Kona 2016 – Cervélo P5X – First Look

It’s time to take a break from our Interbike coverage and make a foray to the Hawaiian Islands – yes that’s right, its Kona time. And to launch our new gear at Kona coverage we have a bike that has been long rumored, even briefly (though cryptically) announced – the Cervélo P5X. A bike designed from the ground up to get triathletes from T1 to T2 as fast as humanly possible.


The Cervélo P5X

So let’s start with the name. Why the P5X and not the P6. Cervélo uses 3 levels of bikes and each and every series they do includes a 2, 3, and 5 for good, better and best. Whereas the P5 was designed for both time trials and Tri, the P5X was designed without any limitations or restrictions from UCI to specifically address the needs of all triathletes. It isn’t meant to replace the P5. This is a new platform of triathlon-specific bikes that still falls under the P-series category at the highest level, (hence the 5) and the added “X” is a call for its specificity.


Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about what exactly the P5X is meant to be – the most configurable, adaptable, and adjustable bike that Cervélo could develop. “With the P5X, we’ve developed multiple micro and macro adjustment possibilities and an entire range of easy to access storage products. Whether training or racing, everything that is needed has been considered and can now be securely stowed in the P5X’s exclusive Smartpak, Speedcase and Stealthbox components,” says David Killing, Senior Designer.


Capable of storing up to 3 water bottles, all the nutrition needed for an Ironman, flat kit, cold weather gear and just about anything else you can think of, the P5X can carry everything you really need with no drag penalty.


In addition to this, the adjustability allows every athlete’s morphology to find their fit with quick and simple adjustments, featuring a wide front end fit range through a unique 112mm sliding stack adjustment with 91mm reach adjustment, a flip-able base bar and 0 to 12-degree tilt adjustment.


Cervélo partnered with Hed Cycling Products and ENVE Com-posites — to design and manufacture the P5X. Cervélo’s partnership with Hed enhanced what Cervélo could do with their carbon manufacturing, and their collaboration with ENVE tackled the design of the bike with ease of assembly and deconstruction in mind. Together they created a fork/handlebar system that fulfilled the requirements of today’s triathletes through a split aerobar folding into a holster, offering ease and safety in packaging and shipping. They then partnered with BIKND to engineer a P5X specific bike traveling case to make travelling with the P5X safe and stress-free as possible.


Cervélo spent 180 hours in the wind tunnel combined with extensive CFD analysis on the development of the P5X along with countless hours in real life conditions. The result is a bike that bests the already very fast P5 in almost all angles of yaw (at least the ones we care about). Cervélo tells us on average the P5X is 30 gr faster than the P5 from +15 to -15 yaw angles in a full Ironman set up. They also observed that the P5X can be up to 90gr faster at 0 yaw.


The P5X also features a disk brake with flat mount, for more safety and improved stiffness making it precise and responsive. Braking is provided by TRP-25 Centerlock 2-Piece 160mm rotors. The rear dropout is a vertical dropout for faster and easier tire removal.



Cervélo designed the P5X with 3 ‘modular’ easy-to-access storage systems. The top tube Smartpac features a removable floor allowing extra in-frame access to carry all the nutrition you need and/or a little extra, such as a phone or keys.


An in-frame Stealthbox and a down tube Speedcase allow for stress-free packing of tools, emergency rations, weather gear, back-up fuel and even a tubular tire.


The P5X also holds 2-3 regular round bottles placed in the most aerodynamic position regardless of your choice. Bottle mounts are located behind the seatpost, on top of the Speedcase, and between the arms.


Cervélo tells us that the end result is that you can carry the entire list below and still have room for more.

  • 1 Bar
  • 2 packs of chews
  • 8 Gels
  • 6 salt tablets
  • 3 25oz water bottles
  • 2 tire levers
  • 2 Co2
  • 1 Co2 head
  • 1 multi tool
  • 2 tubes
  • Weather gear (light vest, arm and leg warmer)
  • Phone
  • Key

The storage boxes are removable and washable. Cervélo tells us the boxes have no impact on aerodynamics and you can remove or install at your discretion and need. Oh and as to why the StealthBox is located on the drive side – when you lay your bike down you lay it on the non-drive side, hence the need to access it on the drive side.


The stem cover itself hides the electronic junction box for for no-tool required access for adjustment and charging.


The P5X will be available in 4 builds – S, M, L, and XL. On all builds Cervélo has strived to have a low overall standover height. Full geometry is below:


As we mentioned at the top the P5X features a wide front end fit range through a unique 112mm sliding stack adjustment with 91mm reach adjustment, a flip-able base bar and 0 to 12-degree tilt adjustment. One 4mm Allen wrench can be used to adjust both stack and reach.


The stack adjustment and seatpost both feature integrated height markings to make building after travel easier. The seatpost itself utilizes a single bolt for adjustment. The saddle clamp allows fore-aft adjustments from 74deg to 81deg effective seat angle.



The P5X features SRAM RED eTap system, including SRAM crank, and ENVE 7.8 wheels and is available from 4th October 2016 at 80 select Cervélo retailers around the world, including 35 North American shops priced at $15,000 USD.


