Cervelo Debuts the P4 at Interbike

Reviews & Tech

09/25/2008| 0 comments
by Dave Osborne
Cervelo P4
Cervelo P4

Cervelo Debuts the P4 at Interbike

Cervelo introduces its next-generation time trial bike.

Cervelo introduces its next-generation time trial bike.

Earlier today at Interbike, we were introduced to the brand new Cervélo P4 - the next generation in aero time trial bikes, the Cervélo P4.

The P4 is the long awaited successor to the Cervelo P3 - a bike that, to many, has become the current time trial standard for challengers to live up to. As the P3 according to Cervelo is still the fastest bike available three years after its introduction, it appears clear that creating its successor was no easy task for the Cervelo engineers.  After spending millions on research and development and over two months of intensive testing at the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel, the resulting bike - the P4 - is the fastest bike ever in the wind tunnel, including both UCI-legal and illegal bikes.

“The P4 is the biggest leap we have ever made in aero bike technology,” said Phil White, co-founder of Cervélo. “The P series has evolved significantly over the last decade, making it a real challenge to keep finding improvements.  With the P4, the mandate was to make it significantly faster than the P3 while achieving equivalent or better performance relative to stiffness, power transmission, low weight and comfort. I’m pleased to report that we have met those goals.”

According to Cervelo, the strengths of the P4 are found in its many fine details, some of which are quite visible but others are difficult to detect at first glance. The key to the performance of the P4 lies in the frameset’s integrated design.  This System Engineering approach, which considers the frame, components, wheels, hydration and the rider together, generates substantially reduced drag values in virtual (CFD) and physical wind tunnel testing.  Highlights of the P4 system include:

Optimized Aero Tube Shapes
The aero profiles of the P4’s tubes are completely new, improving airflow attachment and reducing turbulence relative to other designs.  In addition, the new asymmetric aero chain stays generate very low drag values, particularly in cross-wind environments, compared with chain stay designs from earlier P-series and competitor models.  Additionally, the seat stays are pitched forward to reduce frontal surface area and their joints with the seat tube are optimized for maximum aerodynamic efficiency.
 
Fork
The custom fork, developed by vroomen.white.design, is integrated seamlessly into the head tube and downtube. This feature was first conceived by Cervélo in 1995 and comes to fruition now on the P4.  Cervelo also invested significantly to optimize the spacing between the tires and wheels, the frame and the fork. This is a very complex area aerodynamically and our engineers tested over seventy-five different designs during the development process.  The result is a significant reduction in drag values generated in this section of the bike.

Front wheel cut-out
"We invented the front wheel cut-out back in 1995, but in subsequent testing we have found it not to be the fastest design. So despite current trends the P4 does not have a front wheel cut-out, as we have never seen one that works. While front wheel cut-outs can show good

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