing some extra power there. But to do so, they have to rely on special brake levers - you can't use the outboard shifters in the Di2 TT system.

Of course, I'm a little bit biased. Magura's RT8 TT brakes are somewhat of a competitor to my Omega brakes, so I'm prone to hone in on their disadvantages. But there's definitely nothing wrong with what Cervelo is doing here, and actually, I think the result is beautiful. The front brake is completely hidden, covered by a three-piece fairing: one piece attaches to the stem, and the other two pieces attach to the two arms of the brake. If I'm going to find a complaint about the aesthetics, it's because the three-piece fairing isn't as tightly-knit as that of the Speed Concept. There's a visible gap between the top piece and the bottom two pieces, and it definitely disrupts the looks, even if not the aerodynamics.

Finally, you can remove the hydraulic brake entirely and just run a tried-and-true cabled brake, if that's your preference. All versions of the P5 use standard brake bosses, whether you use the triathlon-only or UCI-legal fork. Personally, I think the TriRig Omega will look absolutely gorgeous on the UCI version of this wicked machine.

That's right, do a double take: the P5's front brake is completely SEPARATE from the fork! That means that even the triathlon-specific brake is completely removable, just like a standard brake, and will break down quite easily for travel, or for service.

It's a master stroke. The fully-hidden, integrated brake that isn't integrated. Beauty with grace.

With the standout features of this machine out of the way, let's take a look at the rest.


Tags » cervelo,  frames,  p5bike
  • This is the Cervelo P5 in its triathlon form - believe it or not, the only UCI-illegal component here is the fork.
  • As integrated as it looks, the Cervelo P5 is surprisingly easy to wrench.
  • From tip to tail, Cervelo has created a stunning machine. Here you can see a couple of the truncated airfoils just below the seat clamp, and at the bottle bosses on the down tube.
  • Pictured here is the tri fork, hiding the Magura hydraulic brake.  The same brake can be ridden on a standard fork as well.
  • The new Aduro aerobar is a highlight of the P5. It integrates seamlessly with the bike, and has excellent adjustment options.  It will accept standard extensions from most any brand.
  • The v-shaped aerobar risers are gorgeous, and make the bar look like a one-piece solution no matter what stack you choose.
  • Multiple v-shaped risers allow you to hit your stack number and still have a bike that looks custom-built just for you.
  • This tall riser represents a very elegant way for high-stack riders to hit their position.
  • A couple spots on this machine feature truncated kammtail profiles, such as the back of the seat tube, and the downtube at the water bottle bosses.
  • The hydraulic rear brake is also faired, and this shot also shows the bottom bracket cable guide that assists in bike building.
  • The High-V pad risers allow you to gain additional stack while keeping the bike super aero.  Cervelo says that the Low and High-V positions actually have the exactly same amount of aero drag.
  • This is the subtle difference between the Low and X-Low aerobar positions. The X-Lo slings the extenions under the bar, mounting the cups right on top for an extra 20mm of lower stack.

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