Cervélo has launched a new tier of bikes to its Áspero gravel range, adding the familiar '5' that denotes its premium bikes. The Áspero-5 is reportedly lighter and faster than its previous generation, with a newly designed internal cable routing system.
The arrival of a new Áspero may be music to the ears of those keen to buy a gravel bike but simply unable to find stock in the current Covid-impacted climate.
However, carrying the magic number 5 as they do, these aren’t entry level models by any stretch of the imagination – Cervélo Áspero-5 models start at £8,100 with SRAM Force eTap AXS; GRX Di2 builds come in at £8,699 with SRAM Red eTap AXS at £10,799. However, the previous Aspero range still remains available.
Cervélo says the latest iteration has had 10 per cent of its weight shaved from the frameset. Unfortunately, it doesn't list actual frame weights - so to verify this, we'll need to strip the new Áspero-5 frame we have to test, then find an older Áspero frame to compare it to. That second part of the equation may not be possible, but watch this space.
As per the previous models, mechanical shifting cables (where relevant) run into a routing system in the down tube – with guides for 1x, 2x and a dropper seatpost. In this latest iteration, Di2 cables and hydraulic brake cables are hidden in a channel under the handlebar, they enter the frame via a c-shaped steerer design which is new for this model although did feature on the Cervélo Caledonia. The brand has used split spacers allowing easy reshuffling should you choose to adjust your position.
Cervélo says it has kept mechanical cables partially external for ease of maintenance, but in the UK there won't be frame only options, and all builds feature electronic shifting which the brand says maximises "the cleanliness and functionality of the integrated system to best suit performance gravel riding."
The Áspero-5 comes with recessed top tube storage mounts and will ship with a top tube bag, plus integrated frame protection at the down tube and bottom bracket shell to guard the carbon from knocks.
The definition of gravel riding varies dramatically depending upon who you ask – and, as a result, different riders will want to run different specs. The Áspero caters for those keen to run either 1x or 2x shifting systems, with a removable front derailleur mount.
The brand also promises that the TrailMix fork inserts, which can be use to adjust position 5mm fore/aft, mean that handling is identical regardless if you run a 700c or 650b wheel. Speaking of which, there's space for 45mm tyres on a 700c wheel or 2in on a 650b.
The front end comprises an aluminium stem, which is available in lengths from 70mm to 130mm. This is flippable for a positive or negative rise, with accessory mounts available. This is paired with a new carbon gravel handlebar, which offers a 16° flare with a 4° sweep and is available from sizes 48cm to 44cm. The profile of this has been optimised for improved aerodynamics. The cables do not route internally in the bar, but in channels underneath.
Cervélo has chosen to spec these bikes with power meters fitted – either a SRAM Red eTap AXS, SRAM Force eTap AXS, and Shimano GRX 810 4iiii power meter depending upon the spec. It has also dressed them up with Reserve 32mm rims, with a 24mm internal width and DT Swiss hubs. All of the bikes come wearing Panaracer Gravel King SK tyres, in 38c.
- Cervélo Áspero-5 Red eTap AXS £10,799
- Cervélo Áspero-5 GRX Di2 £8,699
- Cervélo Áspero-5 Force eTap AXS 1x £8,199
- Cervélo Áspero Force eTap AXS 1x £6,049
- Cervélo Áspero GRX RX815 Di2 £6,049
- Cervélo Áspero GRX810 £4,900
- Cervélo Áspero GRX810 1x £4,219
- Cervélo Áspero Apex 1 £3,190
- Cervélo Áspero GRX RX600 £3,190
- Cervélo Áspero Frameset £2,500
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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