TT/Tri Rig: Newer Cervelo P Series or Trek SC

I’ve been eyeing a tribike for a while and was wondering if anyone has ridden the P series bike and the Trek SC. I am torn on what to get and have seen decent deals on the SC online (used) with good aero wheels. Yes, I know the SC is rim brake and the P-series is disc. I have a disc road bike and like it.

My goal is to be fast and efficient. The trek is sleek and sexy. I’ve seen these go from 2500 to 4k including race wheels.

The 105 P series starts at a nice 3200, but finding one (2021 version of all black) seems challenging. Plus, it has mechanical disc brakes. Is that something worth upgrading?

Hoping riders who already have the P-Series can respond and share their ride reports with me and maybe someone who had or has the SC and ridden the P-series too.


I had a SC and went to a P5x. Slightly more of an upgrade but i do all my own wrenching and can chime in here.

FWIW IMO the P5x (and to extension, the P series) bikes are way easier to work on compared to the SC. The brakes on the SC and the front end of the SC was an absolute PITA to work on. The P series bikes I have seen are very well designed and IMO easier to work on than many super bikes due to the lack of integration, as you can mess around with cables without messing with the entire bike. If you plan to go mechanical on both, do not get the SC; the adjustability is 100x harder to deal with and IMO the SC really is meant for Di2. If you plan to adjust anything on it, you will have to pull everything apart.

Upgrading from mechanical to hydro is not hard, you can always get the upgrade later. IMO the p series is a braindead decision if you can afford it. HOWEVER I will not deny that the SC is an absolute rocket and if you are only concerned about speed, IMO the stock SC would likely outclass the P series. Value-wise, the stock SC would also win all things considered. For my personal opinion, I would take the P series over the SC if you are doing your own mech work and you can mod the P series with a front hydration and faring to get it into a P5d, look online. Its really slick.

Thats my 2c

Thanks. I have been looking online, and am kinda stuck. The closest cervelo store to me is not able to get any bikes in until June (at best). I will have to go online for a cervelo if I choose to go that route. I agree, it does look easier to wrench, and I would also like to start doing my own things.

What kind of BB does the cervelo use? Is it threaded? I know there are/were concerns with the BB for the SC.

Any idea what type of difference there would be in a 40k TT between the two bikes? Assumming the same tires, pressure and wheels rim vs. disc.

Assuming you have done a bike fit you can buy based on fit. I would not necessary narrow your selection to 2 brands only, but both brands are great. If you want to use a shop, you might have to weigh your decision based on what you can find locally, along with support etc.

I believe cervelo is BBRight. I believe its a variant of pressfit that uses cups instead of direct frame mounting. IMO there should not be too much concern with the BB per se, there is always going to be potential issues with tolerances but Trek has a oversized BB if you need it. If you get it used it may be something to consider, but OTOH if you get it from a shop it will be warrantied. You are never going to find a perfect bike, there is always something weird that you will not like. All modern bikes are pretty good, you need to know the specific details for why you would want one bike over the other and in that case, only you can figure that out.

Difference between the 2? Like 5-6 seconds? Lol frame selection is the least important thing. Sex factor is a big factor for me. Stock SC with a long low good dialed position hits around the previous P5. A P series has not been tested but i personally think with a faring and an equilivent wheel selection there is no reason it should not stack very close to a P5d or the SC. We are talking seconds over 100k likely.


Thanks. I LOVE the look of the SC but wonder if I should just get the P for the disc set up. I sometimes put myself into paralysis by analysis. Maybe I should buy both and sell the one I don’t like! :slight_smile:

If you already own a disc road bike, it makes no sense to go rim if you want to share wheels. You can literally get a frame and components and just swap wheels between the 2 bikes, thats what I do.

Lots of nice TT bikes out there for different price points. Again, theres no reason to alienate brands unless you either cannot fit them, you do not like the look or you don’t like something specific about the bike.

Buy the bike you love to look at and that makes you want to ride. That will make you 1000x faster than having a marginally marginally faster frame.

I don’t disagree at all. This whole disc rim thing is annoying. I wish specialized would drop their prices on their TT bikes or that trek would add discs to their SC.

How do you feel the P5 handles?

Spending $5.5k on a frame makes my soul hurt.

Never riden the P5 but the P5x is amazing, it is rides like a tank, which is how a Tri bike IMO should ride. my SC was slightly more twitchy, but still handles very well. I hear the P5d handles very nicely too, more road bike feeling.

TBH I am not too picky as I love to ride indoors a lot, but I also do a lot of long rides outdoors. The beam design is very nice for compliance and comfort. I also own a very nice road bike that I plan to do a lot with this year. I have yet to try the P5d or P series myself but I think they would handle great and im sure I could rock top bike splits with either as long as I get the same fit.

I very deeply agree with the general perspective that @Achin is writing. Don’t just want to retype everything, but:

If you are genuinely at the level where just a few seconds over a half or full makes a real difference to your race outcomes, then work with an independant fitter and pick the most aerodynamic frame that fits your body. If not, then things like paint, ease of assembly and disassembly, easy of wrenching, quality of braking, frame geometry and how that affects handling, and availability of spare parts to be far more meaningful in your day to day ownership of the bike.

