I have recently taken delivery of my 5th Cervelo - the 4th from River City Cycles.
Why Cervelo you may ask?
For the previous 30 years I had ridden another well known and respected brand, and it was time for a new bike as the old one had suffered some catastrophic damage courtesy of road debris. I was looking toward buying another of the brand I had ridden for 30 years.
River City Cycles were then also selling Cervelo's and their S5 model looked quite different to 'normal' and the question was asked 'is this all marketing or does it really mean something?'. I was then given an offer I could not refuse. River City Cycles said they would build up a bike for me, I could ride it for up to 2 weeks and if I didn't like it.... no problems, just bring it back.
On a section of road I ride frequently, the best I could ever get out of my other bikes was 58kmh, and all done. The Cervelo ? 62kmh! So it wasn't just marketing, it did convert to a faster bike. Needless to say that bike never went back.
That first Cervelo did develop a small crack in the frame after about 18 months and top marks to River City Cycles and Cervelo, the frame was replaced without question. It was the next incarnation of the S5, and once again the performance of that bike surprised me, compared to the previous model.
Then in 2016, with a rush of blood to the head I thought I would like to go racing again after an absence of about 20 years, fancied Time Trialing and bought a 2nd hand P3 that was 3 years old. First major race - the Australian Masters in 2016 held in Adelaide. I won the TT in my age group, and I remember thinking 'How did that happen!'
The relentless quest for speed showed some shortcomings in that 2013 P3 so I upgraded in 2018. Wow! Chalk & Cheese, and that bike took me to wins and podium finishes at both State and National level. It was one hell of a fast bike
2020 comes along with really great reviews on Cervelo's new P5, but a lot of money, and so a lot of umming and ahhing going on... Eventually my dear wife rang up River City Cycles and said 'put a sold sticker on that P5' in the shop.
Again I am amazed at the difference. Picked the bike up Friday October 16th raced on it in the Tour de Valley on the 18th, and won with a 34 second lead.
A quantum difference. The new P5 is unbelievably stable at high speed - like 70+, and holds speed remarkably well. I have the opinion that Cervelo's convert power to speed better than any other bike.... and I have been on a lot of bikes this past 60 odd years.
Just as an aside, the person who bought my last P3 cannot believe how good it is, telling me that every Strava PB he had he has now smashed on the P3.
Have I got another bike in me at age 74? Hard to know, but if Cervelo keep building better and better bikes it could get awfully tempting.
And finally I have to say that in dealing with River City Cycles for 25 years, it would be my biased opinion that they invariably provide great service and support. In 25 years I have found nothing to complain about.
Words by Col Howkins
Images by Craig and Veloshotz