In search of.........the Unicorn Bike

I beseech the collective wisdom of the Forum. My lady friend (51, very fit) bought a Cervelo Caledonia. The fit is really good for her, which was a difficult task given some issues she has. However…she feels it’s too heavy and slowing her down. She wants: light, aero… and comfortable. The caveat to all this is that she has a neurological condition that has had her in varying levels of pain 24/7 for the last 30 years. How she bears this and still hammers away on the bike is a complete mystery to me. She’s like the female version of the classic Belgian Hard Man of the Classics. Vibration is her worst enemy. I think she’d last about 20 minutes on an aluminum frame. So we are on a quest for the perfect steed. She has narrowed her choices to:
Cervelo S5
Cervelo R5
Factor Ostrom VAM
Cannondale Super6 Evo
(maybe) Specialized Tarmac
We’re trying to find local dealers in Austin where she can do extended test rides, and fortunately, she’s in no rush. But from anyone’s experience with the above models, which would offer the best combination of light, aero AND comfortable?

hmmm these are always hard to answer, also her goals would help - racing, fast group rides, Fondos, hammer rides with friends, solo training, light gravel?

based on your description the Caledonia would be my answer - what did she switch from makes her feel its slowing her down? Could tire size/width? Longer wheelbase? Be confused for overall weight? Did she switch from a older rim brake lightweight bike?

R5 is generally lightest, Caledonia is in the middle, S5 is the heaviest

R5 and Caledonia have the same stack and reach - however the wheelbase on the Caledonia is longer. The Caledonia 5 has a D shaped seatpost and generally integrated cables - the Caledonia can accommodate wider tires that nerf vibration. I think the Caledonia is the do it all Cervelo! The R5 would be a bit more race feel (twitcher and a bit lighter) can accommodate 34’s now. The S5 has a much shorter headtube - shorter stack. The S5’s layup makes it feel stiffer than the R5/Caledonia IMHO - is limited to 28 max tires.

Edit - I forgot the new Cervelo Soloist - haven’t ridden that yet either but would consider if wanting a more race feel.

Factor Ostrom Vam - never ridden
Canondale Super6 Evo - never ridden

Tarmac 7 is widely accepted as an all rounder - never ridden - until recently no stock locally (also still cold spring)

I think riding them is a good idea, you can see the weight stats online - there isn’t a lot to had there, most of the newer bikes are similar in weight unless you got top tier.

I’m in Hays county where the roads are anything but smooth. Going from an old Trek 5500 with 23mm tires at 100lbs pressure to a Tarmac with 28mm tires at 75 lbs pressure as taken a lot of vibration out of my rides.
Since Trek has purchased almost every bike shop in the Austin area it’s going to be hard to find a Specialized demo ride.

True statement. Do you ever ride 1626? I’ve thought about it since all the construction ended. Might not be a bad Sunday am ride. But mostly I do SW Pkwy-71-Bee Cave-360. Agree about Trek.

Prior to the Caledonia she was on a custom steel frame, but the fitter didn’t take her neurological condition into consideration and it aggravated her symptoms. Her Caledonia is pretty hefty. We considered investing in super light wheelset and a few other light components. Still open to that. She’s considering a half distance triathlon (tried some tri/TT bikes and that position is not good for her)

What about the Specialized Roubaix? I know some folks who swear by this setup as their one bike to rule them all. It’s light, made to absorb shock, and set up to be fast.

Roubaix Expert |

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It’s an endurance geometry unless you get the team edition which they don’t have anymore (maybe when the next version comes out?)

she’s not opposed to used, so that may be an option. good call, thanks!

If the fit is good on the Caledonia, and weight is a concern, maybe it’s worth swapping some components to save some grams/oz? Are you sure the weight is the main issue?

Based on a few reviews, I’m guessing the the Soloist is roughly 8kg/17.6 lbs? A new Supersix with Sram Red is 7.32 kg/16.1 lbs in a 56cm for like $13k+ That’s a lot of money to save a pound and a half.

@Jhardisk suggested a Roubaix (I have one and love it) but it’ll be heavier than the Soloist unless you go S-Works and light components. It is fantastically comfortable though. I forget the exact weight, but my Expert with 11 speed Di2, Bontrager 51mm Aeolus wheels, saddle, computer mount but no pedals is ~8.6 kg/19 lbs for a 61cm.

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Shock absorber stem and seat post can be used with a bike to smooth out the ride.

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yep. I have their seatpost on my gravel bike. it’s almost like being on a mountain bike

Considered a Domane with tubeless 32s?

ah, the Trek dilemma. Couple of shops in town w/ Treks - one owned by a former well known pro rider (don’t really care for that shop for obvious reasons), the other came in and bought out a beloved LBS that had served Austin for decades. we’re a little bitter towards the brand, but I might convince her to try one

Definitely can understand that. If she can get over it, it’s as smooth as my Ti road bike but so much better for power transfer….

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I’m in Wimberley. My rides are mainly Mt Sharp up to Dripping. Maybe out to Fischer Or Canyon Lake
Trek Century on Strava if you want to see my rides

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My Syntace P6 seatpost removed a lot of chip seal road vibration but there are others that flex even more. Maybe she’ll need a specific d-shaped seatpost though.

I also finally moved to latex tubes and they mitigate vibration, too.

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I can’t speak to any of the bikes you mention but Titanium is often your friend in looking for a smooth, damp ride. They’re not usually aero but there might be something out there.

You might want to look at this bike, about to be released: Wilier Gran Tourismo SLR. to paraphrase a review: If you think you want a really aggressive race frame, but, know you absolutely shouldn’t, this is the bike for you. Light, aero, fast racy endurance comfort. I’ve already ordered mine, Has a new elastomer configuration on frame at the junction of seat stays and the top tube. I haven’t gotten mine, but take a look at this review: Wilier unveils Granturismo SLR racing bike for 'utmost performance and comfort' |


If you’re looking at a Tarmac, why not Aethos?

I have a Roubaix and a Sworks Aethos. I’d rather ride the Aethos over rough stuff. I love my Roubaix but the Aethos just diminishes the road chatter in a way that I don’t comprehend.


We’ll add Aethos and Willier GT to the list. Thanks! We did try a couple of Ti frames and for whatever reason they didn’t suit her. She’s very difficult :rofl:

Giant TCR Advanced SL ?