Agree. Dave Scott and Mark Allen were pullling ~9hr times on frames like this:

Are modern frames faster? Undoubtedly. Obviously (But even then, that’s mostly due to to the position, not the frame.) . But I don’t agree with this idea that we all need $5k superbikes as a barrier to entry.

I agree with everything you are saying. I won’t be spending 5k on a superbike. That’s why I am looking at a used SC or a lower tier cervelo. I love the look of the SC, and really like the look of the P-Series. I like the all black look. That’s what I am considering.

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Part of my frustration comes from how fragmented the ‘TT’ market has become. Bikes for Ironman are way more common and determining if a bike is even UCI legal is a pain in the ass. For what reason? So that people can’t get into the ‘superman’ position? So that tall people are miserable on a TT bike?

Maybe I’m just bitter that the UCI has constructed a situation where TT bikes have become a <1000 unit per year specialty item making them needlessly expensive. Even Giant frames are $3500. Trek hasn’t bothered updating their TT frame in almost 8 years. At least Cervelo has the P-Series which lets you get in the right position legally for less than $4k.

There are rumors that UCI is changing their bike regs and working with manufacturers so that they can homologate their tri bikes for TT would be a huge win. Let’s be honest though, I’m going to bitch and moan then spend the stupid amounts of money to get a competitive setup.


I think you picked the two fastest frames out there to agonize over. I own the SC and love it. I’ve had it 5 years and don’t think twice about rim brakes. I’ve combined rim brakes with the hed jet black wheels and it looks and performs awesome. As far as the front end on the SC, it’s not that big of a deal. I pulled everything and ran di2 myself and put it all back together. It only needs to be taken apart for big things, incremental adjustments of fit are easy. Plus traveling with that bike only requires undoing the front brake and the 3 bolts underneath the base bar and laying then base bar sideways. Love my SC

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Duno if you can say that. I think the fastest frames are basically P5x/P3x/Px and P5d. SC was tested marginally slower than the previous P5, which beat out basically everything years ago. I would hazard a guess that the new Scott and shiv might be pretty close to the top as well. Theres lots of data out there.

Of course this is marginal gains. But for sure the SC isnt the fastest out there, neither is the P series. But you could 100% win Kona and big races on both bikes, I mean Tim O got 2nd it in Kona on it. Modern bikes are so close together its pretty much a wash.

And I agree, the SC is a nice bike to work on, but now that I have the luxury of the Cervelo, there is no comparison on how easy this thing is to work on. The bolt mechanism on the front end of the SC was something I never liked. Otherwise the bike was awesome and I would be riding it still if I did not get a crazy deal on my current rocket.

You cannot beat the value of the SC. I bought mine mech and built it into a super bike for like half the cost of a modern super bike, and I am sure my bike was one of the fastest in T1 (other than not having a disc wheel)

Which one did you go for? Im currently looking at the same options

Well…I bought a Trek SC and am trying to talk my wife into letting me get the P-Series also to try. Then sell the one I don’t want. Kind of sad I guess on my part (Major 1st world issue). If I keep the Trek, I’d like to consider upgrading to di2 and maybe better wheels (I have Flo 30s on it).

Confession-For some reason, I sometimes get into these weird transe like moods and feel that “x” is what I need (it really only seems to happen with biking stuff-seriously). I bought the SC (used), like it and got a pretty decent deal-wish it was less. But I also want to check the ride out on a P-series but I can’t, because they aren’t in stock around me (last I checked). So, I would have to buy online and set it up, and then ride it. I like the disc brake option, but LOVE the look of the SC. My wife has basically expressed concern (rightly so) about my dumping way too much on bikes just because. She ALWAYS has been supportive of me and my purchases, but she put the brakes on this one (haha).

So, right now I have been able to relax my crazy brain and let it settle and I’ve become more excited about the trek. I figure if Trek or Specialized ever put out something new with disc or drop their prices, I would want to get one of those. Plus, I haven’t done any tris in 4 or 5 years. I need to remind myself that it’s a hobby, and I am grateful for the enjoyment I have still in working out and the SC is an amazing bike.
Sometimes I find that I can get shallow, and want what is best for ME and not see the bigger picture. Hope that makes sense…

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Fair enough, i think we all fall into this trap with a sport like cycling because it can be such a big financial commitment.

I decided on the P series because there are offers here. Now I’m deciding weather it’s worth just getting di2 now so i dont think about it later.

I am like you and will likely buy this and then think about the next upgrade :sweat_smile:

That was what I was going to do. Buy it at the base level and upgrade to Di2 at some point, likely the basebar

I did this. Bought the SC mech and upgraded it to Di2, plug in bar etc. and I got it into an absolute rocket. I think all in I was like 5k for the bike, 1.2k for the Di2 and the wheels were… fancy, but maybe like 2k (all CAD)? I also did various upgrades and spent a ton on the bike, but i mean all things considered I got it into a legit super bike for around 9k CAD, and thats not counting the mechanical R8000 that wen tot the road bike and the wheels that went there as well. Note that I sold the road bike with all the components, and also sold the SC later, so net-net I actually basically didn’t lose any money (maybe 1k or so) by the end. Of course I upgraded, so the money is still sunk in the new bike.

You can get a top end race bike for under 8k CAD after you sell the wheels for like $600 and the components for like 300. Other than the rim issue, you are not going to find another faster bike for that price Di2 suped up.

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