Over the past two years, Cervelo dealers have been almost begging Cervelo to bring some of the features, especially disc brakes, found on the P5-Disc down to the P3 and P2 level. Thankfully, Cervelo has responded for 2020 with the introduction of the Cervelo P-Series Disc platform. While the in-line caliper brake equipped P3 and P2 remain in the line, the new P-Series Disc platform shows that Cervelo is committed to blending the triathlon friendly P bikes into one model that is distinguished by multiple levels of component spec to hit different price points. We like this simplified approach and we like most of what we see in the new P-Series Disc.
2020 Cervelo P-Series Disc Frame
The new Cervelo P-Series Disc is headlined by the new P-Series Disc frame. This frame takes a lot (if not all) of the technology found in the latest generation P5-Disc and drops the price points down (starting at $3200 for a 105 version) by eliminating the bayonet style fork and Cervelo aerobar on the front end. What does this mean in terms of performance compared to the P3/P2 caliper brake bikes? Some numbers:
- Frame and fork weight is 8% lighter. It is worth noting that disc brakes do add some weight to the entire bike though.
- Headtube stiffness is increased by an astounding 34%.
- Bottom bracket stiffness is increased by 20% (and the caliper brake bikes are not slouches in this department).
- Aerodynamic drag decreased by 26 grams. Hey, every watt counts, right?
Needless to say, the new P-Series Disc has made significant gains on an Cervelo’s already proven winners in the P3/P2. The huge increases in stiffness also demonstrate just how much of a difference thru axles make compared to disc brakes in this important area.
2020 Cervelo P-Series Disc Aerobars and Cockpit
The front-end is where the P5-Disc and the new P-Series Disc diverge the most. By eliminating the bayonet style fork and the well thought out adjustable integrated Cervelo aerobar found on the P5-Disc, a fair amount of money is saved.
Thankfully, Cervelo didn’t cheap out on the cockpit components they use on the 2020 P-Series Disc. The 105 and Ultegra mechanical level bike get Zipp’s very functional and adjustable Vuka Alumina aerobar. The Ultegra Di2 and Force AXS 1x versions get Vision’s full-featured carbon Tri-Max Carbon. One thing that we have always liked about the Cervelo P2 and P3 is the use of readily available and high quality aerobars. While a really well done integrated aerobar can be very slippery and fast, not all of them are well done. Also, many require specialty parts and hardware, that may not be readily available. By using Zipp and Vision aerobars on the 2020 P-Series Disc, Cervelo has helped to make sure that just about any part that is needed can be acquired by just about any bike shop (not just Cervelo dealers). Nice job Cervelo.
The Wheel Spec on the 2020 Cervelo P-Series Disc
It is fairly well established that, until you get into the higher price points, the wheels that come on most tri bikes are not spec’d to get you to Kona. They are usually solid wheels (read: heavy and sluggish, but strong), but they are also selected to help minimize costs. In recent years, probably due to the growing popularity of disc brakes, things have started to change a little though and better wheel spec has started to trickle down the line. Why? The thought is that most disc brake tri bikes being bought today are likely the rider’s first disc brake tri bike and they don’t have a collection of nice wheels yet that are compatible.
With this in mind, the Shimano 105 spec’d version of the 2020 P-Series Disc is equipped with a Vision Team 30 TC wheel; the Ultegra mechanical version has a Vision Team 35 wheelset; the Ultegra Di2 and Force AXS versions receive a Vision 55 TC wheelset. This means that the the 105 and Ultegra mechanical equipped bikes still come with fairly basic wheels that are not going to win any awards for weight. However, they at least have some depth to them and they look good on the bikes. The electronic shift versions get an honest to goodness race capable wheelset in the Vision 55 TC. While the 55 TC is not going to compete on par with a Zipp 404 or Enve 5.6 built by the factory or custom built for you by Fit Werx, it is a true sub 1650 gram carbon rim equipped aero wheel from a company that focuses on speed oriented products for triathlon. Getting a wheel of this level and electronic shifting on a bike in the $6500-$7000 range is a strong value and helps riders get outside on a competitive package from day one on their new disc bike.
2020 Cervelo P-Series Disc Integrated Storage
While some rider’s didn’t buy the Cervelo P2 or P3 caliper brake bikes as they do not come from the factory with integrated storage pods, we kind of like how Cervelo handled this topic in the past. By providing mounts on the P2 and P3, Cervelo allowed dedicated accessory companies (like X-Lab) to do what they are good at and build compatible bags and accessories. Again, any bike dealer can supply the part and open source can spur a variety of options (assuming a product is popular enough to begin with).
