Adventure seems to be measured by the amount of tire you can stuff in your frame and how many panniers you can bolt to it, but there’s plenty of adventure to be found on the road right out your front door—camping and gravel optional—with the right bike. It’s this kind of adventure Cervélo is after with the Cervelo C5 Endurance. The bike is not a gravel bike (40mm tires will not fit), and it’s not for bikepacking (your tent and sleeping bag won’t mount to the fork blades). The C5 is an unapologetic road bike designed to get you through the biggest days you can imagine.
The endurance category has delivered some of the choicest innovation—or gimmicks, depending on your opinion—in recent years. We’ve seen suspension and pivot points used to insulate rider from bad roads and elastomer inserts or damping layers to battle fatiguing high-frequency vibration. Cervélo has used none of this, instead it looks to more traditional, but no less effective ways, to smooth out the ride.
The easiest way to improve a bike’s compliance is with tire volume; and with the help of disc brakes the Cervelo C5 Endurance offers legitimate clearance for 32mm tires. Remember, this is a road bike making no claim of gravel prowess, and a 32mm tire on the road offers an enormous amount of volume for comfort and contact patch for confidence. Cervélo lowered the bottom bracket to 75mm of drop, compared to its flagship road racers that have 72mm of drop (on a 56cm frame) and reduced the reach, while increasing the stack. All of this creates a more stable and relaxed position, yet evolved from Cervélo’s road racing pedigree planting it firmly in the road world.
Check out video of the Cervelo C5 from our Winter Gear Guide Series
While this focus on comfort and stability could lead to a bike detuned at the pedals and sluggish at the bars, Cervélo’s carbon mastery and race know-how have ensured that the C5 is crisp and lithe, with a very reactive feel under acceleration that belies its comfort and stability. Pulling from a its “library” of Squoval tube shapes, Cervélo has coaxed compliance with dropped, willowy seat stays and robust performance under power with its BBright bottom bracket and stout down tube, and even some aero sculpting, from just 850 grams in a size 54cm.
The Cervélo C5 proves just how potent a singular focus (road endurance) and traditional solutions (tire volume, fit, geometry, layup) can be to delivering truly stunning, allday performance. Whether your adventure is a day in the Dolomites or just adding a few extra miles to your Sunday ride, the Cervélo C5 will not disappoint. 7.6kg/16.7 lbs (size 56cm); $7,000; cervelo.com