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Bike at bedtime: Tyler Farrar’s 2011 Tour de France Cervélo S5

Time to snuggle up under the duvet as we take you on a nightly trawl through the archive of cycling dreams (with the occasional nightmare)

Tonight we’re taking you to France, it’s 2011… a sleepy village, somewhere south of Nantes, not much is moving in the mid-afternoon heat certainly not sensible pros who are about to spend three weeks riding around France at an average speed of 39.78Kmh.


Some things are moving about though - your intrepid tech team, and the Garmin Cervélo mechanics who obligingly whip out Tyler’s brand new Cervélo S5 for us to take a gander at.

So new is the bike that it’d only been offically launched the day before. 

Back then nary a year went by without Cervélo upping the bar in the aero-road bike stakes. The S5 was no different - think Cervélo P4 TT bike crossed with the S3 road bike and you wouldn’t be far wrong. It was - and indeed still is - super-skinny, everything that could get in the way of air flowing past it as fast as possible was pared down or tucked away - check those brake callipers. 


Of course Cervélo said the S5 was faster than the legendary S3, indeed so fast that at some point in the development process it must’ve overtaken the S4. The S5 was all about being aero ALL ABOUT (sorry, didn't mean to shout).  So much so that dare we say, that it looked like it might be a tad on the stiff side - we didn’t envy Tyler doing an entire Tour on one.

What did we know though - a few days later he won stage 3, and came second on stage 11. As for the S5, the original version went on to enjoy an illustrious racing career before being revamped in 2015. 

Fancy some further S5 related reading to speed to the land of nod* - there’s lots here including our first ride review of the 2015 revamped version.

*or get you too excited for sleep. Sorry's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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