Cervélo R2 Review (2015)

The Cervélo R2 is the latest bike from the well-known Canadian cycling brand, that takes trickle-down technology from its higher-end bikes but comes equipped with primarily Shimano’s 105 5800 group to make the price point much more appealing.

The 2015 Cervélo R2 we picked up uses the same carbon frame from the more expensive R3, plus the same aerodynamic Squoval 3 tubes found on the company’s 2013 RCA frame, which retailed for $10,000. This frame, however, is 24% stiffer at the head tube and 8% stiffer at the bottom bracket.

What does this mean? Better power transfer plus more snappier steering (the 3T cockpit helps), in a frame that weights under 1000 grams in size 56cm (ours is a 58cm and weighs 17.7 lb) with hardware and glossy grey paint with gold highlights (with gold metallic throughout)

IMG 0336

Now, how did Cervélo bring the R2’s price down to a more palatable $2650? Compromises had to be made, but for those entering into the market for their first carbon frame with a proven race-inspired geometry, Shimano’s crisp-shifting 105 5800 drivetrain is a fine specimen. Many riders compare it a slightly heavier version of the Ultegra 6800, and for the average cyclist, you’d hardly be able to tell the difference blindfolded.

The FSA Gossamer 50/34 chains powers the 11-28 cassette, and attached to Cervélo’s BBright bottom bracket, it allows no issues. FSA Gossamer brakes also bring stopping power (not as good as 105 unfortunately, but passable), plus the SL-K carbon seatpost.

As for the wheels, most manufacturers assume riders will upgrade them anyways, so dependable Shimano RS10 wheels come standard wrapped in 23mm Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres.

For someone riding their first carbon road frame, how did the Cervélo R2 feel compared to our aluminum Norco Valence A4? It was literally night and day. The R2 accelerates faster, and the stiff BBright bottom bracket powered every revolution to the wheels with zero flex, helped in part by our 105 carbon pedals. Off the saddle during climbs or sprints, this baby really flies like a bullet. The 23mm Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres are pretty quick and responsive on dry so far, much more than the Continental Gatorskins in 25mm we have on our Valence.

Riding our usual neighbourhood jaunt, we were able to set numerous PRs within Strava, thanks to this lightweight and stiff, but yet comfortable carbon frame. Riding up gradients and hills were a breeze, as we were able to stay seated in the saddle without any issues.

But also taking corners there was so much control with the Cervélo R2, that made riding the bike so enjoyable. Thanks to its super thin seat stays—the same ones used by Garmin-Sharp pro racers—the ride was compliant but also firm, with the 3T cockpit providing a comfortable grip when off the Shimano 105 hoods.

IMG 0338

We purchased our Cervélo R2 from the fine folks at Trek Bikes Victoria (also known for their Pro City Racing club), which gave us a bike fit, that also included follow up tweaks for up to a year (and servicing). We were able to jump on the fall clearance and nabbed the Cervélo R2 for $2300 CAD, 13% off its MSRP of $2650.

With so much trickle-down technology from Cervélo’s proven race heritage, the R2 is a fine bike with massive upgrade potential (it’s Di2 ready), ready for day-to-day riding, racing, century rides and any sportives you’re up for. Next up, time to upgrade those wheels…