Cervelo (Cervélo) Caledonia Endurance Road Bike – Bike Review

Cervelo Caledonia

New Bike Day

New Bike Day, who doesn’t love New Bike Day

For me, it’s been six years since it’s been New Bike Day in the road bike department (and yes I am going to keep capitalizing New Bike Day ;).

As a kid, growing up on a farm, I didn’t have many New Bike Days. In fact, I only had one – with a brand new burgundy Schwinn 3-three speed. I put a lot of miles on it, even buying one of those mechanical gauge-type speedometers/odometers (which strangely enough you can still buy) when I could save up the money for it. I put over five thousand miles on it after getting the gauge and who knows how many before. It was a good bike I suppose, though at the time my friends all had 10-speeds so I had to develop some damn good leg muscles and maybe superior biking skills to keep up with them, not to mention stronger legs. At the time a 50-mile ride was a big deal for us kids but I did the occasional one, as well as biking nearly every single day when the weather was halfway decent. But until I became an adult and could afford my own new bikes – my bikes were all used bikes. Oh, those were the days, huh?

Back to more present times… After nearly 17,000 miles on my last bike – a Kona Esatto, and having replaced 95% of every replaceable part – I decided late last season (Covidian year 2021) to start thinking about a new bike, or at least moving in that direction. At the time, COVID was still raging and bikes were hard to find, and I didn’t want to be wandering around bike shops during COVID anyway. So it wasn’t exactly the best time to be looking for a bike. And with all of the replacement parts on my main road bike, it also wasn’t a pressing matter – though modern bike tech has advanced a good amount since the 2016 vintage in many areas, certainly. 

But life’s too short.

I put it off until Spring and sure enough, new bikes started trickling in here and there. I would have loved to support a truly LBS (Local Bike Shop) in Jefferson County, NY like ReCre’s Bike Studio and Black River Adventurers Shop – both excellent places to visit for bikes and parts. But I ended up going to Syracuse Bicycle about 60 miles south of me in the city of Syracuse, because they are a larger bike shop and had a huge inventory to choose from. I could spend all day there (and spend lots of money too).

I also want to mention Murdock’s Bicycle and Sports in Oswego, NY – at the time they didn’t have a lot of inventory either but they are also another really great place to visit for biking and sporting stuff.

Syracuse Bicycle had tons of bikes of all sorts, a huge assortment to choose from, giving me lots of options – exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.

I perused a bit, being greeted as I walked by the counter and then later by a salesman – neither one pressuring me nor bugging me until I was ready. Tyler, the salesman, took me through the various bikes they had after asking me some questions to get an idea of what I was looking for. He obviously is a very experienced cyclist and knowledgeable about the products that the shop sells, as well as biking the industry in general. He spent quite some time with me, as I like to take time to evaluate and make up my mind. I looked at everything I could within my price range, and maybe a bit above – everything from dedicated racing bikes to endurance bikes and even a couple of gravel bikes just for fun. But really, I needed a nicer endurance bike to replace my old one, something with more range and abilities and more modern features.

Cervelo Caledonia Endurance Road Bike

Cervelo Caledonia

I found the Cervélo Caledonia, 105 version, the perfect bike for what I was looking for. Not outside my budget, but with exactly the features I was looking for. I just went with the venerable workhorse of the 105.  I know that in the past people have had the opinion that Cervelo bikes were pricey but I found the price to be very comparable to other brands for the features, and in some cases, other brands were in fact pricier for the features available.

The Caledonia series has two different versions, and about ten sub-models to choose from with the various sizes available for most anyone.

The bike is a real ‘road bike’ – not a racer but not a laid-back somewhat more upright bike like my Kona Esatto was targeted as. It’s not super low aero but it’s not overly upright either.  The Caledonia is also a so-called ‘endurance’ road bike, similar to what my Kona was but much more targeted toward that place between an aggressive real road-bike design and multi-surface use. It’s made for speed and performance but with the ability to handle steep hills and long distances, yet with relative comfort and smoothness, and with the ability to transfer power efficiently every moment of a ride as well as when you really need it. 

Cervelo definitely designed this bike to be a mixture of the Cervelo R5 Road Bike and the Aspero Gravel Bike. I think the best description comes from Road.CC – “One thing that’s worth remembering, though, is that the Caledonia is still designed as a race bike – it’s just that the race in question is Paris-Roubaix.” Basically, it is an aero endurance bike, you might say (and I have heard it said 😉 I think that sums it up perfectly.

