First Ride: Cervelo Aspero – video

When a road racer meets the gravel scene

After a previous attempt at a gravel bike that, like many others in the early evolution of the breed, was more of a slightly altered road bike, Cervelo has rolled out their newest version of a gravel bike in three different platforms. Dubbed the Aspero, this new bike definitely speaks the language of modern dual-purpose riding, albeit in a unique vernacular.

Full-size carbon tubes for a stiff ride in a variety of color options. The driveside chaintsay and underside of the downtube have rubber protection.
THE FRAME
Thanks to the wireless SRAM AXS drivetrain, only the two brake cables show their face before running into the carbon frame, however the frame can just as easily host mechanical cables as well as a front derailleur.
Again owing to the bike’s racing pedigree, nary a rack or fender mount can be found anywhere. We liked the standard issue 27.2 seatpost with an equally good ol’ fashioned external seat binder.

 

On Any Saturday, Pt. 1 – Bring the road

On the The Montrose Ride aboard the Cervélo Aspero with SRAM, DT Swiss, Donnelly Cycling, LLC, Wahoo Fitness

Posted by Road Bike Action on Saturday, October 19, 2019

THE PARTS
Of all the gravel test bikes we’ve received in the last year, none have come to us with a gear combo as found on the Aspero. Owing to the options that underlie the SRAM 1x AXS drivetrain, Cervelo relied on a unique configuration of a 36t front chainring mated to a 12-speed 10-33 cluster. Interesting.
Easton supplied the Aspero’s hard parts with a EA90 aluminum stem, EC70 AX handlebars and the novel EC70 ISA seatpost. DT Swiss supplied the xxmm deep GRC wheels that were mounted with 40mm Donnelly X’Plor MSO rubber.

 

The SRAM AXS 12 speed drivetrain worked with its usual precision, but the 36t chainring was a curious choice.

THE RIDE
While we have tested stiff, carbon gravel bikes before, it was the Aspero’s gearing that left test riders confused. For some, the 36/10 was too small as a big gear for staying with the group road ride, while the 36/33 was too big for the small gear when it came to slow speed rock crawling.
Some riders came away convinced that between the stout frame and deep section DT Swiss wheels, the overall package was too stiff for longer dirt bike pursuits.

The fix for more top-end speed would be as easy as swapping the 36t chainring for a 38 (remembering to add links to your chain). However, getting closer to our preferred 1:1 gravel climbing gear would’ve required using a SRAM 10-50 Eagle cassette which for many roadies is definitely not conducive to maintaining the required street cred due to its pizza pan size.

The gold frame is a looker and available at different price/component specs. This is the Shimano GRX bike.

THE VERDICT

The Aspero family is made up of five carbon models with a mix of 1x and 2x drivetrains. The entry level model sells for a surprisingly pocket friendly $2800. Overall, we’d say the bike is less friendly for the entry-level rider looking to introduce themselves to the world of gravel. This is a stiff, performance-oriented package with a less than compliant ride.’

PUNCHLINES
* Handy tire/drivetrain options
* Gearing for what?
* Nice colors

STATS
Price: $6000
Weight: 18.25  pounds
Sizes: 48, 51, 54 (tested), 56, 58 61cm
www.cervelo.com

To see the complete test of the Cervelo, check out the March 2020 issue of Road Bike Action.

 

 

 

 

 

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