Did you ever play that game where you take your favorite features from a few bikes and wonder what happens when you put them together? Maybe take the frame from the P3X with its multitude of storage options and UCI ignoring concepts. Then add on the monotube riser system complete with folding base bar to make traveling easier from the P5X. What would you get? Well Cervelo decided to play that game and the answer is the brand new PX. A best of both worlds bike meant to have the speed of the P3X and the travelability of the P5X.
The Cervelo PX
So being that the PX is a combination of both the P3X and P5X let’s start with what defines the P3X (we are going to borrow a bit from our P3X review).
The P3X frame is Cervélo’s tri specific frame. Those looking for UCI mandated boxes and angles will be left wanting. And Cervélo recognizes that us triathletes are a unique breed – our bikes are not only our transportation but our rolling buffets and our own support vehicles as well. And the P3X encompasses all of that – aero optimized room for all the stuff we need. Simply put the P3X is everything that Cervélo learned from the P5X along with the knowledge gained in the sport over the past two years from their amateur and pro athletes alike. All that was mixed together and then iterated on again and again.
There were four major lessons that Cervélo took from the P5X:
- It was heavy (that’s a pretty easy one) – The next generation had to be lighter.
- Triathlete storage needs had changed the past few years – For instance we triathletes have for the most part made the jump from tubular to tubed (and now even tubeless) tires.
- Carbon fiber manufacturing – Since the launch of the P5X, Cervélo’s parent company had invested in overseas facilities that had state of the art manufacturing processes but still could protect their intellectual property.
- Aspirational – The P5X was the first of it’s kind and this was reflected in the initial cost. The next generation had to be more reachable (ie cheaper).
With the challenges laid out – the P3X could come now be crafted. And that started at the production line. While many may not realize it, the ability to own the construction of your bikes is a huge difference maker in the cycling world. Getting carbon right is tricky. Getting it to do exactly what you want is trickier still. On modern bikes a quarter of an inch here or there is the difference between a heavy and noodly frame, and a light and stiff one. With a new factory that had the latest in carbon fiber construction methods (and the ability to ensure that any Cervélo crafted concepts would stay Cervélo concepts), the engineers could make the carbon dance the way they wanted.
Like the new P5, the P3X features standard flat mount disc brakes front and back. And like on the P5 we were a bit surprised to see that Cervélo had not added any fairings around the brakes or calipers (something we have seen other companies starting to integrate into their bikes). The answer came down to cooling and the current state of road disc brakes – simply stated Cervélo does not believe fairing the brakes would benefit the bike enough versus the concerns of the brakes overheating. The P3X supports both RAT and threaded thru axles. An aero thru axle is also provided.
The P3X has 36mm of tire clearance (up from 33mm on the P5X). In practice this means the P3X can handle up to a 28mm tire with a required 4mm of clearance on either side of it. For comparison the Cervélo R and S has 37.8mm of clearance.
Being this is a tri bike storage options are a must. The biggest visual difference between the P5X and P3X is the new Stealthbox 300 located just forward of the bottom bracket. On the P5X this was a large cavity (the original Stealthbox) in the bike itself for your flat needs (specifically one capable of holding a tubular tire which was no longer required). This cavity had an impact on the total weight and stiffness of the bike. On the P3X Cervélo has instead shrunk the carbon footprint and added a removable flat kit storage box.
As you can see its actually two pieces – the part that connects to the underside of the frame and the box itself. From our test ride and playing with it, it feels extremely well connected to the bike and not liable to fall off. We were super impressed how the opening to the storage is actually located on the underside of the box itself so there is no chance your gear is going to slip out.
Above the bottom bracket is the same storage box (Speedcase) as found on the P5X. This allows you to house both extra tools, a second flat kit, and emergency nutrition. You also get a pair of bottle bosses to mount an extra cage.
On the top tube is Cervélo’s new SmartPak 600 bento box. The SmartPak mimics the shape of the stem to give a clean aero shape. On our test ride it was able to comfortably hold 3 gels and 3 blocks (we were worried about being left for days in the desert!)
At the back is the same seatpost as the new P5 which features a single rear bottle mount interface. In talking with Graham as to why they only included a single bottle interface versus a dual cage setup. They shared that aero testing showed the single bottle was a far superior aero setup. When designing the interface Cervélo crafted hollowed out alloy parts to eke out a few grams of weight savings.
Like the P5X, the P3X is designed to accommodate 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. The thinking is that grabbing and going from aid stations is the best way to go and this requires the ability to support round bottles.
The P3X features a brand-new cockpit built atop the now common (at least for Cervélo) mono riser stem featured on both the new P5 and P5X. You have four options for tilting the cockpit – 0˚, 5˚, 10˚, and 15˚. The new cockpit utilizes just 7 parts as compared to the P5X which has 14 – the result is much easier to adjust and lighter weight.
For your upfront hydration needs is a removable bottle bridge. When combined with the standard P3X cockpit you can mount the front hydration system of your choosing. The pads themselves are the same as on the new P5 and have just enough lateral support to keep you stable while not being overbearing. Graham Shrive, Director of Engineering for Cervélo tells us the actual pad material is derived from the same material mouse pads are made with – the benefit is a strong cushioning feeling that in our small amount of time with the bike did not seem to wear at all.
The cockpit utilizes standard 22.2 mm extensions – the ones that ship with the P3X are both designed and built by Cervélo (not outsourced). The basebar features the same ergonomic molded grips as found on the new P5. (No more taping and retaping.) The grips can be flipped and cut back (20mm) with the basebar to provide for shorter reach options.
The basebar itself (with the removal of 4 bolts) can be folded down for easy travel. This is a huge plus as you can easily pack\unpack the bike. Cervelo partnered with BIKND to engineer a P5X specific bike traveling case to make travelling with the P5X safe and stress-free as possible. (Which also works with the PX. We are told there will be a rebranded PX bag but no details or images on that yet).
Aerodynamically Cervelo tells us that the data suggests the PX is slightly faster than the P3X – about 9g or so (and about 8g slower than the P5X). They actually calculated this based on the observed data in the P3X and P5X tests and not in actual testing.
The PX represents the top of the Cervelo tri pyramid and as a result get a top of the line builds. There is both a SRAM AXS option and a Dura Ace Di2.
There is also a frameset option.
While we aren’t a big fan of the naming convention P3X\PX (more on that covered here), we do like the best of both worlds approach that Cervelo took with this bike. Traveling is a pain – and there is some logic in the idea that those that are willing to spend the most on their bikes are also looking to travel further with them. Creating an upper bound with a top tier groupset also makes a whole bunch of sense to us. Now the real question is how does it all work together. And this is why a PX with Dura Ace is stationed at AeroGeeks HQ. We havent gotten much ride time yet but over the coming weeks we will. Stay tuned to AeroGeeks.com for our ride impressions as well as the latest from 70.3 worlds and Kona!