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  1. #1
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    Need help deciding: S5 or 2014 S3

    I have a chance to upgrade my bike and I am considering these two choices. I ride 4 -5 times a week, between 35-40mi, and the weekend is always a long ride (70-80mi). Understood that there are some compromises on an aero bike as far as comfort, but given that where I live is mostly flat (FL), I definitely want an aero ride (besides that I love these two bikes).

    I have heard comments that S5 could be a harsh ride, and that S3 is more comfortable for long distances. Also, I believe the S5 is 100gr heavier than S3 (which is not a big difference), but you are getting a more aero profile.

    I appreciate your thoughts as to which one will be a better choice. There is only $500 difference between the two models so I am torn. I have not seen a lot of info on the S3, as it was recently launched.


    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    My experience with the s3 was a test ride around the block. I went with the s5 and found it to be better than my trek 2.1. That being said my riding profile is close to yours and I enjoy the s5. Did 80 miles today and 4500+ ft of climbing.

  3. #3
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    Personally I would and did go with an S5 (see signature). I had to decide between S5 and S2 so an easier choice. I am sure the S3 is a great bike and if you had some mountains then I would probably go with an S3 but in Florida I would go with an S5. I bought my S5 when I lived along the Gulf Coast, now I live at the base of some mountains on the west coast. The S5 is fine for climbing, not the best bike for climbing but its fine. It's in its element on the flats though. The ride is not that harsh for a race bike, I think the Venge is much harsher.
    2012 Cervelo S5 Team
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisgarenas View Post

    I appreciate your thoughts as to which one will be a better choice. There is only $500 difference between the two models so I am torn. I have not seen a lot of info on the S3, as it was recently launched.
    I had the S5 before.



    Now I have the S3



    I could not be happier. The S5 was a revelation to me in terms of aerodynamic effect and the monstrous bottom bracket transferred every bit of power to the wheels.

    The S5 was a bit harsh though, particularly up front. I went to the S5 from a Supersix Evo, and found that 30km/h (20mph) was the threshold where the S5 started to shine. The Evo was more in its element up to 30km/h, but beyond that, the S5 was everything one could hope it would be.

    I have been surprised too that there has not been more reviews about the S3.

    In my opinion, Cervelos attempt to marry the best aero features of the S5, and the comfort of the R5 really is a success.

    I fell in love with the aero features of the S5, to the extent that I can't imagine having a non-aero bike now.

    The S3 really does feel every bit as fast as the S5, except when going really fast like 45-50km/h on the flats, but the added comfort and added front end stiffness more than compensates for that.

    I would definitely recommend the S3.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need help deciding: S5 or 2014 S3-912305105e799d3129412670373c2f82.jpg  

  5. #5
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    I have neither and have ridden neither, but have some insight into the S5. I have two friends that had S5's and hated 'em. One guy in particular had a 61cm VWD and sold it within three months taking a substantial loss. The front end was a mess. Too whippy. He's a long time road rider/racer and used it for spirited Florida rides. (flat and FAST).

    With this personal anecdote, the fact that the Garmin team stopped using 'em and the fact that eBay is littered with lightly used S5's makes me believe its a dog. YMMV.

    Get the S3

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for the insights. I have decided to move with the S3. As Sacke mentioned, It seems to have the best of both R and S worlds. I will share a picture as soon as I bring it home!

  7. #7
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    Need help deciding: S5 or 2014 S3-20140702_185954.jpg

    And finally, after a lot of back and forth with the LBS, reading few reviews, and understanding the fine balance between my needs and my wants...here it is!!!

    Today I had my first ride. Mind that on my previous bike I had a retul done couple months ago, and I still I wasn't feeling perfectly comfortable (I always developed back pain after the first half hour on my TCR SL2).

    I started slowly, trying to get a read on how the bike handles. