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The Takeaway: The Cervelo Aspero is a fast gravel bike. The Aspero 5 is even faster.
10 percent lighter frame than the Aspero
Integrated front end for improved aerodynamics
Reserve carbon wheels on all builds
Price: $6,900 to $9,000
Cervelo’s Aspero is a benchmark gravel racing bike. No fender or cargo mounts (save a bento box), unapologetically low and long riding position and quick handling, the Aspero is built for speed. It’s a freakin’ fantastic bike—one of our favorites.
But Cervelo wanted to make the Aspero even faster, so there’s a new and even higher-end version that carries the “5” tag of the brand’s top-of-the-line bikes (P5, R5, S5, Caledonia 5). The new Aspero 5 is faster and lighter than the original Aspero, with premium build kits featuring power meters.
The original Aspero carries forward with revised build kits that bring the entry point of this excellent bike down to $2,800.
We took delivery of an Aspero 5 for our friend and large human, Jared, as it’s one of the few production bikes big and strong enough for his stature. You can read about Jared’s bike odyssey here.
[The story about Jared’s bike odyssey originally appeared in the Bicycling newsletter. For access to more expert gear and tech coverage, join now]
All the details about the new Aspero 5 are below. A full review and video of the Aspero 5, featuring Jared, is in the works, so stay tuned.
Cervelo Aspero 5 — Integrated front end
Compared to the original Aspero, the most significant new feature is an integrated front end with hidden hoses and housing. Like a road racing bike, brake hoses and electronic wires go directly from the shift/brake into the handlebar and through the stem before they dive into the frame at the head tube. This is essentially the same system found on the Caledonia-5 road bike.
Cleaning up the front end saves 32 grams of drag, Cervelo claims. While aero gains aren’t chased to the same extent they are on the road, gravel riders shouldn't scoff at improved aerodynamics. Gravel riding isn’t as pack-driven road cycling, so gravel riders have their noses in the wind more. Plus, the wind is a real factor at events that take place on open plains like Unbound.
One note: if you add a bar bag like the cool kids, you can chuck those aero gains right out the window.
Cervelo needed to open up the upper section of the headtube to gain the clearance necessary for the hoses/wires to enter the frame, which is why the Aspero 5 has a 1.25-inch upper bearing and not a standard 1.125-inch upper bearing like the original Aspero. That difference means that owners of the original Aspero can’t upgrade their bikes with the 5’s cleaner routing.
Like most integrated front ends, expect more complicated maintenance and fewer compatible parts when dealing with the Aspero 5.
Another note: The Aspero 5 is compatible with mechanical shift systems. However, mechanical shift housing goes into the port at the top of the Aspero’s downtube, which means they’re dangling out in the wind. You only benefit from the sleek front end and improved aerodynamics if Aspero 5 has electronic shifting: That’s likely why there are no mechanical shift versions of the Aspero 5.
More clearance comes from the fork steerer’s flattened front section. The ‘C’ shape of the fork steerer mates with Cervelo’s ST32 stem. This stem runs a ±9 degree rise and comes in 70 to 130mm lengths. Riders looking for something fancier can pick up Cervelo’s ST31 carbon stem. The stem's faceplate has an accessory mount for a computer, camera, and light—mounts are included.
Cervelo’s team cooked up a new gravel handlebar for the Aspero 5. The AB09F handlebar features drops with 16 degrees of flare and four degrees of sweep, and the top section has aero-ish wide and flat grip areas. Cervelo makes this bar in 38 to 44cm widths—measured at the hoods—add eight centimeters for the width at the drops.
Cervelo Aspero 5 — Lighter Frame
Though it shares the same overall shape, features, and geometry as the original Aspero, Cervelo’s engineers were able to pull a bit of weight out of the Aspero 5’s frame.
The Aspero 5’s frame is 100 grams, give or take, lighter than the Aspero, putting frame-only weight somewhere around 920 grams (frame size and paint dependent).
If you want the lightest possible frame, go for black as the fancy glittery paint option carries a small weight penalty.
Cervelo Aspero 5 — Power Meters
True to its position as a high-end racing bike, two Aspero 5 models bikes have power meters. SRAM builds get Quarq power meters (SRAM owns Quarq).
In some markets, the Shimano GRX builds get 4iii Precision Pro power meter, but due to COVID-related supply issues, the bikes available here are sans power meters.
Cervelo Aspero 5 — Reserve Carbon Wheels
All three Aspero 5 builds use Reserve Carbon 32 wheels. Cervelo’s corporate sibling Santa Cruz Bicycles—both brands are owned by PON—started the Reserve line in 2017, with road and gravel options added in 2020.
As the name implies, this wheel has 32mm deep rims. Internal width is 24mm and designed for tires 28 to 45mm wide. DT-Swiss hubs reside in the middle of every wheel.
Cervelo’s quoting a wheel weight of around 1516 grams a pair. That’s not screaming light, but then Reserve isn’t known for light wheels. This brand concentrates more on durability and practicality.
Reserve’s lifetime warranty is one of the best around. It, in part, states, “If you break a wheel, we’ll send you a new one within 24 hours. If you back over it with your car, we’ll get you a low-cost crash replacement ASAP.”
Cervelo Aspero 5 — Prices and Build Details
The Aspero 5 launches with three build options. All three have carbon wheels, a power meter, and electronic shifting. SRAM builds are 1x12, while the Shimano build is 2x11.
If you prefer to build your own, the Aspero 5 frameset sells for $4,300.
Click through the gallery below to get the full breakdown of Aspero 5’s build options.
Cervelo Aspero 5 — Geometry
The Aspero 5’s geometry is the same as the original Aspero. Befitting its intended purpose as gravel race bike the Aspero 5 has a lower and longer position than adventure and touring oriented gravel bikes.
The Aspero 5 also has the same dual offset fork feature as the original Aspero, which lets riders correct the bike’s handling when running a 650b wheelset.
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