2023 Cervelo R5 vs S5 vs Caledonia 5 vs Soloist

The current Cervelo lineup, featuring the R5, S5, Soloist, and Caledonia 5 offers a blend of innovation, performance, and style. In this article, bike expert Alex Lee compares the Cervelo models, discussing their features, performance aspects, and pricing.

Founder and editor-at-large at Mr. Mamil.

Cervélo road bikes are divided into three models; R (lightweight), S for (aero), Soloist (all-rounder), and Caledonia (endurance).

Cervelo modelType of Cervelo bikePrice range (USD)
R5Lightweight race bike$9,000 to $13,000
S5Aero race bike$9,000 to $13,000
SoloistAll-rounder bike$3,400 to $6,800
Caledonia 5
Endurance bike$4,700 to $11,500
Cervelo road bikes lineup comparison

Cervélo R5

Cervelo R5 SRAM Red eTap AXS
Cervelo R5. Photo : Cervelo

The Cervélo R5 is an all-rounder road race bike. The Cervélo R5 sits at the top with the best components and is ridden by Jonas Vingegaard to win the 2022 and 2023 Tour de France.

Cervélo R5 and R-Series (discontinued in 2022) share the same carbon fiber material. Cervélo calls the carbon tubing design, the Squoval Max, a reference to the combination of Square and Oval tube shapes to achieve a balance between weight, stiffness, and aerodynamic benefits according to their CFD analysis.

The Cervélo R5 is disc-only with an integrated cockpit. It’s also available in a frameset only.

ModelFrame materialGroupsetWheelsetRetail price (USD)
Cervelo R5CarbonShimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)Reserve 34/37$13,000
Cervelo R5CarbonSRAM Red eTap AXSReserve 34/37$13,000
Cervelo R5CarbonShimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)Reserve 34/37$9,000
Cervelo R5CarbonSRAM Force eTap AXSReserve 34/37$9,000
Cervélo R5 models lineup
More reading : 
Cervélo R5 Geometry
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200) vs SRAM Red eTap AXS Groupsets

Cervélo S5

Cervelo S5 SRAM Red eTap AXS
Cervelo S5. Photo : Cervelo

The Cervélo S5 is all about aerodynamic performance and maximizing speed.

This can be seen throughout the frame’s design. Most road cyclists would concur that the Cervélo S5 is among their top choice for an aero road bike. They come with 25mm tires, but the frame allows up to 30mm.

The Cervélo S5 has a very aggressive frame geometry, placing the rider much lower on the bike and reducing their frontal area. A size 54 Cervélo S5 has a 13mm lower stack and 6mm longer reach than a size 54 S-Series (discontinued in 2022). The Cervélo S5 has an extended seat tube cutout; a close-fitting curve in the seat tube fully shields the rear wheel’s leading edge.

The Cervélo S5 is available in a complete bike setup or frameset only.

ModelFrame materialGroupsetWheelsetRetail price (USD)
Cervelo S5CarbonShimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)Reserve 52/63$13,000
Cervelo S5CarbonSRAM Red eTap AXSReserve 52/63$13,000
Cervelo S5CarbonShimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)Reserve 52/63$9,000
Cervelo S5CarbonSRAM Force eTap AXSReserve 52/63$9,000
Cervélo S5 models and retail prices in USD
More reading : 
SRAM Force eTap AXS vs Shimano Ultegra Di2 (12-speed)
List of Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100) Groupset Bikes

Cervélo Soloist

Cervelo Soloist
Cervelo Soloist. Photo : Cervelo

The Cervélo Soloist is the latest addition to Cervélo’s road bike range. It sits between the Cervélo S5 (aero) and Cervélo R5 (lightweight), making it a versatile bike across all terrains.

It was first launched in the early 2000’s and before being refreshed with disc brakes, wider tire clearance (34mm), and extra comfort and compliance. Depending on the frame size, Cervélo claims it’s about 250g heavier than R5 and 250g lighter than S5.

One of the major differences between the Cervélo Soloist and other Cervélo models is the use of the new BBrighT-47 bottom bracket standard. Cervelo says it maintains the stiffness characteristics of the BBRight but simplifies the installation and replacement.

ModelFrame materialGroupsetWheelsetRetail price (USD)
Cervelo SoloistCarbonShimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)Reserve 40/44$6,800
Cervelo SoloistCarbonSRAM Force eTap AXSReserve 40/44$6,800
Cervelo SoloistCarbonShimano 105 Di2 (R7100)Reserve 40/44$5,200
Cervelo SoloistCarbonSRAM Rival eTap AXSReserve 40/44$5,200
Cervelo SoloistCarbonShimano Ultegra (R8000)Fulcrum Racing 600 DB$4,300
Cervelo SoloistCarbonShimano 105 (R7000)Alexrims Boondocks 5$3,400
Cervélo Soloist models and retail prices in USD
More reading : 
SRAM Rival eTap AXS vs Shimano 105 Di2 Compared
List of Shimano 105 Di2 (R7100) Groupset Bikes

Cervélo Caledonia 5 and Caledonia

Cervelo Caledonia 5 SRAM Force eTap AXS
Cervelo Caledonia 5. Photo : Cervelo

The Cervélo Caledonia is an endurance bike for comfort and long-distance riding over tarmac, backroads, and smooth, hardpacked gravels.

