It's no secret that aero bikes can help you go faster; after all, they've been around for years. The issue has traditionally been a sacrifice in lateral stiffness or a harsh ride associated with building a frame with aero tubes. That is until technology finally caught up with the recent aero designs over the past several seasons, allowing you to have your cake and eat it too. Science tells us that aero drag accounts for as much as 90 percent of the overall resistance and less drag simply equals more speed. So if you can have an aero advantage, enjoy a smooth ride, and get the proper stiffness needed for rock-solid sprinting and sure handling why wouldn't you choose a frame like this? Good question. The S3 Road Frameset is such an option and the one we would suggest if you value the simplicity and lightweight build of a rim brake bike.
Cervelo honed the S3's aerodynamics after spending countless hours in the wind tunnel testing and refining designs. This particular disc model features full internal cable routing thanks to a new bar and stem that hides the brake and shift housing from the wind for improved aerodynamics. Additionally, the new frame profiles work together to reduce drag so you simply go faster. Cervelo calls this True Aero which combines these specific tube shapes, sizes, and design features to improve aerodynamic flow across the bike.
The most aero bike available is meaningless if it??¢s a wet noodle though, so thankfully Cervelo worked hard to increase the stiffness at the bottom bracket shell ensuring efficient power transfer and that every watt goes straight to the rear wheel. Just like every other Cervelo, the S3 uses its BBright shell which takes advantage of oversized frame tubes that are stiffer and lighter. With the BBright system, larger sized tubes are used at the seat tube, down tube, and non-driveside chainstay. The benefit is an increase in stiffness and pedaling efficiency while achieving a lighter weight frame that's compatible with all major bottom bracket standards. Stiffness doesn't just end there and Cervelo beefed up the head tube junction that conspires with its geometry for more confidence inspiring handling with impressive stability and precision when cornering and descending at speed.
Cervelo's mastery of carbon layups and construction techniques also allow it to reduce the frame's weight while making it stiffer. It uses advanced engineering software like Finite Element Analysis (FEA) that allows it to better understand exactly how each layer of carbon fiber is working and if it's being used properly. Its carbon expertise prescribes a specific frame layup by placing hundreds of individually cut plies of carbon in a mold in a certain order and orientation. By precisely cutting these plies, the frame is able to be made lighter while still achieving the desired strength and reliability.
And because different areas of the frame experience different loads while climbing, sprinting, and descending, to better cope with these forces, Cervelo creates different layups by placing the fibers at different angles in specific areas for the desired metrics. In addition to reducing weight, maximizing strength and stiffness, it's also instrumental in how comfortable the bike is to ride and it's backed up with extensive in-house testing and real-world experience.
A fast ride is a smooth one and it's important to keep vibrations at bay if you plan on going fast for long periods of time. Excessive road noise transmitted to the rider has proven responsible for premature fatigue and since Cervelo uses specific frame lay-ups and tube shapes that help soak up road vibrations, it helps reduce fatigue on those long days in the saddle.
Lastly, this S3 save 53 grams or the equivalent of 6.9 Watts over the previous version of the S3. Furthermore, Cervelo doesn't offer its S5 with rim brakes, so if you are looking for its most aero mass-start frameset available, this S3 rim version is where it's at.
An aero machine that's also an excellent all arounder
True Aero tube shapes slice through the wind
Direct mount rim brakes add power with less weight
Lightweight and efficient carbon construction
BBright shell harnesses watts and sends it to the rear wheel
Includes an aero seatpost
Mechanical and electronic drivetrain friendly
Also includes a handlebar and stem for running the housing internal