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Cervelo has created a hardtail mountain frameset, in this case built into an SRAM XX1 AXS dream of a bike. For a company so dedicated to aero and drop bar bikes since it's inception, this may be difficult to grasp, but the cycling world at the top levels has changed. It used to be rare for a top road rider to cross-over to a different cycling experience on a professional level. When a top pro changed disciplines it was often XC mountain to road, road to track, or even a cyclocross pro trying to race taking a flyer on road team. The current mobility across disciplines also moves riders from off-pavement to the World Tour. Brands like Cervelo not only sponsor teams, but also build deeper relationships with top riders, so Cervelo has chosen to develop the R5-CX for their road and cross riders like Marianne Vos and Wout van Aert, and now deliver the ZHT-5 hardtail builds to world class XC racers, broadening their line-up, and blurring the boundaries that professional cyclists have often been reluctant to traverse.

The 907 gram (Medium) ZHT-5 frameset has been heavily influenced by the recent development of the R5-CX, and more longitudinally by the Aspero and Aspero-5 models. To create a hardtail that could apply pedal and rider input power to the trail, the frameset needed to be exceptionally stiff laterally from the front triangle thru the rear triangle. Too often these frames are so vertically rigid that not only does the rider feel too beat up after a hard ride or race, but the ability of the frame to apply ground-level traction and controlled grip, even with low pressure tubeless tires, is limited. Cervelo has long perfected the seatstay-derived vertical compliance equation with the R series framesets, but reconsidered it during the development of the Aspero, R5, and R5-CX. With the Aspero and R5-CX, both optimized for managing off-pavement terrain surface feedback while maintaining positive ground control and optimal handling. Trail riding is a different application, and frame geometry for hardtails has evolved quite a bit over the years, so working with a geometry that could maximize the capabilities the engineers expected of the frame was crucial.

To the surprise of many, Cervelo opted for what some perceive to be a throwback in hardtail geometry, and while World Cup level racing has gotten more technical, 29er hardtails are still the speed chariot of choice. Add in that Cervelo designed the ZHT-5 frameset around a 100mm fork, not the 120mm option many non-racers prefer in a more XC/trail-oriented hardtail, as well as the vertical compliance and tire footprint of a 29er, and perhaps the decision to run a 69° headtube angle with a 74° seattube angle on all sizes is less surprising than it may seem. With a 430 chainstay length and 62mm bottom bracket drop the rear end sits cleanly down to the terrain, with the proper weight balance. The toptube is a little longer than most hardtails per frame size, but the resulting shorter stem equalizes the cockpit set-up ideally with the 44mm offset from the fork, and 100mm travel. The result is a responsive, but stable ride that maximizes traction and ground control at high or low speeds.

The details of the carbon build and lay-up aren't all divulged, but the R5 and R5-CX influence in the downtube is clear, as is the Aspero's influence on the shape of the toptube. As mentioned, the seatstays carry the DNA of the R series, C series, and the Aspero. Essentially these small diameter tubular seatstays run through to the seattube, instead of lower on the seattube like most road, gravel, and hardtail bikes. There are no dropped chainstays yet the 148mm Boost width dropouts and overall carbon shaping of the tubes offer real clearance for 2.4" tires. Unlike nearly all previous Cervelo's, the ZHT-5 doesn't have the BBright asymmetric design, but a true MTB 73mm BSC threaded shell in the large junction. All shifting wiring or cabling is internal, via a special headset topcap, along with the rear hydraulic hose and the option for a dropper post. Different internal assembly retainers in the topcap system offer set-up flexibility, but not all options are fully compatible. A SRAM UHD hanger is used for current and future rear derailleur mounting possibilities.

With this SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 1x12-speed build featuring massive 1x range, Cervelo equips this race ready bike with the RockShox SID SL Ultimate Suspension Fork, acarbon post, bar, and wheelset; rolling on Maxxis Recon Race EXO tires. It is a lightweight build, with pure race spec and capability for World Cup level courses.

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  • Exceptional, lightweight, race-day XC hardtail with proper handling balance, terrain control, traction, speed and vertical compliance with incredible power transfer
  • Complete build features SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS, Level Ultimate brakes, RaceFace, Reserve wheels
  • Design for rapid cross-country race bike that still handles confidently in technical sections in search of more speed
  • Balances tube shape, composite layups, and ride quality parameters; seeking practical usability for the rider
  • Optimized geometry puts you in the driving seat to carve up all the tight hairpins and trail features
  • Specifications
  • Frame: Cervelo ZHT-5 Carbon; Boost 12/148mm TA, SRAM UHD hanger, internal routing, 73mm threaded BSC BB shell, 2.4" tire clearance
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate Suspension Fork; 15/110mm TA Maxle Stealth dropout
    • Proven 32mm chassis focused on light weight for the classic XC bike; machined and anodized crown
    • NEW Maxima Lower Leg Performance lube reduces friction and enhances fork performance, ride after ride
    • Charger™ Race Day Damper; RS lightest production damper with rock-solid lockout
    • New Ultra-low friction SKF wiper seals for fork longevity/performance, improves overall suspension feel
    • Bottomless Token adjustment compatible
    • Updated DebonAir air spring tuned specifically for demands of XC, higher ride height for increased confidence, control
    • Maxima Plush damping fluid reduces friction, silences damper noise
  • Headset: FSA IS2 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 with internal routing topcap and assembly retainer options
  • Groupset: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12-Spd | Level Ultimate hydraulic disc brakeset
    • Shifter: AXS Rocker; customizable: option to swap paddle shapes, the ability to assign different touchpoints using the SRAM AXS app
    • Crankset | BB: XX1 Eagle, 32T DUB | SRAM DUB, BSA 73mm
    • Rear Derailleur: XX1 Eagle AXS w/ Tap battery (charging dock and USB cable included)
    • Cassette | Chain: XX1 Eagle, 10-52T, XD | XX1 Eagle, 12-Spd
    • Brake Levers & Calipers: Level Ultimate 2-piston, Carbon fiber lever blades, pivot bearings
    • Disc Rotors: SRAM CLX R CL, 160mm F/R
  • RaceFace/Cervelo Cockpit:
    • Bar: RF Next SL Carbon, 35mm, 740mm width, 10mm rise
    • Stem: RF Aeffect Alloy, 35mm, 6°
    • Seatpost: Cervélo SP29 Carbon 30.9mm
    • Saddle: Prologo Dimension NDR NACK
  • Wheelset: Reserve Carbon 28 XC TLR rims, 24H, 28mm IRW; i9 1:1 hubset, Center Lock, XD freehub
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race, EXO TL; 120TPI, 29x2.4
  • Frame size specific stem and crank length coming soon
  • Maximum seatpost insertion: Small 160mm, Medium 195mm, Large/XL 220mm
  • Note: Component Specifications are subject to change due to supply chain challenges
  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, XL
  • Color: Five Black
  • Weight: 19.81 lbs (Large)
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