Who will Mark Cavendish be riding for next season? It’s a saga that has been rumbling on for months now, the question fascinating many fans because one more Tour de France stage win would make him the outright leader on the all-time list ahead of Eddy Merckx. Cav got four of his 34 wins on this Cervelo S5 in 2016, including Stage 1 of the race which secured him a day in the race leader's yellow jersey.
> Mark Cavendish’s future uncertain after team boss tells riders to look elsewhere
When it comes to aero road bikes, Cervelo has been at the heart of things from the very beginning having launched the Soloist way back in 2002 (the Soloist has just returned to the Cervelo range, looking like a cross between the brand's R5 and S5 models).
> Cervelo resurrects the Soloist as lovechild of the R5 and S5, balancing aerodynamics and lightweight
The S5 was unveiled in 2011 and quickly became both popular and influential with a seat tube that was sculpted around the rear wheel in much the same way as that of the brand’s time trial bike, along with flat stays and a bladed head tube.
Cervelo launched an updated version of the S5 for the 2015 model year, and it’s this version that Cav was riding the following year. Cervelo said that this model was faster than the original – of course – offering a drag reduction the equivalent of 21.3 watts at 40km/h, a 35% stiffer head tube, 17% stiffer fork and 6% stiffer bottom bracket, while maintaining the same weight. Bike industry PR has run on stats for years! If anywhere near correct, that reduction in drag was huge.
The brand developed its own aero-optimised carbon handlebar for the S5 which was said to responsible for a significant reduction in drag, but Cav wasn’t using it. Instead, he was using a bar from Pro with electrical tape stuck over the logos. Too bad that the raised paint gave the game away.
Why not go for the new handlebar? Maybe Cav preferred the Pro bar's stiffness, shape, or ability to survive a crash.
Cav’s Dimension Data team was sponsored by Enve which provided the carbon-fibre rims, the stems and, in most cases, the handlebars.
The rims were laced to DT Swiss 240 hubs and fitted with 25mm Continental tyres.
Cav used a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset – 9070 series. It has been updated twice since then.
> Check out our Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 groupset review
His bike was fitted with Rotor’s 3D Power chainset with 170mm crank arms and noQ round chainrings. Very few of the Dimension Data riders actually used Rotor’s non-round chainrings.
Cav had Di2 satellite shifters fitted to the inside of the drops, allowing him to change gear more easily when sprinting.
A bit of bling came in the shape of a gold KMC chain and red Ceramic Speed jockey wheels.
Other details included a Fizik Arione saddle with aluminium rails (not carbon, as you might expect), with the Shimano Di2 junction box attached to the rails, well out of the airflow.
A new version of the S5 was released for 2019 and it was disc brake only, so the rim brake version that Cav rode marked the end of an era.
Will we see Mark Cavendish racing at the top level next year and, if so, which team roster is he going to be on? Let us know what you think.
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