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Tour de France Tech 2018: Mark Cavendish’s Cervelo S5

Check out the aero road bike that Cav is racing in this year's Tour de France

Mark Cavendish is racing the Tour de France on a Cervelo S5, and it’s a similar setup to the one he’s used for the past couple of years. We just managed to get a few quick pics as the Dimension Data team got ready to leave for a training ride on the day before the Grand Depart. We didn’t have the chance to put the bike on a stand and photograph all the details; sometimes it goes like that.

We published our first ride review of the latest version of the Cervelo S5 way back in September 2015. That’s a long time ago in top-level race bike terms, especially as brands like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale and BMC have all revealed new aero road bikes within the past week or so. The S5 is due a revamp, we’d say, although no new version has been approved by the UCI so any update is a way off yet.

Tour Tech 2018 Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 - 1

The S5 is Cervelo’s flagship aero road bike, boasting many features that have become industry standards, such as a fork crown that integrates into the head tube/down tube, a down tube that’s dropped so that it sits just behind the front wheel to reduce drag, and a seat tube that’s cutaway around the rear wheel. The seatstays are designed to shelter the rear brake and manage airflow in that area.

Dimension Data is one of the many World Tour teams that uses Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets. The junction box could be hidden away – there’s a handlebar plug version available these days – but Dimension Data prefers to hang one underneath the saddle. Why do that? It’s so that a mechanic who might be leaning out of a car window can easily adjust shifting on the fly.

Read our Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 review here. 


The chainset is a departure from the Dura-Ace theme, the Dimension Data riders using Rotor instead. Cav goes for NoQ round chainrings as opposed to Rotor’s oval Q Rings that are designed to vary drivetrain resistance through the pedal stroke.

Rotor’s 2Inpower power meter is integrated into the chainset. This is a change from last year’s Tour de France when Cav was using an SRM power meter and Dura-Ace cranks with blacked out logos. He’s on-message now, keeping the sponsors happy.


Cav uses a Skylite SR Pilarga saddle with carbon rails from Italy’s Astute. It’s a flat saddle with a twin shell – a U-shaped inner shell and a self-supporting outer shell that’s designed to absorb vibration. There’s triple density memory foam padding underneath the cover.

Check out our Astute Skylite Pilarga SR saddle review.


Dimension Data uses Enve wheels and Cav opts for SES 4.5s, front and rear, although that’ll change according to the route and conditions. The rear wheel has a depth of 56cm while the front, which is more likely to affect the handling in crosswinds, is shallower at 48mm. 


The rim of the front wheel is 27mm wide while the rear is 25.5mm. Both are optimised for 25mm tyres, which is what Cav is using here. These are Continental Competition ProLtd.


Enve provides the SES Aero Road handlebar too, and the Aero Road stem. 

Tour Tech 2018 Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 - 1 (3)

Cav uses Shimano Dura-Ace pedals, although these are older 9000 Series Dura-Ace rather than the latest R9100 ones. There’s not a massive amount of difference between them. The bottle cages are Elite Vico Carbon.

Click here for the full gen on the shoes. 

Want more 2018 Tour tech? Then visit our special Tour de France tech 2018 tag page and fill yer boots!

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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paulrattew | 6 years ago

The handlebar is interesting. It's listed as an Enve SES Aero Road bar, but the drops appear to be quite different. The SES aero road bar drops are highly flared, whereas these seem to either not be flared or just have very little. I wonder if they are a different carbon lay-up as well to make them stiffer for sprinting

check12 | 6 years ago

What shoes are they under those pretend to be Nike shoe covers? 

Broady. replied to check12 | 6 years ago

check12 wrote:

What shoes are they under those pretend to be Nike shoe covers? 


DMT make them for Nike.

Batchy | 6 years ago

That fancy Cervelo has not been doing Cav any good of late. But at least he has not been blaming the bike, despite the fact that it repeatedly appears to steer him into a bad position 150 metres from the  finish line !

Broady. | 6 years ago
1 like

That seatpost never gets any easier on the eye.

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