Compared to the Cervélo R5 and S5, the Cervélo Caledonia has a much more relaxed geometry with a higher stack and shorter reach. This puts the rider in a more upright position for comfort rather than aero. Cervélo Caledonia 5 and Caledonia share the same carbon fiber and frame geometry and can take tires up to 34mm wide.

The major difference between the Cervélo Caledonia 5 and Caledonia is in aerodynamics.

  • Cervélo Caledonia 5 has a better aerodynamics profile with a slimmer head tube, cleaner front end with internal cable routing, and a D-shaped seatpost.
  • Cervélo Caledonia has a more traditional look with a rounder head tube with external cabling and round (27.2mm) seatpost.

Here are all the available Cervélo Caledonia 5 and Caledonia models and builds.

ModelFrame materialGroupsetWheelsetRetail price (USD)
Cervelo Caledonia 5CarbonShimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)Reserve 40/44$11,500
Cervelo Caledonia 5CarbonSRAM Red eTap AXSReserve 40/44$11,500
Cervelo Caledonia 5CarbonShimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)Reserve 40/44$8,500
Cervelo Caledonia 5CarbonSRAM Force eTap AXSReserve 40/44$8,500
Cervelo Caledonia 5CarbonSRAM Rival eTap AXSFulcrum Racing 600 DB$6,000
Cervelo CaledoniaCarbonShimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)Fulcrum Racing 900 DB$5,500
Cervelo CaledoniaCarbonSRAM Rival eTap AXSFulcrum Racing 900 DB$4,700
Cervelo CaledoniaCarbonShimano Ultegra (R8000)DT Swiss E1850$3,600
Cervélo Caledonia 5 and Caledonia models lineup
More reading : Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100) vs Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200) Groupsets

Cervélo bikes FAQ

This table summarizes the main differences between the Cervélo R5 and S5.

FeatureCervélo R5Cervélo S5
Type of ridingVersatile, climbing, all-aroundRacing, high-speed, aero-focused
Riding PositionBalanced, efficientAggressive, aerodynamic
Bike HandlingStable, preciseMore responsive
ComfortGreater comfort for long ridesLess comfortable for long rides
Power transferExcellent power transfer & efficiencyGood power transfer
AerodynamicsGood aerodynamicsOptimized for aerodynamics
Comparison between Cervélo R5 and S5

Here’s a summary table highlighting the key differences between the Cervelo Soloist and Caledonia 5 in terms of riding experience.

FeatureCervelo SoloistCervelo Caledonia 5
Type of ridingRacing, high-speed ridingLong-distance, mixed-surface riding
Riding positionAggressive, aerodynamicStable, comfortable
Bike handlingMore responsiveMore stable
ComfortLess comfortable for long ridesGreater long-distance comfort
Power transferGood power transferBetter power transfer and efficiency
AerodynamicsOptimized for aerodynamicsLess aerodynamic
Comparison between Cervélo Soloist and Caledonia 5

The Cervélo Soloist and S5 have many similarities in their riding characteristics and are both geared towards high-speed racing with an aerodynamic focus.

FeatureCervélo SoloistCervélo S5
Type of ridingRacing, high-speed ridingRacing, high-speed, Aero-focused
Riding positionAggressive, aerodynamicMore aggressive, aerodynamic
Bike handlingResponsiveMore responsive
ComfortLess comfortable for long ridesNot suited for long rides
Power transferGood power transferExcellent power transfer
AerodynamicsOptimized for aerodynamicsVery optimized for aerodynamics
Comparison between Cervélo Soloist and S5

The Cervélo R5 is a versatile bike for various types of riding, including climbing and all-around performance, while the Caledonia 5 focuses on providing a comfortable and stable experience for long-distance and mixed-surface riding.

FeatureCervélo R5Cervélo Caledonia 5
Type of ridingVersatile, climbing, all-aroundLong-distance, mixed-surface riding
Riding positionBalanced, EfficientStable, comfortable
Bike handlingStable, preciseMore stable
ComfortGreater comfort for long ridesGreater long-distance comfort
Power transferExcellent power transfer and efficiencyGood power transfer and efficiency
AerodynamicsGood aerodynamicsLess aerodynamic
Comparison between Cervélo R5 and Caledonia 5

Cervélo road bike frame and fork have a lifetime warranty for the original owner except for paint and decals. More about Cervélo’s warranty policy.

Cervélo road bike frame and fork have a lifetime warranty for the original owner except for paint and decals. More about Cervélo’s warranty policy.

Cervélo road bike frame and fork have a lifetime warranty for the original owner except for paint and decals. More about Cervélo’s warranty policy.

Cervélo doesn’t have a women-specific model. Their frame sizing starts at 48, which fits riders from 5′ 3″ (160cm) and above.

Cervélo’s entry into pro cycling began in 2003 with Team CSC. When they started the partnership, Team CSC was ranked 14th in the world. When the partnership ended in 2008, Carlos Sastre had just won the 2008 Tour de France onboard a Cervélo bike.

In 2009, it sponsored its own team, the Cervélo TestTeam, and it evolved to become Garmin-Cervélo from 2011 to 2014. From 2016 to 2018, Team Dimension Data and its various incarnations rode on Cervélo with former world champion Mark Cavendish.

After a brief period away from pro cycling, Cervélo is back with Team Jumbo-Visma from 2021 onwards.

More reading : Which Bike Brand Won the Most Tour de France?
Alex Lee at Mr.Mamil

Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.

He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.