Cervelo P3

"The P3, the flagship of the Cervelo fleet, best exemplifies the extensive engineering required to create a lightweight yet unyieldingly strong and fast bicycle." 

Triathlete Magazine, November 2000


It's certainly one of the most eye-catching frames on the road. Add the

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The P3 frame is produced from Cervelo's very own custom "Smartwall" tubeset on the premise that aluminum is the only material that will allow them to exact such narrow and aerodynamic shaped tubing. The shape of the P3 tubeset is a result of precise specs provided by the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics. In order to meet such tight tolerances, Cervelo found it impossible for the P3 to combine aerodynamics and strength adequately without having the aluminum extruded; the alternative of reshaping round tubes of aluminum to meet the same specifications would result in a much weaker and far less effective design. The extrusion costs more, but places a valuable priority on safety and frame longevity. 

The most eye-catching aspect of the P3 is a seat tube that matches identically with the curvature of the rear wheel. The curvature is perfectly cut with tight tolerances to also match the width of the rear tire at every possible point. And the form has function; the design helps shadow turbulent airflow in the upper half of the rear wheel, and the high torsional strength of the bottom bracket is largely due to the short chainstay length achieved by the seat tube's curvature. This gives the P3 an extremely tight triangle for superb power transfer to the rear wheel. Horizontal dropouts allow for variable wheel clearance with the seat tube. 

The P3 frame includes a custom designed detachable aero seatpost. The change from an older integrated frame-and-post design makes the bike much easier to pack and travel. In addition, the saddle clamp can be removed and rotated 180 degrees to move the clamp forward creating the effect of a steeper seat tube angle. As such, the angle can range from 74 to 79 degrees. The frame's seat tube has been thinned to 23mm wide from 25mm, providing better aerodynamics. At first glance you may think that Cervelo designed the P3 with an extremely long, non-proportioned top tube. In fact, the top tube is lowered to maintain a tight, stiff triangle and the P3 geometry achieves a top tube parallel to actual frame size. 

The P3 is offered in several size arrangements depending on the desired seat angle and wheel dimensions. The preference for 650c wheels is offered in frame sizes 48, 51, 54, and 57cm, while the 700c version comes in 55, 58, and 61cm. Once available solely in black, the frame color options are limitless now, with eye catching lime and yellow holding popular spots on the palette. The more subdued anodized black finish gives the P3 a stealth fighter appearance.

The Cervelo P3 is sold separately as a frame, fork , and seatpost package and weighs 2.95 pounds. The retail price of this package with a Profile BDC carbon fork is $1,999. However, the P3 we tested was supplied with a Shimano Dura Ace component group and a $1,200. Corima wheelset, which brought the cost up to $3,999. 

In years past, Cervelo bikes have been seen in competition world over, but only in small handfuls. Expect that to change; the world's best, including Ironman distance specialists Lothar Leder of Germany and Kiwi Bryan Rhodes, as well as Olympic team alternative Victor Plata, have put their faith in Cervelo's aerodynamic research. Their goal of combining aerodynamics, sheer strength and unique styling has now achieved global recognition. 

The P3, the flagship of the Cervelo fleet, best exemplifies the extensive engineering required to create a lightweight yet unyieldingly strong and fast bicycle. 



This page was last edited on 03/07/2017