What you want is pure speed, and nothing less, you say? Take a serious look at the Cervelo S5 VWD, and you'll understand why it's the winningest aero frame on the pro tour circuit – including on some mountain courses.
Serious cyclists in search of the lightest machine they can find have no shortage of options, but the Cervelo S5 VWD frameset exists to fill a slightly different role in the life of a discerning rider. Yes, it's incredibly light, but its accolades pile on the side of outright speed, rather than being the lightest frame possible. What is low weight without performance, anyway?
Fans of the Cervelo brand – or just of fine bicycles in general – are aware of the brand's R5 CA model as the company's crown jewel, combining one of the most extensively engineered carbon lay-ups on the planet with the refinement that comes from being meticulously handmade in a dedicated facility in California (hence the name). The result is a superb all-around performer that's light, fast, and smooth – but, simply put, it's not as fast as the S5 VWD, and that's the whole point.
The "VWD" bit stands for "Vroomen White Design," an homage the company's founders, who put their name on all their bikes, but felt a desire to make a special distinction here compared to the regular S5. Why? Let's start with the lay-up. Like the R5 CA, the S5 VWD's is highly refined and unique to the model, compared to the standard model. However, because it's a dedicated race frame, and because race frames sometimes crash and break, they played the more practical card in bringing the S5 VWD to market, saving racers some money by manufacturing the frame in their wholly owned and operated Asian facility. The lay-up is extremely similar to the R5 CA in certain areas of the frame, however, save obviously for the S5's aerodynamic mold, compared to the R5's minimal-weight-design approach that eschews aerodynamic considerations.
Need more information that speaks to the S5 VWD's love of speed? How about internal cable routing? Compatibility with electronic and mechanical drivetrains, as well as mechanical or hydraulic brakes? Cervelo's proprietary and insanely stiff BBRight bottom bracket platform? Specially-shaped seatstay "shoulders" to shield the rear brake from wind? A specially-shaped downtube designed to direct wind around your water bottles? The S5 VWD boasts all this and more. But don't think it's a one-trick pony. The frame still boasts a balanced ride quality – not too harsh or too soft – and pleasantly neutral geometry to fit a wide variety of riders.
So, in summary, you get an R5 CA-like carbon lay-up, in the S5's blisteringly fast aerodynamic shape, at a weight lower than any other S5, and the pedigree of the most successful aero road bike frame in pro tour history. For those seeking pure speed, we think it's hard to argue against any of that.
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