Quick Fitting, Bike Trainer Test, Cold Outdoor First Ride Test

Getting on this bike was interesting, they put the bike on a trainer (it was still pretty cold outside) and when I got on it, it was like getting on an already-fitted out bike.  It was very nearly a perfect fit for me, and it was super-comfortable sitting on it.  The frame geometry is spectacular and by far the most comfortable bike I have ever had.  By far.  And this was just from sitting on it on the trainer.

I can only guess that the size just happened to be a nearly perfect fit for me, just a quick adjustment to the seat and I took the bike, with little extra thought.

A quick ride around the Onondaga Lake Trail and some informal speed tests there (on a flat section roughly paralleling the Thruway where there are fewer people along the trail) and grinding it up the hill back there and the incline up to the new bridge – all quickly showed me how smoothly this bike performed, and how much power the carbon fiber frame transfers to the road, and how the expanded gearset was for climbing as well as speed. 

I feel as though with the aluminum bikes I had previously ridden had been causing me to lose a significant amount of power – probably just a matter of preference and opinion and perspective but even though the temperatures were terrible, and there was a bit of a cold wind blowing, and I was in a bit of a hurry – I still was flying effortlessly. 

Damn but I felt like some sort of hybrid of Merckx, and Froome, pre-drug Lance Armstrong; all rolled into one. If a bike can make you feel like that – well, it’s a great bike.  No doubt about it.

I know a lot of people prefer aluminum, steel, or titanium.  And some just don’t feel like the benefits of carbon are more than that of aluminum, say.

I’ve put a little over a thousand miles on this bike so far – riding by myself, riding with friends and acquaintances from our local biking groups and LBS Rides; including some who are much faster than I, doing hills, fighting winds, rocketing downhill, sprinting, and doing a little informal good-natured racing with biking buddies as well as the other end of the spectrum and riding slower with slower riders.

And the thing I can say for sure is that the carbon frame; the geometry and design, and the whole cohesiveness of the entire bike make biking even more enjoyable than it ever was for me, and faster.  And the carbon frame does an amazing job of absorbing any power I pump into it and giving it back as needed, flexing when I need it and firm when I need it other times. In fact, I now seem to be able to deliver more power than I did with my aluminum-framed bikes.  Maybe some of it is in my head, but my overall biking performance and improvement seem to continue with this bike.

Riding this bike I have to say I am a 100% believer in the value of a good well-designed carbon fiber frame with a proven geometry and a great overall melding of parts and design.

So on to some more about the bike.

The Frame

Two finger carryThe frame geometry is slightly different depending on which size frame you get, of course.  Mine as I said above feels perfectly suited to me.  It absorbs the road shocks but lets you also get a good feel for the road.  The frame itself is about 1031 grams, 2.27 pounds for the size 54 frame. With everything else (including the hydraulic disc brakes that add a bit of significance to the weight) the actual overall weight of the size 54 Caledonia is 8760 grams or 19 pounds 5 ounces.  It’s not heavy, but it’s not super light either. Even with a bike bag with tools inside; I can lift it easily with two fingers (see photo).

Cervelo says the frame is tuned to that of an Aspero gravel bike, and that they used lower modulus carbon in some parts of the frame to avoid the brittleness of high modulus carbon and improve durability. This paragraph somewhat is outside of my knowledge and experience so I am taking Cervelo’s word for it.

Overall size-wise the frame is your pretty standard kind of mid-ranged wheelbase – not too long and not compact – but with a nice long reach via slightly longer chainstays, and is the true and trusted Cervelo tube design. There are no fancy inserts or shock absorbers or disconnected this or that or whatever, just a good frame design.

Gearset, Bottom Bracket, Crankarm

On mine, the semi-compact groupset has 52/36 on the front and 11-34 on the back, which makes for great hill climbing (it’s kind of a ‘ride any hill’ type gearing, for sure) as well as a nice high-speed range when needed. 

It’s all very upgradable, as most bikes are nowadays but Cervelo makes it a little easier in some aspects – for example, the front derailleur can easily be removed for repair or upgrade but it also can be totally removed if you want to convert to 1X in the future, without leaving anything visible behind.

The low bottom bracket is a press-fit – some like, some don’t. The seat stays are low on the frame too, pretty nice for climbing especially. 

