Cervélo’s new aero road baby, the S3, hits the mark when it comes to frame stiffness and comfort. This new Disc Ultegra Di2 model takes on a bold aero look; in other words, it’s not just an aero road machine but also aero in design and style. This no doubt holds much appeal for aero bike lovers with an eye for aesthetics. However, tests have shown this bike to be lacking in some areas but more on that later.
As you’re probably aware, Cervélo has different categories under which different model ranges are classified. The S3, for instance, comes under the aero road category. Besides the S3, there is the more prominent S5 model, which stole the limelight, and by so doing, overshadowed the S3 model. Coming in between is the more conventional S-series which proved capable of holding its own in the spotlight. While the S3 has been overlooked by many, it still has a few perks of its own. Let’s take a look at the S3’s geometry.
Geometry and specs
One notable feature of the S3’s geometry is it comes with rim or disc brake options. Also, the bike proves efficient on the road. The S3 gives you what you would expect from an aero road bike. It is fast and smooth. Its geometry also adapts it to different terrains. More so, it allows for impeccable power transfer. This does wonder in terms of consistent acceleration.
Tested sizes include sizes 48, 51, 54, 56, 58*, 61cm.
Seat angle: 73 degrees
Head angle: 73.5 degrees
Seat tube: 58cm
Top tube: 58.1cm
Head tube: 19.93cm
Fork offset: 4.3cm
Wheel base: 969, 971, 973, 981, 999, 1,016.
BB Drop: 73, 73, 70, 70, 68, 68
BB Height: 263, 263, 266, 266, 268, 268
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Brake: Hydraulic disc
In terms of stiffness, the S3 really packs a punch. Recent iterations of the S3 were designed to allow more stiffness in its carbon frame whilst modifying its overall drag with the disc brakes.
It comes with a Prologo Dimension Saddle. This makes up for a more comfortable seating position.
Its slender seat stays and wide tire clearance dampens vibrations on the road. This gives you a smooth ride coupled with improved acceleration.
The bottom brackets are surprisingly silent. That’s a perk seeing as many riders prefer a quiet ride.
It lacks some details in integration. Unlike the fully integrated S5 model, the S3 could use some work in its integration. This is, however, favorable to riders who like to implement personal adjustments, but this can be tricky and even inconvenient for many.
This bad boy comes with a full aero package. It comes with an internal cable routing, RAT thru-axles, an integrated fork and stem, and of course, the conventional carbon frame.
Fast, smooth and silent. This gives the rider a sense of control.
The new S3 model has a much lighter frame weight. This can, however, be a downer as it all comes back to its lack of certain elements.
It usually comes with Continental’s Grand Prix tires, and these do its grip and acceleration justice.
The S3 isn’t without its inadequacies. In fact, there have been a lot of complaints about its lack of integration. More so, there’s a reason it has been overshadowed by the S5 model. Below are a few noticeable hitches in the Cervélo S3.
It can prove unsteady on rough and uneven surfaces.
There have been some complaints about the aero handlebars.
The RAT axles become difficult to work with and maintain as time goes on.
Like many of Cervélo’s products, cost becomes a red flag for the S3. So if you have a small budget, you may not be easily convinced about the S3’s worth.
The S3’s press fit bottom brackets do not fully equal the standards of the regular threaded bottom brackets many aero road bikes are known for.
In all, the Cervélo S3 is an aero road bike with a lot of potential. It may come at the lower end of the radar, but that’s not to say it’s an inefficient bike. The S3 is a great aero bike in its own right. It performs the functions of your regular aerodynamic bike. And even more, it doesn’t let you down when you try to climb with it. We can only hope for improvements in its geometry come subsequent models.