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R3 Disc Ultegra R8020 Complete Bike
So you've decided it's finally time to throw down on a new road bike. Congratulations, there are a bunch of really good options out there. Our advice, pick a frameset that fits well, is lightweight, responsive, and comfortable on your longest rides. Next up, if you aren't currently riding a bike with disc brakes, do yourself a favor and make that part of your new bike selection process. The R3 Disc Ultegra R8020 Complete Bike from Cervelo is a bike that ticks off all of those boxes and has a super impressive stiffness to weight ratio that satisfies Grand Tour riders and the toughness to survive the brutal cobble classics. Add to that the reliability and precision of Shimano's Ultegra shifting and the power and modulation that can only come for hydraulic disc brakes and you have a bike that will help you achieve a new level of riding.
The R3 is no stranger to the limelight. Consistently a winner in bike shootouts and with numerous editor choice awards to its credit, it also has a Tour victory to its palmarès under Carlos Sastre and was the first bike to enter the Roubaix velodrome under the likes of Cancellara, O'Grady, and Vansummeren. This tells us a few things. The frameset is durable enough to handle brutal cobbled roads, it's light enough to scale hors catégorie climbs, and it's comfortable enough for a 3-week stage race or a 6+ hour one-day classic.
There's no need to fear any climb when aboard the R3. The frameset is built using special carbon layups and construction techniques, allowing Cervelo to reduce the frame's weight while making it stiffer at key points. This remarkable stiffness to weight ratio means the R3 is agile and responds instantly to pedaling efforts and tracks through turns with authority. Cervelo uses advanced engineering software like Finite Element Analysis (FEA) that allows it to better understand exactly how each layer of carbon fiber is working and if it's being used properly. Its carbon expertise prescribes a specific frame layup by placing hundreds of individually cut plies of carbon in a mold in a certain order and orientation. By precisely cutting these plies, the frame is able to be made lighter while still achieving the desired strength and reliability.
And because different areas of a frame experience different loads while climbing, sprinting, and descending, to better cope with these forces, Cervelo creates different layups by placing the fibers at different angles in specific areas for the desired metrics. In addition to reducing weight, maximizing strength and stiffness, it's also instrumental in how comfortable the bike is to ride and it's backed up with extensive in-house testing and real-world experience.
The carbon layup is one area where Cervelo addresses the comfort issue. Another lies in its Elite Fit Road geometry, slotting in right between its Pro Fit Road on the R5 and S-Series bikes, and the Endurance Fit of its C-Series bikes. As such, it focuses on efficiency an allows for an easy setup of a variety of fits without compromising on comfort. Sure, its aggressive enough to race on, and often is, but not so much so that it's uncomfortable on all-day jaunts or stage races. As an added bonus, it clears 28mm wide tires where the added volume adds comfort and traction while reducing rolling resistance.
Returning Cervélo features include its BBright bottom bracket and Squoval Max tubing. It developed the wider BBright standard in an effort to increase stiffness by taking advantage of the real estate at the bottom bracket shell, seat tube, down tube, and chainstay. Additionally, it plays well with all major crank standards. Squoval Max tubing allows the design engineers the ability to use the best attributes of a square and oval shape to improve the bike's ride quality while minimizing weight and maximizing stiffness. Additionally, while not as out-and-out aero as its S-Series lineup, tube shapes and internal cable routing do serve as some aero tricks up its sleeve when you're driving off the front of the pace line.
Cervelo frames constantly evolve and the brand constantly scrutinizes materials, shapes, and layups in an effort to boost stiffness, improve ride quality, and drop grams. Compared to previous generation R3s, this version is 16 percent lighter, has a 16-gram reduction in aero drag, and it's 4 percent stiffer at the head tube and bottom bracket to channel all of your power directly to your rear wheel and descend with confidence.
Finally, we love the small details that make a Cervelo a Cervelo. Things like its Future-Proof Cable Management system allows for full compatibility across mechanical, electronic, and hydraulic brake and derailleur systems. Its interchangeable cable stops snap into the frame and are easily swapped out by hand to accommodate different builds. And for those that prefer tried and true mechanical shifting, you'll appreciate its Reduced-Friction BB Guide, which maintains a consistent curve for each cable path that avoids extreme bends or kinks. The result is significantly reduced friction, easier setup, smoother shifting, and longer service intervals.
- A stiff and light road racing bike with an impressive pedigree
- Responsive and agile on long climbs and steep walls
- BBright bottom bracket shell boosts pedaling efficiency
- Squoval tube shapes boost stiffness and aerodynamics
- Internal cable routing works with multiple drivetrain options
- DT Swiss wheels bring no-nonsense performance to the build
- Hydraulic disc brakes ensure powerful braking
- Generous frame clearance accommodates up to 28mm tires
- Item #CVL000K
California Proposition 65
What do you think about this product?
September 12, 2019
I have had the Cervelo R3 disc to ride for the last week. Reasonably light (for a disc bike) smooth, clearance for 28c tires which are my jam and if you aren't on 28's then you are missing out on life, and stable. Handling is agile, quick without being nervous. I hit 59.9 mph which is 96.4 kph which sounds even more impressive and it never felt even remotely unstable. I was super impressed, especially because this was a 51cm frame, slightly smaller than my normal pick. Cervelo's focus on geometry with equal and excellent handling across all sizes was evident, typically your smaller and larger sizes suffer, but not with Cervelo.
January 6, 2020
60 mph? Please.
February 6, 2020
Nice. My top speed is 56 MPH. That was on a S2.
June 20, 2019
Well done Cervelo.
Cervelo makes bikes for people who know what they're doing. They're known for making the lightest, stiffest, most aero, etc. offerings on the market, and for taking a no-compromise approach to design. Cervelos of yesteryear were undeniably quick, but you had to be willing to endure a mercilessly stiff ride. This R3 was incredibly stiff and lively, but it was also one of the smoothest race bikes I have ever ridden. Witchcraft? Probably. Cervelo seems to have cracked the code to the code to the laterally stiff/vertically compliant riddle. Without an engineering degree, I can't aptly explain why, but as a rider, I can tell you that they nailed it. If you're reading this, there is an excellent chance that you're cross-shopping this with the R5. If you want one of the lightest, best handling race bikes in the galaxy, and you're willing to pay for it, it's the bike for you. If you want to be slightly more upright, and land a sweet deal, the R3 is the ticket! All in all, I'm extremely impressed. At $3k for the frameset, I'd buy this over almost anything else. As far as sizing goes, I'm 5'11, and while the 56 that I rode felt almost perfect, I could have gone down to a 54. Feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com if you have any questions!
January 6, 2020
Can you expand on why you might have gone down to a 54? I'm 5' 9" and typically ride a 54. I'd be hesitant to go into a 52. Like riding a bronco. Is that what you're looking for out of the R3?