The 7000 series Shimano gearset is excellent; fast and responsive and very dependable. No surprise there, from a Shimano product. Crankarm is 172.5 mm for the size 54 version. 

A note here – the crankarm is close to the frame, real close for aero purposes I suppose, my Wahoo cadence sensor barely clears. Something to keep in mind for cadence sensors and crankarm power meters.

 

front brakes         Rear geareset


Brakes, Handlebar and Cockpit

The hydraulic disc brakes are super, being Shimano R7020 hydraulic disc brakes.  Again, no surprise at their quality. They stop fast when needed, but have perfect fine precision for everyday use. And their functioning is very fast and responsive.  I really can’t say enough about disc brakes in general, and these are no exception. Of course, you do have to use them properly, especially if coming from rim brakes. They’ll stop you on a dime. The Caledonia has no rim brake option for the model.

Front of bikeFor the bike cockpit (it makes me giggle a bit at calling anything on a bike a ‘cockpit’) all cables are fitted neatly and conventionally (something I was looking for specifically for long-term bike use in case of needing to replace any cables, sleeves, etc in the future myself), with external routing from handlebar to frame/fork and internal the rest of the way, pretty conventional.

The handlebar is nice and thick and beefy, really easy to grip at any position with the modern flat place on the top of the hoods. The handlebar is aluminum alloy, 31.8 mm standard size and 42 cm wide for the size 54.

The handlebar wrap pattern is nicely textured, kind of snakeskin I guess you would say. I have never been big on real textured handlebar wrap but it definitely adds some extra grip, whether with gloves or without, and certainly if there’s any moisture on the handlebars (rain, sweat, or errant water bottle droplets, etc). They have nice padding to them too, but not so much that you can’t get a tight grip. Tape is fitted tightly and well and doesn’t look like glorified electrical tape.

If you are thinking of getting clip-on aerobars you may have a hard time fitting them on without some cable re-rerouting, which seems to be typical of most road bikes at this time. I had aerobars on a bike a few rides back but I can’t say I particularly miss them.

Cervelo Integrated Mount System with GoProIf you like attaching a lot of stuff to your handlebars you may run into the same issues, with not a lot of extra space for brackets attached to the handlebars and clearance with the cables. Though a clip-on light and a light that uses elastic bands fit on it fine. And there are certainly plenty of other places to mount things.  And if you need to you can always attach an add-on handlebar mount holder.

Cervelo Integrated Mount System, Mounting Accessories, Cervelo Top Bar Mount, Etc

This brings me to the Cervelo integrated mount system for fenders, lights, computers, and such.  I can’t say anything about the rest of the system but the part that goes into the front of the stem where there is a little slot for it accepts the major types of bike computers, including a number of mounts, and ones for cameras and lights, etc and it seems to work well. It’s an ingenious system actually, requiring a quick disconnect of the stem from the handlebars to slide the little nub in and then a quick proper torque back on.  Then you can mount anything to this system.  In the pic here you can see my GoPro attached easily to it.  Like I said – it works well, and it also looks nice and integrated.

I didn’t use this system for my bike computer or light, I put my Garmin Edge 520 Plus on the standard Garmin quarter-turn mount on top of the stem and when I needed a front light I used a rubber loop to attach it to an empty place on the handlebars.  I said above there isn’t a whole lot of extra room, but plenty for a few things on either side of the stem where there is available space.

While I am mentioning accessory mounting systems; there are the standard water bottle mounts, a pair of them with an extra bolt position for the front water bottle mount. 
 
And also the top bar there is a mounting system for bags and such, I suppose an additional water bottle would fit there too though I think it’s really made for Cervelo-brand top bar bags (like this one) and stuff like that.

Mounting system - with coverMounting system - without cover.


I just put the little Cervelo cover over mine and don’t use the mounts up there, but I can see where it would be useful for long-distance rides, or if you didn’t like seat bags or wanted something else back there under the seat, or whatever. Unfortunately, my bike’s miscellaneous hardware baggy was missing that cover piece.  A quick message to Cervelo and they sent me out a couple – the bike shop is 60+ miles away from me so I didn’t want to make another trip down for an inexpensive piece of plastic. Just cosmetic for the most part; if you’re not using that mounting system. Thanks to Cervelo for the quick response and shipping.

