Cervelo R3 SL Review

Reviews & Tech

11/11/2008| 0 comments
by Ron Meisel
Cervelo R3 SL frame close-up.
Cervelo R3 SL frame close-up.

Cervelo R3 SL Review

Roadcycling.com reviews the Cervelo R3 SL road bike.

Roadcycling.com reviews the Cervelo R3 SL road bike.

Cervelo says, it’s not about the bike, err… I mean the weight. If all you are concerned about is weight, the Cervelo R3 SL will match any competitor gram for gram. Roadcycling.com looks at the big picture and the R3 SL is a beautiful portrait.

Anxious to try the Cervelo, my first test ride was in the evening hours over a regular route. It was difficult to see as the light I mounted on the Cervelo was dim. I thought how lucky I was to be missing the bumps and potholes. Then, I realized I wasn’t missing them at all! I was amazed with the R3 SL and the immediate comfort I was experiencing. It made me look forward to really challenging the Cervelo. Additional test rides took Roadcycling.com’s reviewers over washboards, potholes, road repair, gravel roads and the Cervelo absorbed the pounding of them all. No wonder it was a winner at Paris-Roubaix. I did a bike change with my co-tester Dave and switched to my aluminum frame bike. This time, I found myself off the seat avoiding the rough sections rather than riding over them. I immediately missed the Cervelo R3 SL.

Handling was exact. I could turn as sharp as I wanted while carrying deceptive speed. Dave proved this while he was testing it and I was following. He flicked the Cervelo through an S turn and my bike couldn’t match the line he took. He was thinking go, go, go and I was thinking look out ditch! Dave reported acceleration was effortless. He advised the transition from rolling to sprinting was immediate. In his own words, “The Cervelo was quick to launch and won’t let you down when you attack or have to counter a break”.

Back on the Cervelo, my confidence was reinforced when braking and turning at the same time. You could maintain your line without the bike standing up. This held true on rough surfaces also. It wasn’t skittish.  BUT! I was most impressed with straight line handling. It was composed regardless if you were hammering in the drops or sitting up cruising. It tracked like a touring bike without wandering, overcorrecting, or jumping side to side. Climbing was easier. I assume the lightweight frame helped considerably. I pulled a higher gear with more momentum.

The hefty front triangle and the oversize bottom bracket establish an unyielding energy transfer. I detected no flex while stomping on the gas. The R3 SL had every bit of strength found in a big tube aluminum frame but held it’s line better. I purposely started in the center of the road while doing a stomp sprint in case of an unexpected lunge or skip. It tracked straight without deviating off the centerline with all the power I could apply. It was easy to feel the center balance without the front popping up or the rear kicking out.

Some bikes need to be finessed. The R3 SL doesn’t care how you ride it. Glide over rollers or mash a big gear over

Pages

Your comments
Your comments
sign up or login to post a comment