All About Zwift’s New Cervelo S5 2020 Bike Frame

All About Zwift’s New Cervelo S5 2020 Bike Frame

UPDATE: Zwift’s minor version 1.16.2 update released September 2, 2021 included this note: Fixed an issue with the Cervelo S5 2020 having incorrect aerodynamic values. This tweak slowed the frame down a bit, but it’s still the fastest in game… barely! Numbers below have been updated based on today’s tests with version 1.16.2.

Zwift’s August 2021 update included a new bike frame: the S5 2020 from Cervelo.

The original Cervelo S5 has been in the game since beta days, and is still a favorite among Zwifters because it’s fast. So we were anxious to test the updated S5! But we had to wait a few days after its release, because a bug in the bike’s setup caused it to not be as aero as intended. Once Zwift released their minor update, the aero rating on this frame went from 2 stars to 3, and we were ready to test.

Here’s how the frame is described in the Zwift Drop Shop:

“The S5 prioritizes aerodynamic performance and stiffness, making it a platform preferred by the fastest sprinters in the world. Don’t think it’s a one-trick pony, though – despite the lateral stiffness, the S5 delivers an incredibly comfortable ride. You’ve no doubt noticed the now-iconic V-Stem. Cervelo has optimized that shape to deliver the best possible performance in the wind, hiding cables inside, and making enough bar/stem/stack options to fit just about anyone.”

The frame is rated 3 stars for aero, 3 for weight – the same as other top racing frames in Zwift. (Only TT frames get a 4-star aero rating.) You’ll have to be level 27+ to purchase it in game, at a price of 852,000 Drops.

The Cervelo S5 2020, IRL

Cervelo is known for unique and fast frame designs, and we know the reviews say the IRL (in real life) bike is zippy. But IRL performance doesn’t always map directly to Zwift performance, so we ran this frame through our standard tests to learn how it performs in Zwift. And the results are something racers will want to see!

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Cervelo S5 2020 in Zwift…

Aero Performance

The S5 2020 turns in a faster flat test time than any existing road frame on Zwift, beating the Specialized Venge S-Works by 1 second in our ~50-minute test. The only frames faster on Zwift at this time are TT frames.

The Cervelo S5 2020 is also 1.5 seconds faster than the original Cervelo S5.

The S5 2020 turns in a time of 51:17.5 on our test course (two laps of Tempus Fugit). By comparison, the Zwift Aero frame turns in a time of 51:25.

Climb Performance

Rated at 3 stars for weight, we knew the S5 2020 wasn’t going to perform like a lightweight climber. But Zwift’s star rating system isn’t very granular – two bikes can be rated at 3 stars but have significant time gaps between them. So we had to find out just where this bike sits among the aero frames in terms of climbing performance.

Our tests show that the Cervelo S5 2020 climbs at precisely the same speed as the Specialized Venge S-Works. This means it climbs the Alpe 3 seconds faster than the original S5 frame.

The S5 2020 turns in an Alpe du Zwift time of 49:08. By comparison, the current fastest climbing frame (Specialized Aethos) turns in a time of 48:49.

Note: all test results above are from a 75kg, 183cm rider holding 300W steady using Zwift’s stock 32mm carbon wheelset.

Conclusions

When originally released, this frame’s performance was so outstanding that it almost forced racers to choose it. Then Zwift released the minor version 1.16.2 update which nerfed the frame a bit – and we think that’s a good thing.

Having it be just 1 second faster than the former faster frames means racers can select from a wider variety of frames without feeling like they’re giving themselves a major disadvantage.

Still, it big news that the Cervelo S5 2020 is the new king of the aero hill on Zwift! We’re sure many riders will be using it to maximum advantage any time they ride flat or rolling races (routes like Crit City, Watopia Hilly or flat, Volcano Circuit, Sand and Sequoias, Classique, most of France, etc.)

Due to this frame’s incredible aero performance we’ll be updating the following posts:

Additionally, whenever a new frame is added to the Drop Shop we add it to our Master Zwift Frames List and update the following:

Questions or Comments?

Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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Carsten Re. from Germany
Carsten Re. from Germany
14 days ago

Many thanks for this quick update ! … 6sec slower is a huge nerfing … but yes, we’ll see wider variety in races then. Are there any changes planned with the Scott Addict RC and DT Swiss Disc, too ?

Neill Ungerer
Neill Ungerer
14 days ago

Where does the new Pina Dogma sit compared to the C5? It’s supposed to have better star ratios even.

Carsten Re. from Germany
Carsten Re. from Germany
13 days ago
Reply to  Neill Ungerer

the new C5 is 4sec faster on the flats, but the Dogma F climbs 9sec faster in the 50min-tests

Mike Tighe
Mike Tighe (@mbdtighe)
14 days ago

Perfect timing! I was just about to buy this but I think I’ll continue earning drops to get the DT Swiss Arc 1100 DICUT wheelset! 1sec over the Venge S-Works isn’t tempting enough, although it is a beautiful frame.

Carsten Re. from Germany
Carsten Re. from Germany
13 days ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

oh yes … I would need it in yellow, please 🙂

Carsten Re. from Germany
Carsten Re. from Germany
13 days ago
Reply to  Mike Tighe

Hahaha … lucky moment for you … giving 852.000 drops would have been a very expensive second 😉

Temps 09
Temps 09
13 days ago

So back to what to the situation was before with the fast frames with the Aug update, Tron or standard road frame with disc wheels after level 35. Was hoping to have a situation where disc wheels was not allowed in non TT or TTT races for the varity in frame/wheelset setups.

Gil_SantaMaria
Gil_SantaMaria
13 days ago

It seems to me that the Specialized people didn’t really like Cervelo being much faster than Venge S-Work….no surprise that the Zwift team downgraded….the shareholder is always right

Rhisiart
Rhisiart
13 days ago

I want a refund!

gil_santamaria
gil_santamaria
13 days ago
Reply to  Rhisiart

I’m still waiting for the refund of my Canyon Aeroad 2020….without hope

Crankenstein
Crankenstein
13 days ago

Another day, another nerfing. Well at least Zwift is nothing if not predictable.

ShakeNBakeUK
Member
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk_2)
13 days ago

called it 😀

Jacob Marx
Jacob Marx
12 days ago

Its a shame for us drop poor who would have gone for the DT Swiss disc had I known Zwift was going to drop its speed by soo much

Alex Ayoub
Alex Ayoub
11 days ago

Thanks for the updates, Eric. You know, when a card is nerfed in Hearthstone, you get two weeks to get the full cost to craft it refunded. Why we cannot sell back frames/wheels after nerfs for their original cost remains a mystery to me. Canyon Aeroad also comes to mind…

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