Cervelo P3X Triathlon Bike 2019
A head-turner when it was first launched in 2016, the Cervelo P5X definitely received a mixed reception but whether you’re a fan of its cutting-edge design or not you cannot dismiss the bike’s exceptional performance stats. Following suit for 2019, the engineers have made the PX series more obtainable for the masses by creating the Cervelo P3X. Based on the success of the P5X we were excited to get the opportunity to head out to Scottsdale, Arizona to see if it lives up to its big brother's credentials.
The Inspiration Behind The Cervelo P3X
Non UCI legal and designed specifically for the triathlon market, the P5X has already won many of the world’s top Ironman and triathlon races, proof, if needed, of the bike’s immense racing pedigree. The Ferrari of the bike world, although you could say the P5X could be the ultimate triathlon bike you could also argue its super bike price tag meant it was out of reach for many athletes. Cervelo has addressed this for 2019 and brought the P3X to the market to complement the PX series.
Who is the Cervelo P3X Triathlon Bike for?
A bike designed specifically for triathlons and Ironman events, the P3X is for the long course triathlete who is looking for both comfort and speed. The aim for the P3X was simple; to create a lighter version of the P5X, offer a range of hydration and storage based solutions and ensure the bike is fully compatible with today’s industry standards.
Listening to feedback from both amateur and professional triathletes that ride the P5X day in day out, the team at Cervelo have improved the handling of the P3X, meaning it corners and descends with a lot more vigour than the P5X.
The Cervelo P3X Cockpit
Slammed may look good but it is not always practical, and Cervelo understand that this bike will be ridden and raced by many different riders, each with varying degrees of flexibility. This is where the Speedriser extension bar system comes in. Offering four positions of varying rise (15,10, 5 and 0 degrees) and paired with a base bar that can be flipped, this cockpit should cater for a wide range of fits.
How Stiff is The Cervelo P3X?
Stiffness carefully considered, the P3X boasts some impressive figures. Headtube stiffness is often overlooked by the rider and it’s safe to say it shouldn’t be. The headtube needs to be stiff enough to keep the front and rear wheel in the same plain. More specifically, torsional stiffness through this part of the frame ensures understeer is not required. In layman's terms, this improves confidence and handling. Compared to the P5X, the new kid on the PX series block is 8% stiffer; a sizeable improvement considering how stiff the P5X is.
The next area where stiffness needs to be considered is in the bottom bracket. This area of the frame is where that surge of power your experience comes from when you push down hard on the pedals. Working in unison with the headtube stiffness this too adds to the bike’s handling characteristics. It is no surprise then, that the Cervelo engineers focussed on this part of the bike and have managed to gain a 15% increase in stiffness at the bottom bracket.
Triathlon bikes are not traditionally known for being lightweight and although this bike is a far cry from the weight of Cervelo’s R5 climbing machine, the team have managed to reduce the frame weight by 16%, that is a 254-gram saving. Definitely not something to be sniffed at in a sport where every gram and watt counts.
That’s not the only area where weight has been shaved. Cervelo has spent countless hours refining parts such as the base bar, extensions and storage devices to bring the P3X in line with some of the lightest triathlon bikes on the market. Special mention should go to the seat post which Cervelo has gone as far as to hollow out the aluminium parts, a serious weight weenie hack!
Storage on The Cervelo P3X
More aero fully laden with storage than without, this bike means business when it comes to big days in the saddle. Starting at the cockpit, the removable bottle boss bridge allows the athlete to decide whether they want front mounted hydration or not.
Moving along the frame and the integrated Smartpak 600 flat kit storage device provides enough room for energy food and tools you may need out on the road. Offering the same levels of storage capacity found on the P5X.
Cervelo P3X Functionality
A bike that looks like it has just come off the set of a Batman film, you could be forgiven for thinking the P3X is highly unfunctional, you would be wrong. The frame and fork cater for tyres up to 28 millimetres in width, while thru-axle compatibility brings it right up to date with the latest wheel systems.
First Ride on The Cervelo P3X
On paper then, this is an impressive looking machine but we all know the real test is riding the thing, so that’s just what we did. The area around Scottsdale, Arizona is known for its wide, fast roads, the perfect testing ground for a triathlon bike. A 90-kilometre route was on the menu. A mixture of industry journalists, Cervelo staff and professional triathlete and Cervelo sponsored athlete, Ben Hoffman, were in attendance.
We set off and soon we were riding down what can only be described as the longest single straight downhill road I have ever ridden. A test for speed and with the wind howling, stability as well, so I settled onto the extensions and tucked in. The speed of this bike is immense, it quite simply wants to go fast.
Fast bikes can sometimes feel nervous and skittish, I was pleased to find this wasn’t the case with the P3X. Even at 60km/hr, the bike felt stable yet still agile enough to manoeuvre around any debris in the road.
Three points of contact for hydration (handlebar, frame and seat post) ensured, even in the dry Arizonan heat, a bottle was never far away. Descent ticked off and what lay ahead was a gentle ascent. This gave me a chance to see just how stiff the P3X was when the power was laid down out of the saddle. I can safely say that no watts were wasted. The power felt direct as I stamped on the pedals, I was blown away.
While rolling back to the villa I was staying in, I was buzzing. To ride 90 kilometres on a triathlon bike off the back of not riding one for a very long time could be considered a risky move, but thankfully due to the P3X’s adjustability and ride characteristics, I finished the ride both comfortable and most importantly, fresh. Now, where’s that run?