In this comparison, I’ll dissect two popular bike models; the Trek Emonda vs Cervelo R5.
I’ll compare their lineups, bike specifications, and suggested retail prices in USD, then discuss the carbon fiber technology (Trek OCLV and ) and frameset technologies.
The goal is to give you a better understanding of Trek Emonda and Cervelo R5 to help in your decision-making.
|Trek Emonda||Cervelo R5|
|Type of bike||Lightweight, all-rounder||Lightweight, all-rounder|
|Frame material||OCLV 800 carbon|
OCLV 500 carbon
|Frame sizes||47, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62||48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61|
|Groupset||Shimano, SRAM (12-speed)||Shimano, SRAM (12-speed)|
|Brakes||Hydraulic disc||Hydraulic disc|
|Price (USD)||$4,999 to $13,199||$9,000 to $13,000|
The Trek Emonda is a lightweight bike for the high mountains.
The lightest Trek Emonda frame weighs less than 700g using Trek’s OCLV 800 carbon. This is the bike Richie Porte rode to his third place in the 2020 Tour de France.
The SLR is the lightest and most expensive atop the Trek Emonda models. There are six Emonda SLR options, specced electronic shifting groupsets from SRAM or Shimano.
Next in line is the SL, the mid-range, more budget-friendly option. It has the same frame design and geometry as the SLR but uses the OCLV 500 carbon instead. The groupset choices are Shimano Ultegra Di2, Shimano 105 Di2, SRAM Force AXS, or SRAM Rival AXS.
The Trek Emonda SLR and SL framesets are also available separately.
|Model||Frame material||Groupset||Wheelset||Retail price (USD)|
|Trek Emonda SLR 9 AXS||OCLV 800 carbon||SRAM Red eTap AXS||Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37||$13,199|
|Trek Emonda SLR 9||OCLV 800 carbon||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)||Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37||$12,749|
|Trek Emonda SLR 7 AXS||OCLV 800 carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37||$9,699|
|Trek Emonda SLR 7||OCLV 800 carbon||Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)||Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37||$8,999|
|Trek Emonda SLR 6 AXS||OCLV 800 carbon||SRAM Rival eTap AXS||Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37||$8,399|
|Trek Emonda SLR 6||OCLV 800 carbon||Shimano 105 Di2 (R7100)||Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37||$7,699|
|Trek Emonda SL 7 AXS||OCLV 500 carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Bontrager Aeolus Pro 37||$6,699|
|Trek Emonda SL 6||OCLV 500 carbon||Shimano 105 Di2 (R7100)||Bontrager Aeolus Elite 35||$4,999|
Trek Emonda vs others
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.
|Model||Frame material||Groupset||Wheelset||Retail price (USD)|
|Cervelo R5||Carbon||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)||Reserve 34/37||$13,000|
|Cervelo R5||Carbon||SRAM Red eTap AXS||Reserve 34/37||$13,000|
|Cervelo R5||Carbon||Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)||Reserve 34/37||$9,000|
|Cervelo R5||Carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Reserve 34/37||$9,000|
Trek vs Cervelo carbon fiber
Trek OCLV carbon
The OCLV (Optimum Compaction, Low Void) carbon is a proprietary carbon fiber manufacturing technology developed by Trek.
- Optimum Compaction refers to the heat and pressure applied during the curing process to squeeze out excess resin and ensure that the carbon layers are compacted to the optimal density.
- Low Void refers to the goal of reducing microscopic air pockets or voids that can occur in the carbon fiber and create weaknesses.
One of the key advantages of OCLV carbon is its ability to achieve an optimal balance between stiffness, strength, and weight. Trek engineers carefully tune the carbon layup and utilize varying modulus carbon fibers to create stiff frames in certain areas to maximize power transfer while maintaining compliance in other areas to enhance comfort and ride quality.
The OCLV carbon is available in 800 and 500 series.
- OCLV 800 is the highest-grade carbon fiber used by Trek. The carbon modulus is higher in OCLV 800, making it stiffer and lighter. The manufacturing process is more refined, using more advanced carbon and resins, leading to a bike frame that provides top performance levels for stiffness, weight, and strength. OCLV 800 is used in all models with SLR.
- OCLV 500 is a lower-grade carbon but still offers a high level of performance. It has a slightly lower carbon modulus, meaning it’s a bit less stiff and heavier than OCLV 800. OCLV 800 is used in all models with SL.
It’s worth noting that the different OCLV grades don’t only refer to the material itself, but also to the manufacturing techniques used to form the carbon fiber into bike frames. Higher-grade carbon requires more precise manufacturing techniques to take full advantage of its superior material properties.
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.
Frameset technologies and innovations
Trek Emonda and Cervelo R5 framesets incorporate advanced technologies to enhance their bikes’ performance and ride characteristics.
Here’s an overview of the technologies used in each bike model.
|OCLV Carbon||Optimum Compaction, Low Void (OCLV). A carbon fiber technology used in Trek frames. Employs advanced layup techniques and precise carbon compaction to create lightweight, strong frames with a balanced blend of stiffness and compliance.|
Available in two grades; OCLV 800 and 500. A higher number indicates a higher grade carbon.
|H1.5 geometry||Trek’s geometry design that strikes a balance between aggressive racing positioning (H1) and rider comfort (H2). |
H1.5 geometry provides a slightly more relaxed riding position than the racier H1 geometry, making it suitable for a wider range of riders.
|Project One||Trek’s customization program allows riders to create personalized and unique bikes. |
With Project One, riders can customize various aspects of their bikes, including frame color, paint scheme, components, drivetrain, wheels, and other details.
Unlike other road bike brands, there is minimal information about the technologies used in the Cervélo R5 frameset. The most obvious, and talked-about feature is the Squoval tube shapes.
Squoval stands for square-oval tube shapes. They are a unique design feature that combines the benefits of both square and oval tubes to produce frames that are stiff, light, and aero.
According to Cervélo, the seat tube doesn’t undergo much stress compared to the down and top tubes. Hence, the Cervélo engineers designed a smaller, thinner, and lighter seat tube. On the other hand, the down and top tubes are beefed up to be stiff, and strong while using as little material as possible. This led to the square-oval design seen on the R5.
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.