In this comparison, I’ll dissect two popular bike models; the Cervelo S5 vs Scott Foil RC.
I’ll compare their lineups, bike specifications, and suggested retail prices in USD, then discuss the carbon fiber technology ( and Scott High Modulus Carbon) and frameset technologies.
The goal is to give you a better understanding of Cervelo S5 and Scott Foil RC to help in your decision-making.
|Cervelo S5||Scott Foil RC|
|Type of bike||Aero||Aero|
|Frame material||Cervelo carbon||HMX-SL carbon|
|Frame sizes||48, 51, 54, 56, 58||47, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61|
|Groupset||Shimano, SRAM (12-speed)||Shimano, SRAM (12-speed)|
|Brakes||Hydraulic disc||Hydraulic disc|
|Price (USD)||$9,000 to $13,000||$4,799 to $15,999|
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.
|Model||Frame material||Groupset||Wheelset||Retail price (USD)|
|Cervelo S5||Carbon||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)||Reserve 52/63||$13,000|
|Cervelo S5||Carbon||SRAM Red eTap AXS||Reserve 52/63||$13,000|
|Cervelo S5||Carbon||Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)||Reserve 52/63||$9,000|
|Cervelo S5||Carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Reserve 52/63||$9,000|
Scott Foil RC
The Scott Foil RC was refreshed in mid-2022, just in time to debut at the Tour de France. Scott worked with aerodynamics expert Simon Smart, the founder of Drag2Zero. Simon is also the man behind the design of Enve wheels.
According to wind tunnel testing, the new Scott Foil RC is 9% lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the HMX-SL Carbon fiber layup, and 10% more aerodynamically efficient.
There are five models available in disc and electronic shifting only.
|Model||Frame material||Groupset||Wheelset||Retail price (USD)|
|Scott Foil RC Ultimate||Carbon (HMX-SL)||SRAM Red eTap AXS||Zipp 454 NSW||$15,999|
|Scott Foil RC Pro||Carbon (HMX)||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)||Shimano Dura-Ace C50||$10,999|
|Scott Foil RC 10||Carbon (HMX)||Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)||Syncros Capital 1.0 50||$6,999|
|Scott Foil RC 20||Carbon (HMX)||SRAM Rival eTap AXS||Syncros Capital 1.0 50||$6,299|
|Scott Foil RC 30||Carbon (HMX)||Shimano 105 Di2 (R7100)||Syncros RR2.0||$4,799|
Scott Foil RC vs others
Cervelo vs Scott carbon fiber
Cervelo doesn’t publicly release information about the types of carbon fiber used on their road bikes.
From my observation of the current Cervelo bikes lineups, there are at least two carbon fiber grades used.
- Highest grade. Cervelo R5 and S5 could be using the highest carbon fiber grade of all the models. These are pure race bikes used by the pros and would likely have the best carbon fiber available at Cervelo.
- Mid-grade. Cervelo Caledonia and Soloist could be using a mid-level carbon and heavier fiber grade of all the models. These are endurance bikes that prioritize comfort over stiffness. So it’s not a surprise to see a lower-grade carbon fiber being used here.
Scott High Modulus Carbon
Scott implements two primary types of carbon fiber technology in their bicycle frame construction; HMX-SL, HMX, and HMF carbon.
- HMX-SL (High Modulus Xtreme, Super Light) carbon is the pinnacle of Scott’s carbon fiber technology. This innovative blend of carbon fiber is designed for ultimate stiffness and minimal weight. Scott uses HMX-SL Carbon in their highest-end models, such as the premium version of the Scott Addict RC Ultimate and Foil RC Ultimate road bike. These bikes, with HMX-SL Carbon frames, are the go-to choice for professional cyclists competing in world-class races.
- HMX carbon is a level below the HMX-SL, and is still a top-tier carbon material offering a fantastic blend of stiffness and lightweight construction, albeit not as light or rigid as the HMX-SL. It’s an excellent choice for serious and experienced cyclists looking for a high-performance bike without the additional premium.
- HMF (High Modulus Fiber) carbon, may not be as light or stiff as HMX carbon, but it’s still a superior material that contributes to a robust, light, and efficient ride. Scott uses HMF carbon in their bikes that strike a balance between affordability and performance.
Frameset technologies and innovations
Cervelo S5 and Scott Foil RC framesets incorporate advanced technologies to enhance their bikes’ performance and ride characteristics.
Here’s an overview of the technologies used in each bike model.
|V-stem||The V-stem was launched in 2018 with the previous generation S5. It was controversial at that time as there was nothing like that on the market before.|
Cervélo wanted to route the shifting cables and brake hoses internally, but the bend between the handlebar and stem could have a negative effect on mechanical shifting performance. Hence, the Cervélo engineers designed a V-shaped stem to minimize the bend.
Today, the Cervélo S5 is available only in electronic shifting builds, but the V-stem design remains. It’s now part of the S5’s identity.
|HB14 carbon handlebar||The HB14 carbon handlebars are designed specifically for the S5’s V-stem. It’s available in 380, 400, 420 and 440mm.|
|34mm tire clearance||The tire clearance for the S5 is a massive 34mm, which is very wide for an aero bike.|
Scott Foil RC
|F01 Airfoil Technology||Scott’s proprietary F01 Airfoil Technology ensures that each tube and junction on the Scott Foil RC is optimized for the best aerodynamic performance. This technology, backed by extensive computer simulations and wind tunnel testing, allows the Scott Foil RC to claim the title of the fastest road bike Scott has ever produced.|
|Oversize Bottom Bracket||The Scott Foil RC features an oversized down tube and bottom bracket intersection, among the widest on the current road bike market. This extensive cross-section and smooth transition handle loads effectively, reducing unwanted frame flex and ensuring efficient power transfer to the drivetrain.|
|Hollow Frame Structure||The entire frame set of Scott Foil RC is built with a hollow structure and has an immaculately clean inside, which significantly reduces the overall weight.|
|Oversized Head Tube||The Scott Foil RC sports an oversized head tube. Besides allowing for fully integrated cabling for both mechanical and electronic shifting systems, it functions as an airfoil, splitting oncoming air to reduce aerodynamic drag as you speed forward.|
|One-Piece Handlebar||The Syncros Creston IC SL Aero handlebar and stem combo is an integral feature of the Foil RC’s aerodynamic design. This combo, which was taken from the popular Scott Addict RC, has undergone wind-tunnel testing and slimmed down to cut through the wind and improve the bike’s overall aerodynamic efficiency. Interestingly, it adapts to load changes, providing more compliance under light loads and stiffening up for power delivery when you’re in full race mode.|
|Aero Seatpost||The Syncros Duncan SL Aero CFT is a patented, innovative seatpost designed for comfort and power efficiency. Its unique two-part construction, featuring a carbon fiber load-bearing piece, flexes on rough surfaces to keep you comfortably seated and capable of delivering maximum power. |
It can also accommodate the separately sold Syncros Campbell 20 Aero iL Rear Light, which provides 20 lumens of output for safe rides in all conditions.
|Dropped Seatstays||The Scott Foil RC features dropped seat stays for rider comfort and improved aerodynamics. Angled at 10º, these seat stays channel the passing air into the spinning spokes, resulting in substantial aerodynamic benefits. This design also cleverly hides the disc brake calipers, reducing aero drag and contributing to a cleaner aesthetic.|
|Evo-Lap Technology||Scott applies Evo-Lap technology in designing the Scott Foil RC, using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software to simulate different forces on the frame and optimize the carbon lay-up. By modeling the frame and testing stress distribution in different areas, Scott has optimized carbon layers throughout the frame, creating a lightweight yet resilient structure.|