The mounting system consists of two threaded mounting holes and the cover piece (for when you don’t have anything attached there, like me) is just a shiny piece of black plastic that covers it. I suppose, if I was being nitpicky – the outer edge of the plastic where it fits fairly snugly to the frame might be a little bit of a sweat catcher. No big deal though, it is tight after all and I haven’t noticed this happening (and you probably shouldn’t either if you keep your bike clean).  This piece (as you can see in the pic) looks almost like a design choice when the piece is in place, and it’s hard to tell that there is something under there or what it is. And who knows, maybe I’ll try one of the real Cervelo top bar bags for long-distance traveling – though I already have a couple of more conventional strap-on bike bags for various places on the bike.

Of note here in the Cervelo accessory department is hidden fender mounts. If you’re not using fenders, no one knows there are mounting systems available for them.  I have not tried this feature.

Seat post and Stock Saddle

20220623_154341The seat post is standard 27.2 mm and I have got to say – the Cervelo Road Saddle is pretty excellent, with a short nose and tapering edges, it is a kind of clone of some other popular models that I will leave unnamed. I never thought that I wouldn’t just throw on one of my nice replacement saddles when getting a new bike but here I am a thousand miles of riding and still happy with the stock saddle. Kind of amazing. The saddle is an ergonomic-style and is only slightly wider than my optimal sit-bone width. Maybe I’ll switch it out someday but for now, I am happy to keep this excellent stock saddle on the bike.  Who knew?

Tires, Wheels

The wheels are Alexrims Boondocks-5D with 28 spokes front and rear, and the rims are tubeless-ready.  Front is a 12×100 mm thru-axle and rear is a 12×142 mm thru-axle.  They are nice-looking wheels, with a nice little aero curve to the inner rim.

The tires that came on mine are regular clincher-style Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Graphene V G2.0, which has two layers of puncture protection, with the tire being marketed as a very durable road tire for all conditions. Size is 30mm width, weight is middle-range – not a real light tire but not a heavy one either. They are fast and pretty smooth-riding, and in my experience work well with a good range of air pressures, depending on what you are looking to do or ride on. The tires I suppose could be smoother on big bumps, but that’s just a bit nitpicky and something I barely notice. And there can be some pretty rough roads around here. Of course, wheels and tires are easily upgraded and replaced – maybe one of the first things you might want to do with this bike is replace the wheels if you really, really need to squeeze some more performance out. Not me though, as I am quite happy with the wheels so far, and tires too 😉

20220623_154352The frame and fork can accommodate up to 34mm tires or 31 with fenders. 

 

 

 

 

 


Finishing Up and Conclusion

On a side note, before I finish this up – I’ve had a few people ask about the accessories seen or mentioned on the bike in this review (ideally, I suppose, I would have photographed the bike without any accessories).  So here ya go – Garmin Edge 520 Plus, Cycliq Fly Rear light/camera, BV Seat Bag, Wahoo cadence sensor, GoPro Hero 5 Session, front light, el cheaparino water bottle holders and Polar Insulated Water Bottles.

Did I forget anything in this review?  Probably, and I will add to this post as I gain more experience with this bike and maybe think of things to add to this post.

So, to wrap this up – it’s a great general-purpose bike in my humble opinion, whether you need hill-climbing, multi-surface ability, or just to race your buddies (or others). 

And it’s a beautiful bike – wax her up and you’ll be getting compliments for sure.

You will absolutely not be unhappy with this bike.  Get it, ride it, enjoy it. Cervélo Caledonia

Cervelo Caledonia

Marc M

I am a web developer and fitness geek, but I have a heck of a lot of differing interests.  Biking, the Internet, technology, movies, fitness, running and walking and hiking, science fiction, photography, graphics, WordPress, flying and aircrafts, pets and animals, history, and much more.  I like to stay very fit but I don’t mind sitting at my computer for work and play either.  I live in upstate New York (that’s far from New York City) in a rural area, yet close to a small city, with my beautiful awesome wife, a bunch of beloved cats and dogs and chickens in a very old multi-century house.

3 Comments:

  1. Beautiful bike! Just pulled the trigger on the same one, same color, size and group set. Excited to get it in a couple weeks. I’m kind of reconsidering the color though, since the oasis looks beautiful too. I hesitate though, because I don’t know if I’ll appreciate it in the long term vs the black. Great article, and happy riding!

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