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.
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