Cervélo’s P2 triathlon bike tested, rated and reviewed by TriRadar Australia’s Aaron S Lee

Cervelo P2 ReviewCervélo P2

£2,499.99 / A$3700 / NZ$4300
cervelo.com

For years Cervélo has been the bike du jour at triathlons around the world, and the Canadian manufacturer’s latest version of its entry-level Cervélo P2 is certain to continue the range’s dominance amongst the world’s great tri bikes… far from budget

Cervélo P2 – Frame and Fork

If the rebooted Cervélo P2 frame looks a lot like its pricier siblings, including both the Cervélo P3 and P5, it’s for good reason. Cervélo’s entry-level triathlon bike now shares the same frame fit specs as its stablemates after receiving its first facelift in seven years. In fact, the new P2 is actually a 2013 P3 frame.

The bike is visually stunning, with deep section aero frame tubing, chunky BBright PF-30 bottom bracket and a sexy rear-wheel cutout which leaves a minuscule amount of spacing at the gap. The P2 frame is also fully compatible with all current and future mechanical, hydraulic or electronic components.

This all-new timeless classic has more than just a fresh coat of paint. The new UCI-compliant P-series geometry allows for a range of sizes, including 45cm to 61cm, with the 45 equipped with 650c wheelsets for smaller riders.

This new geometry is both shorter in reach and taller in stack than its P2 predecessor and makes for a very relaxed fit. This is a major plus for most age-group triathletes lacking the pro-calibre flexibility to assume ultra-aggressive time trial positions. However, for those looking to go absolute aero, a dropped stack and an inverted stem may be a forced solution. With such a variety in sizing, a professional pre- and post bike fit may be in order to get the ideal frame size.

Cervélo P2 – The Kit

Our Cervélo P2 test bike arrived completely in sync with the factory spec list, except for the Schwalbe Durano S tyres mounted on the bomb-proof Shimano R500 wheelset instead of the stock Vittoria Rubino Pro 23c, and a Prologo Kappa saddle in place of a Fi’zi:k Arione Tri2.

The P2 features a mix of Shimano 105 derailleurs, Tiagra 10-speed cassette (11-25) and chain and Dura-Ace tip shifters combined with FSA Gossamer Pro brakes, cranks and compact chainrings (50/34). The Profile Design cockpit prominently features aT2 Wing basebar with T4+ Wing extensions all attached to a Profile Design Aris OS stem.

Our test bike also came specially equipped with a handy aero bento box from Torhans, which sits behind the stem for easy access to nutrition and a potential aero benefit.

This TriRadar reviewer has no problem with the choice in Shimano 105 derailleur componentry, but would have preferred a uniform kit out and perhaps a full-sized 52/39T chainrings as standard fare for training grounds with less than seven per cent gradients.

The crank arms are also a bit shorter than normal – length correlating with frame size – to allow for stress relief in the hips when tucked in the aero position for extended lengths. Our 51cm (S) test bike was fitted with 165mm cranks, compared to 170mm for 54- and 56cm sizes, and 172.5 for larger frames.

Cervélo P2 – The Ride

With two Ironman World Championships to its credit, there is no denying the P2’s race pedigree, and its latest rendition is no exception. This bike needs little encouragement to fly.

Aside from its ease of motion and perceived lack of rolling resistance, the most noticeable observation came from the overall lack of crosswind interference – especially on a frame that is constructed of such deep carbon tube sections. The bike was obedient and well mannered amid the constant ocean gusts alongside Australia’s pristine New South Wales eastern beaches.

The bike was smooth and extremely compliant, even on Shimano’s R500s. But it wasn’t until after a week of riding and a subtle wheel substitution for a pair of American Classic 420 Aero 3’s where the bike really showed off – so imagine what a set of Zipp 404 or HED Jet 6 Plus would do.

The previous model, now called the P2 Classic, was originally fitted with the Shimano Ultegra groupset and a 105 version of the P2 Classic is available in Australia for $2,300.

While a bit costlier at $3,700 compared to competitors’ entry-level offerings, the all-new Cervélo P2 is a far cry from ‘entry level’ as this still relatively inexpensive time trial weapon packs a lot of bang for the buck.

+ Seven frame sizes available offering a relaxed position and comfortable ride for a age-group triathletes of various shapes and sizes
+ Trademark good looks and forward-thinking frame design compatible with all current and future derailleur and brake systems

– High stack height may not be low enough for uber-flexible and ultra-competitive triathletes looking for aggressive aero positioning
– At $3,700, Australian RRP is a bit pricey for an ‘entry-level’ tri bike fitted with a potpourri of Shimano 105 / FSA / Profile Design components

SPECS

FRAME AND FORK

Size tested S (51cm)
Sizes available XXS 45 (650c), XS 48, S 51, M 54, L 56, XL 58, and XXL 61
Weight as tested 8.82kg
Frame: Cervélo carbon
Fork: Cervélo FK41

TRANSMISSION

Crankset: FSA Gossamer BBright 50/34
Bottom bracket: BBright PF-30
Cassette: Shimano Tiagra 4600 10 spd 11-25
Chain: Shimano Tiagra 4600
Derailleurs: Shimano 105 5700
Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace tip shift

WHEELS
Front: Shimano R500
Rear: Shimano R500
Tyres: Schwalbe Durano S
Wheel weight: Front 822g, Rear 1078g

OTHER COMPONENTS
Stem: Profile Design Aris OS
Bars: Profile Design T2 Wing base bar and T4 Wing extensions
Headset: FSA IS2
Saddle: Prologo Kappa
Seatpost: Cervélo Aero SP14
Brakes: FSA Gossamer Pro
Brake levers: Profile Design ABS AL 

Cervelo P2 2014 Triathlon Bike Review