August 03, 2011

Cervelo P3 Review

My P3. That's not a gut - that's belly breathing!
This bike has been reviewed to death and all have found it to be a great bike. Google it and see what I mean. I also have to jump on the bandwagon as the bike did greatly improve my time trialling. Compared to a Soloist Carbon road bike with clip-ons, even with the handlebars lowered as low as possible it saves me minutes, not seconds, in a 40 km TT. And this is using the same wheels, same helmet and same set of legs. Every time I ride this bike I am impressed how much more speed it gives me for the same effort compared to the road bike.

Now this is definitely an aero frame, but most of these savings come from the body position benefits. I can get into a much more aero position and the bike still handles well. With the Soloist Carbon, if I lowered the handlebars too much, handling got pretty squirrely and I was never able to get my shoulders as low as I was capable of with my level of flexibility. With the P3, I can go as low as the old body can stand. By far, most of the benefits of the TT bike come from the body position you can achieve. You can read my 5 part series documenting my search for a TT bike starting here and see what I mean.

And here are a couple of my TT wattage stats for a bike built up with a cheap aluminum bullhorn and clip-ons, a HED Stinger 6 on the front, and a HED Stinger Disk on the back, TT helmet. I weigh about 155-160 depending on the day and am about 5 ft 11.

40 km TT - hilly out and back course, 58 min 27 secs, 244 watts average
20 km TT - flat out and back, 28 min 22 sec, 240 watts average

Both were in light wind conditions. So you see, you can crack 40 km/hr without massive power levels for the TT with a bike that gets you in the right position.