Along with getting a new power meter, I also purchased a new road bike. One of the benefits of a surgically reshaped hip socket is gaining a whole heck of a lot more mobility. My trusty CR1 never really did fit right and it became more evident as I increased the miles and training after my surgery. I posted the CR1 for sale and quickly found an eager buyer.
I walked into Freshbikes with a few bikes in mind. A bunch of my Squadra Coppi teammates had the Cannondale CAAD10, an aluminum-framed criterium killer that was priced right. A couple Cervelo’s had interested me as well, the R3 and the S5. And of course the Wilier Imperiale has been a long favorite of mine.
I had ridden the Wilier before and liked it, but my biggest worry was the fixed seat mast. As I continue to adapt to my newly shaped hip, there is a likelihood that my bike fit could change. A fixed seat post doesn’t make it easy to do that. Another worry was the stock Imperiale is spec’ed with Shimano bits and I prefer SRAM. A custom-build might be pricey. The Wilier was out.
Getting a good deal for the sake of getting a good deal wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted the RIGHT deal on the RIGHT bike. I ruled out the CAAD10, it just didn’t feel right for me.
I test rode the S5 one warm afternoon and knew right away that this was the bike for me. It felt smooth, fast and responsive. It felt RIGHT. I didn’t even bother to ride the R3. Freshbikes hooked me up with a great deal, and made it even better when I was able to swap out a couple parts I didn’t want. They installed my Power2Max and I was ready to ride.
I’ve had the S5 for two months now. I’ve gotten to know it pretty well. It’s an amazing machine! It is without a doubt the fastest, best handling bike I’ve ever ridden. When you stomp on the pedals, the bike GOES. The bottom bracket and chain stays are thick and stiff and when you combine that with the Rotor 3D+ cranks you get a responsive, powerful drivetrain. There is nothing like that “whoosh” sound of rubber turning over faster and faster as you ramp up the wattage on the pedals. Out of the saddle sprints are stable and fast, the bike never feels loopy or out of control. When the road points up, the bike handles just fine. A slight shift of the weight rearwards and the rear wheel digs in and climbs great.
What may be surprising to some is the handling of the S5. This bike is smooth and stable in the corners. It handles like a rocket sled on rails. I point it on a line and it stays on that line. And not just, “oh, I’ll take the outside line.” It’s more like “I’ll take the line 6 inches away from the outside edge of the pavement and stay there.” Taking corners on this bike is almost like carving turns on a freshly-tuned snowboard. And that’s on the stock Fulcrum clinchers. It’ll be interesting to see how it handles on carbon tubulars.
If there is a flaw to be found, it’s when the road gets really rough. I’m guessing it’s a result of the straight fork, but the front end gets a little choppy over rough pavement. It’s nothing I can’t handle, and it’s not too big a deal, I just want to give as full a report on the bike that I can. It’s probably not the most ideal bike for Paris-Roubaix, but for the roads I ride this bike is just fine.
Some people aren’t too keen on the bike’s lines. Personally, I love it. I nicknamed the bike “New Hotness.”