By Stefan Abram
As we move into the final portion of the year, so begins the rush to release their 2022 models.
For Tech of the Month, we've picked out the new Cervélo R5 – which has already won a Grand Tour – Trek's new Checkpoint SLR gravel bike and Merida's elision of lightweight and aero in its fifth generation of the Scultura.
But Orbea's new Orca Aero, Stock's superlight Aernario.3 Signature Disc and either of BMC's recent updates, the Roadmachine-X for 'light-gravel' or the URS for gnarlier riding, would all have been worthy choices too.
But before we dig into that, we just wanted to let you know we’ve partnered with Garmin to give away a Tacx Flux 2 Smart Trainer, worth $899.99 / £699. Fully compatible with Zwift and other indoor trainer platforms, it can simulate gradients of up to 16 per cent and its power reads are accurate to ±2.5 per cent.
To be entered into the random prize draw, simply click this link or fill in the form below. We’ll get in contact with the lucky winner by the end of this month. If you don’t end up being the lucky one – don’t worry, we’ll be running it again next month.
Cervélo’s new R5 has been a long time coming. It was first spotted at La Flèche Wallonne back in April and was the bike Primož Roglič held in the air after winning his third Vuelta.
This latest iteration sees a sizeable 130g lopped off the frame, bringing the weight down to a claimed 703g in a size 56cm (painted). There have been some aero touches to the fork crown and down tube, along with the inclusion of an integrated cockpit, which are responsible for making the bike a little slipperier through the wind.
After pro and consumer feedback, this latest R5 is now less stiff than before – palpably so, just leaning your arm on the saddle, you can really see the seat post flexing.
Trek Checkpoint SLR
Trek’s refresh to its Checkpoint gravel line has involved updates to its current carbon and aluminium offerings (the Checkpoint SL and Checkpoint ALR, respectively), but also a new race-focused SLR model has been launched.
One of the main differences between the SLR and the SL is the weight, with the SLR weighing in at a claimed 8.1kg in its top spec SLR 9 eTap model (although this does cost $11,999.99/€11,999/£11,000).
In terms of the geometry and tyre clearances, everything is actually kept the same throughout the range. The chainstays have been lengthened by 10mm to 435mm, while the top tube has had 20mm added to facilitate the use of shorter stems. Clerance stands at 45mm in 700c and 2.1 inches in 650b.
Those who are into the sub culture of singlespeed will be sad to see the Stranglehold dropouts go, and with it one of the cleanest 1x1 setups from a mainstream brand.
For the full details on all the bikes, you can find our launch story here.
Merida’s fifth generation of its Scultura climbing bike sees a similar range of updates to Cervélo’s new R5. There have been weight savings, although a little more modest, with 38g shaved off the frame and a claimed weight of 822g in size medium.
Tubing tweaks and an integrated cockpit have also been added, which Merida claims save 10 watts over the previous Scultura at 45kph. Vertical compliance has also been improved, with the vertical stiffness from the bottom bracket to the saddle being reduced from 111 newtons per millimetre of deflection to under 80 N/mm – although this hasn’t resulted in such an obvious flex as in the R5.
Nonetheless, even in the team build of Bahrain Victorious with full Dura-Ace and integrated power meter, the price comes to £7,750 – still expensive, but significantly cheaper than many other WorldTour bikes which easily sail above £10,000.
For more information, you can find our launch story of the Merida Scultura over here.
That's all for this month, see you next time!
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.