The second build will showcase an Ultegra Di2 groupset, a Rotor crank and Hed 6.9 wheels. Available from 1st December, it is priced at $11,000 USD.


The aforementioned fully customized Cervélo travel case, co-developed with Biknd to make travelling with the P5X safe and stress-free, comes as an option for purchase at a cost of $849.

Our Thoughts

While the look may be divisive – even at AG HQ some editors love the look while others are not quite fans. We have to love all the thought that went into this bike. Starting with the ease of travel – going so far as to create a holster for the removable basebar and a bike specific travel case. Adding to that multiple storage options for anything you could need under the sun (which is quite bright over the lava fields of Kona). And then making it fast – specifically faster than the P5. Yeah we really want to spend some quality time with it.


But we do have to mention our big concern when it comes to the P5X – the price. When $11,000 is what gets you in the door we have to cringe a bit. While we can see all the work and thought that has gone into this bike – it doesn’t change the fact that it is A LOT of money. This isn’t the bike we expect to see at our local transition just yet. But what we do think is that this bike’s technology and ideas will trickle down very quickly to Cervélo and other manufacturers lines and we will see those bikes at the local coffee shop in just a few years’ time.


And if you are looking for ride impressions – unfortunately, while Cervélo invited us last week to Kona to spend a week not only with the bike – but riding it on the very conditions athletes will be facing this Saturday, we had to decline (the littlest AeroGeek wanted to see his parents after their time at Interbike and we also just had an AeroGeeks wedding and honeymoon to get over). So that means for now we are limited to pictures and words. But the good news is that we have no doubt Cervélo will be getting us a bike to spend some real time with in short order. So stay tuned for the latest on the P5X and some other great new tech from Kona and check back after Kona for our full review of the P5X.

7 responses to “Kona 2016 – Cervélo P5X – First Look

  1. Looks sweet, not particularly a fan of beam bikes, but this one does have a certain appeal . Looks like Cervelo and its partners did I a nice job with the accessories and making it portable, although not sure if putting big logos on the bike box like Cervelo p5x is the best idea, from a security perspective.

    But I agree it’s way , way overpriced by a factor of 2x compared to other high end tri bikes, I’m sure we’ll see the price reduced but getting a few extra watts of performance over a p5 will be hard to justify the cost.

    Well with this bike and DB Andean it’s nice to see a bit of a revolution in the tri bike scene.

  2. I initially didn’t like the aesthetics of the bike, but admit in the last 24 hours they have grown on me to the extent I think it’s a rather good looking rig. Though I think it looks better with the disc in the rear, as it hides the rear disc break and I notice all the press photos for the bike don’t show that side or break in detail, possibly because it is the least flattering angle.

    You are right about the most obvious flaw in the bike being the cost, but I think a further issue is the fact that the bike is a closed system, including wheel sets to a degree, which means you are now locked (Apple-like) into a system that doesn’t interface well with anything else. Of particular concern is the wheel situation, disc aero wheels are hardly de rigeur amongst pro pelotons let alone local races and hence having to purchase a specific wheel set for your tri bike that won’t interface with most other bike one owns is a bit of a problem.

    Many buyers would have a number of sets of wheels that they love and trust and they are invariably now not compatible with the newest hyper bike on the market. To me that would give you pause to consider buying it even if the money wasn’t an uber concern. Factor in a new disc wheel up back to complete your rig, training wheels perhaps, and you are now looking closer to US$20,000. Oh and another US$1000 for the travel case and the cost keep sky rocketing. The fact that they have gone with a disc wheel bike, hence limiting greatly wheel choices and compatibility, and the cost mean that the bike is not just expensive, but prohibitively so.

    Consider that the $US15,000 price tag in the US will equate to around AUD$21,000 before you consider import duties and you won’t see too many in the asia pacific region.

    I guess the other issue is what do you get for your money? 30 grams of drag better than a P5. That equates to about 3-4 watts and about 1-2 minutes over an ironman course! That is a lot of money to spend for 2 minutes of advantage. As a cost / watt prospect it is not very appetising!

    If brands want to produce a bike that is actually revolutionary, make a bike that gets you super bike performance at a low cost. Aim for P5 performance at P2 cost, rather than trying to out do one another in an aero arms race of increasingly diminishing returns (ie 30 grams). That would truly be a revolutionary bike that would achieve a far greater market uptake then I imagine this bike will.

    Still as a pure engineering project, well done Cervelo!

    • Gary, actually they could, by listing the MSRP ($11,000) on the outside of the box in big letters. Luckily most baggage handlers are probably clueless to the actual value of what’s inside.. but Cervelo would do well to be less transparent..

  3. Falco + Dimond + Andean = Cervelo P5X. I own the now limited edition Falco (because they folded, no pun intended) and I am keeping it especially if Cervelo is between $11K – $15K

  4. How can you post that aero data without talking about the test protocol which had 8 gels taped to the top tube of the p5 and a round bottle on the down tube. Absurd comparison if you ask me. If you set each bike up in it’s best configuration, sounds like the P5 is faster at 1/3 the price.

  5. I’ve actually already seen one at the LBS here. In person, it looks less intimidating and in-your-face than the pictures I’ve seen. Still, it’d be hard to ride one and get passed by other cyclists… 🙂

Leave a Reply