While the need for being “aero” has always played an important role in the road world, you would be excused for assuming that traditional triathlon brands (where being aero is the basis for life itself) would’ve been jumping into the aero-road category over the course of the last decade. But, in fact, they haven’t—until now.
Legacy tri-geek brand Quintana Roo has been in the slippery-fast tri business since its inception 30 years ago. With a racing pedigree that has included everything from wetsuits and swim caps to triathlon and time-trial bikes, the triathlon world has been good to Quintana Roo. But an aero-road bike? Nope. Until now.
Last year marked QR’s first attempt at a modern aero-road frame—disc brakes with a purpose-built and wind-tunnel-tested frame that is available in a variety of iterations.
Quintana Roo started with the goal of redefining what they call the “Super Road” category. It’s essentially what we’ve been calling a modern road bike. Think aero-influenced tube shaping, 30mm-plus tire clearance and, of course, disc brakes. The carbon SRfive frame is the result.
Engineered using the same CFD analysis used to develop the triathlon gear that Quintana Roo became known for, the SRfive oozes wind-cutting shapes all around. The V-shaped downtube is labeled with classic Quintana Roo branding. A truncated-airfoil seat tube connects low-profile seatstays and 41.5cm chainstays.
A 99.7cm wheelbase is paired with a 72-degree head tube angle on our size medium. Quintana Roo wanted to emphasize road bike precision handling instead of their typical time-trial-style designs. The 56.5cm stack and 38cm reach on our size medium create a relatively upright endurance-style position in the saddle. The frame has a maximum recommended tire clearance of 32mm.
Quintana Roo claims a size-medium frame weight of 1175 grams, including all of the factory bits, like derailleur hangers, bottle bolts and paint. While this is heavier than many standard bikes (with sub-900-gram frames) we frequently test, it is on par with the claimed weights of other aero frames like the 1200-gram Cannondale SystemSix and the 1280-gram Giant Propel disc.
Following the trend of other consumer-direct brands (including their sister brands Litespeed and Obed), Quintana Roo allows customers to personalize their builds piece by piece throughout the checkout process. Six different wheel options can be matched with four Shimano (105, Ultegra, Ultegra Di2 and Dura-Ace Di2) drivetrains. Adding to the menu of options are two power-meter choices from Rotor.
“By offering both a wide component selection plus 12 frame colors with over 20 different logo designs, Quintana Roo offers an impressive level of personalization that comes at no extra cost.”
Key to the value-added build process is that QR brings naked frames in from Asia that are then lined up in their in-house production facility, where they offer 12 frame colors with over 20 different logo designs. This is an impressive level of personalization that comes at no extra cost.
QR supplied an Ultegra Di2 drivetrain for this build. Mid-compact chainrings are paired with an 11-30, 11-speed cassette. We were pleased with the wide-gear ratio, and it’s a pleasant change for us to see Shimano spec increasingly more stock drivetrains with an 11-30 cassette rather than a 28 or less.
HED Vanquish RC4 wheels give our test bike a performance edge over the other less-expensive SRfive build options. The carbon rims are 40mm deep and have a 21mm internal rim width. The 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tires measure just over 28mm at 70 psi. One of our first upgrades would be a pair of high-performance, wider tires, like a set of 28mm or 30mm Continental Grand Prix Four Seasons.
FSA and Vision Tech USA create the alloy cockpit with an ACR stem and a Trimax handlebar. Hydraulic lines and Di2 wires are hidden in the front end, only to be seen at their respective calipers and derailleurs. On the surface, it may appear that there are few options to easily upgrade the stem, due to the internally routed design of the FSA stem and gated spacers. A standard 1-1/8-inch steerer tube is hidden as well, which allows for most stem combos, but note, you’ll need to swap the spacers at the same time.
Quintana Roo’s first go at a modern road bike is a well-rounded effort out on the road. The Quintana Roo is noticeably compliant and encourages an upright riding position. The SRfive garnered numerous compliments on group rides and was a reliable conversation starter. “Yes, the longtime triathlon brand finally has a solid offering for the road,” we explained numerous times as people did a double-take on the downtube graphic.
Thanks to its 99.7cm wheelbase and 72-degree head tube angle, the SRfive was quick-witted at speed. Slight inputs on the handlebar direct the bike where it’s intended. The handling is stable and predictable, but in a way that pairs well with the responsiveness.
Road chatter is absorbed well due to HED wheels and the lower tire pressure that’s allowed by the 21mm internal rim width. We rarely surpassed 70 psi during our testing (as recommended by the tire-pressure chart sticker on the rims).
Steep climbs were a challenge on the SRfive. Being in the 30×36 gear made us envious of SRAM’s 33-35 gearing that’s available at a similar gear ratio in the 12-speed AXS line. Considering the 18.60-pound weight, some riders were left longing for more weight savings.
The QR’s predictable handling paired with its watt-saving tube shaping combine for a high-value aero-road option. Purpose-built for QR to enter the road market, the SRfive is a competitive road bike that draws from the fountain of aero knowledge with stylish designs that have advanced Quintana Roo’s popularity in the triathlon realm.
While the weight was a downside, the saving grace of the build are the HED Vanquish RC4 wheels. These modern hoops help add nimbleness to the SRfive’s handling characteristics. The HED’s wide internal rim width pairs well with the relatively narrow 25mm Continental tires. The 25mm tires would be a hard pass if they were mounted on narrower wheels.
Perhaps the most desirable aspect of the SRfive platform is that, while you can choose the pricey route with higher-end components, an entry-level Shimano 105 build starts at $3100 and there is zero upcharge for color changes.
Triathletes looking for a training bike have a new choice to consider, but the SRfive now makes Quintana Roo
appeal to a wider audience, which hopefully means more future aero-road innovations from the legacy
Impressive build-your-own program
Predictable, well-rounded handling
Ships ready-to-ride direct to consumer
Price: $5535 ($2399 frameset)
Weight: 18.60 pounds
Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), L, XL