Cervelo P4 gear reviews

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date: June 30, 2010
review by: Meulen

First ride report Cervelo P4

It's a bit windy tonight, but not too bad. I decided to take the P4 for it's first training ride. Up till now it's only gone down the block and back for test rides. So I mapped out a 23 mile out and back route that I could use as a time trial. I've done a similar ride in similar conditions with my road bike to compare this too.
I headed out through the neighborhood to get warmed up. Right away I noticed the wind was too my back. This usual means that when I leave the neighborhood the majority of my ride will be against the wind. No matter, I wanted to ride this thing in a bad way.
This thing looks fast standing still. The P4 has a long history in TT and the design and aerodynamics are tried and trued. I really had no idea what this meant as I have never ridden a TT bike in my life. All I can say is, if it looked fast standing still, it sure didn't disappoint when I started rolling.
After I left the neighborhood and headed down some long stretches of frontage road I immediately felt the aero qualities of the bike. It cut through the wind like butter. Into the head wind and down this same road with my road bike (Fuji Bordaeux Pro Series) and I suspect I would be doing 17-18mph avg. With the P4 I was pulling 20+mph avg down this stretch.
It was also obvious to me how plush and stiff the frame was. I could feel a huge difference from my road bike in the way the power I was putting to the pedals was transfered to the road. The frame was stiff and the cranks definitely transfered the power to road in a way I have never felt. I suspect some of this was due to the incredible job David over at Endure it, in Naperville Illinois, fit me to the bike. I just felt that I was able to spin the crank powerfully for longer periods of time and be comfortable with the bike to boot. A far cry from my road bike.
If I have one complaint it would be the crosswinds. Although, I suspect all aero bikes feel like a sail in a crosswind, this was my first experience with that. I'm sure I'll get used to it. The trade offs seem to favor the positive aspects of the bike being so aero and fast, even in the headwinds. I'm not even sure I would call this a negative. Rather, maybe, a necessary evil. The bike also didn't feel like it climbed well. I'm not sure many TT bikes actually do but it seemed exceptionally challenged to me. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not used to the bike and gear selection on it, or it actually just doesn't climb well, but I seemed to come to a halt on the hills.
After fighting the wind for a while I did a short loop near the end of my "out". It was time to head back, and I couldn't wait to open this thing up and see what it would do. It did NOT disappoint!! There was some flat sections that seemed like 30mph was effortless to achieve! I couldn't believe it. Everytime I dropped a gear I was able to pick up the cadence and hold it with ease. I never dreamed an incredible bike and a proper bike fit would make this much of a difference.
Overall, this was money well spent!! For the Time trial I averaged 21.4mph for 23.05 miles. To compare that to my road bike, I would avergage a little over 18mph on the same route in similar conditions. To be fair though, my road bike was never professionally fit to me. Even still, I can't believe I was able to pull that average tonight. I'm looking forward to many more rides on this incredible machine!!

Special thanks to David at Endure it for fitting me, and to Eric for working with the Cervelo peeps and making this happen for me. The P4 has been an illusive bike to attain this year and these guys got it done, and got it done right!

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