Cervelo Aspero Apex 1 Disc Bicycle
If you want to get on a high quality carbon gravel race frameset without dropping big dollars, the Cervelo Aspero Apex 1 Disc Bicycle is your affordable entry into a brave new world. With the new A-Series Aspero, Cervelo wasn't trying to make one bike for all, but the Aspero is a great gravel bike with capabilities from road to gravel to XC trail use. It wasn't built for bikepacking or loaded adventure riding. Fast, capable, fun, and more like a road bike than any gravel option we have seen to date, the Aspero will surely deliver for those who love to go out and rip it up. This is a gravel bike for hard single day efforts in training or racing modes, or 2-3 hour rides with friends on country roads and hardpack trails. Cervelo has designed a frameset with somewhat unique features and properties that deliver a gravel riding experience road cyclists will embrace.
Inspiration from the Aspero frame construction and features has come from several Cervelo models, yet the design has been engineered from the frame up for the race gravel concept for which it was conceived. You will see the R3's Squoval.Max tubeset shapes in the Aspero, along with details from the C, S, and P series models. Aero inspiration has always a driving force for Cervelo, and the toptube shares the shape and a hidden 2-bolt SmartPak bag mount of the P5 that is compatible with several aero and storage bags available today. The internal reference design points exemplify elements of Cervelo's best engineering to date, and all serve the gravel race concept: fit, speed, balance, handling, and set-up flexibility.
That said, it is the engineering behind the frame geometry, fork design, an adjustable trail set-up, and overall frame stability that define the Aspero. One major goal was to provide the clearance necessary for 650b x 51mm tires, or 700c x 43mm tires with at least 4mm on either side to spare. This was accomplished in a few key ways. Up front the fork legs have a new carbon lay-up and shaping from the large 12mm thru-axle dropout on up, with an integrated crown that isn't as vertically thick as you'd expect, yet still inherently strong and gravel ready with great rounded tire clearance. Cervelo also was able to maintain a standard front-center measurement, by elongating the top tube, maintaining a road-style seattube angle, and proper trail via an adjustable front dropout design. More on that below. The center of gravity is moved rearwards, as the headtube angles are more gravel/cyclocross than road. The 56cm toptube of the Aspero is 9mm longer than the 56cm R3. The headtube itself was kept essentially at R3 road lengths per size, which along with the impressive fork design and integrated headset means that the forward cockpit position feels more like a road bike- your saddle drop to bar can be more like your road fit. At the rear triangle a 420mm chainstay length was achieved with the familiar dropped chainstay design, and a seat-tube cut-out.
The engineers were particularly focused on making sure the Aspero handled properly regardless of wheel and tire size, without compromising the headtube angle. The concept of fork "Trail" is best known in the mountain bike world, but is relevant across all cycling. Cervelo is using what they call their Trail Mixer system to allow the rider to keep effective Trail at 62mm. Larger variations in tire size effect the rearward position of the tire- affecting handling and toe-overlap clearance. By using off center, bolt-in 12mm thru-axle drop outs, the rider can select the +5 forward position or the -5 rear position of the axle. With a 700x42 gravel tire set-up, similar to the stock Aspero Force eTap AXS Disc bike, the +5mm forward is the proper position for best active handling and nimble bike control, which is what faster, race-oriented users want on more technical surfaces. If you moved it to the -5mm rearward position, it would slow the handling down, perhaps better for long, flat rides on firmer, smoother, less technical surfaces. The principles of Trail set-up come down to the outside diameter of a mounted tire and desired handling characteristics to determine your Trail Mixer set-up. Cervelo has a more complete explanation of the mechanically simple Trail Mixer system on their website.
The use of the modified Squoval.Max tubeset is clear with the Aspero featuring a substantially larger downtube and massive bottom bracket junction over the R3. The integrated fork crown and downtube design resembles the Dropped Downtube of the aero bikes but it seems more functional for strength and visual balance from the tapered headtube through the downtube. The seattube features a squared back, cut-out design, but carries a 27.2mm round seatpost, which can provide more vertical compliance and offers more options. Everything, from the dropped, oversized chainstays, slightly curved, shaped aero seatstays, rear dropouts and Flat Mount disc interface are all stouter for increased strength and torsional stiffness. A modified Future Proof cable guide and internal routing system has an option for a cabled or hydraulic dropper seatpost, and a bolt-on downtube protector handles the debris coming off the front wheel.
This SRAM equipped complete bike features a 1x11 Apex drivetrain and Apex HRD hydraulic disc brakes. The Alexrims Boondocks 7-D Wheelset is strong, fast and ideal for wider tires like the Donnnelly's popular 700x40 XPlor MSO keep you in control on the ground, while the Easton cockpit and Cervelo saddle build out your riding position on this impressive gravel race bike.
- Wonderfully capable carbon gravel race bike featuring SRAM Apex 1x11 HRD
- Same high quality Aspero frameset as the other A-Series bikes
- Lower, more stable road-like feel from overall geometry, chainstay length, BB drop
- Longer toptube moves COG back; low forward position; 62mm optimal Trail
- Accepts 700c x 43mm tires / 650b x 51mm tires; minimum 4mm side clearance
- Trail Mixer fork dropouts can be switched for +/- 5mm selectable fork offset
- Basic Rule (For 700c): Small(OD)= -5, Big(OD)= +5
- Forward position=decreased trail=faster handling
- Rearward position=increased trail=slower handling
- Trail Mixer design maintains BB drop, effective headtube angle in any setting
- Squoval.Max tube designs, enlarged and enhanced for rough surfaces
- Full carbon tapered fork designed for Aspero, with thru-axle, Flat Mount disc
- Fork features aero integration to downtube with larger, stouter crown design
- Large downtube BBright shell transition deftly into oversized dropped chainstays
- Carbon lay-up, round seatpost, larger volume tires contribute to rider comfort
- Internal routing, downtube hose guide; option for cabled/hydraulic dropper post
- Frameset 1x/2x compatible, with mechanical or electronic shifting systems
- Bolt-on downtube frame protector, two bolt toptube bag mount w/cover
- Threaded thru-axles: 12/100mm fork, 12/142mm rear
- Front derailleur braze-on mount is removed for 1x chainring set-up
- Apex 1 HRD 1x11; Apex 1 40t crankset, Cervélo BBright Connect GXP BB, PG-1130 11-42 cassette, PC-1110 11s chain
- Flat Mount HRD disc calipers with 160mm Centerline CL rotors
- Alexrims Boondocks 7-D Wheelset, 700x40 Donnelly XPlor MSO tires
- Easton cockpit: EA50 AX bar, EA50 stem, EA50 27.2 seatpost
- Cervélo Road Saddle
- Includes eTap battery, USB cord, charging dock
- Color: Burgundy / Orange, Metallic Olive / Dune
- Sizes: 48, 51, 54, 56, 58 cm (48, 51, 54 have Zero offset seatpost)
- Weight: tbd (54cm)