Cervelo takes a different approach with the 2020 Cervelo P-Series, which includes more integrated storage designed and built by Cervelo. The top tube box appears to be straight off the P5-Disc and there is an included rear hydration mount on the seatpost. Thankfully, Cervelo didn’t try to reinvent the aerobar mounted hydration system. The well thought out Vision Metron slides right in and is included with the electronic bikes with the Vision aerobar while a similar system (Profile, Vision, X-Lab…) can be added to the Zipp Vuka Alumina equipped mechanical shift bikes. All versions of the bike include the UCI legal 500ml capacity Cervelo Aerobottle 500 that mounts to the downtube.
While Cervelo can be accused of taking new and complex design too far in some past models (P4, P5…), they seem to have learned from those experiences. The more recent P5X and P3X are both very technically advanced tri bikes, but clearly had a mechanic’s say in how they were executed. The same is true for the 2019 P5-Disc. Meanwhile, Cervelo has always done a good job making sure that their most popular bikes (P2, P3, P-Series Disc) steer clear of mechanically complicated brake and storage designs. While time will tell, we like what we see on the surface from a functionality and durability perspective with the integrated storage features on the new P-Series Disc bikes.
Cervelo P-Series Disc Tire Width
Just in case you are looking to attack the rutted backroads of Ironman Siberia, the new P-Series Disc triathlon and TT bikes can accept a measured 28mm tire and be within the ISO safety guidelines of 4mm of space all the way around (it has 36mm wide internal stays). Just kidding about Ironman Siberia – using tires measuring 28mm wide on the pavement is certainly not uncommon at this point and the new P-Series Disc understands this. It is worth nothing that you can’t talk about actual tire width without talking about rim width; most wider rims today will cause a tire listed at 25-26mm to actually measure around 28mm.
2020 Cervelo P-Series Pricing & Colors
The 2020 Cervelo P-Series is available as a frameset as well as with four different spec levels as follows:
- Frameset: $2500
- Shimano 105 Bike: $3200
- Shimano Ultegra 8000 Bike: $4300
- Shimano Ultegra Di2 Bike: $6500
- SRAM Force AXS 1x Bike: $7000
There are two color options available in complete bikes – Black/White/Light Grey and Black/Light Orange/Coral – as well as a third Teal/Navy color that is available only as a frameset.
Cervelo P-Series Disc Brake Spec
It is important to note that the P-Series Disc has a range of braking systems, depending on the component level.
The 105 bike comes with the TRP Spyre C, an OEM Spyre. This is a mechanical/cable actuated disc brake that competes with what Quintana Roo and others offer on many of their disc brake bikes. In our experience, the Spyre works reasonably well, as long as you don’t expect too much out of it. If you come straight off your Ultegra or Dura Ace disc equipped road bike onto the Spyre and expect similar performance, you will be disappointed. If you expect the brakes on your TT/Tri bike to slow you down similar to a decent caliper brake, you won’t likely be disappointed. The Spyre is designed to be price point conscious and allows the rider to get into a disc brake frame at as low as price as possible. It achieves this and you can always upgrade to a hydraulic system when you add electronic shifting in a couple years…
The Shimano Ultegra and Ultegra Di2 bike both come with TRP HD-T910 hydraulic brakes. It is good to see a full hydraulic brake with carbon levers on the Ultegra bikes. They are deserving of this and the Di2 version comes complete with remote shift levers.
The SRAM Force AXS 1x version of the P-Series Disc comes with SRAM S900 Aero HRD brakes. This is SRAM’s best aero/TT disc brake set-up. We don’t expect to sell a ton of these to riders in the Northeast though as the 48T front 33T rear low gear is just not enough for many riding hillier courses. It would be great to see an AXS 2x option on the P-Series Disc too…
We’re pleased to see 160mm rotors on all spec levels of the P-Series Disc. Some TT/Tri bikes with TRP brakes have been coming with 140mm rotors and they are not as strong as we would like to see them. The 160mm rotors should help a fair amount.
Cervelo P-Series Disc Fit
The frame geometry of the P-Series mirrors that of the Cervelo P5-Disc. When this is combined with the adjustability of the aerobars spec’d on the P-Series, a bike that fits a wide range of athletes pretty well results. This being said, it is important to remember that there is not such thing as a stock bike that fits everyone well and making set-up changes on a modern tri bike with disc brakes can be a time consuming and expensive process.
By far the best way to make sure that a P-Series fits you well is to start with a fitting that is independent of any particular bike (specific to you) first and then use that information to select the right bike and have it built to your position from inception. This is why Fit Werx was one of the pioneers of this “Fit First” philosophy and follow it to this day.
The P-Series Disc is available now. Contact us for more information on the new Cervelo P-Series or to make a fitting appointment.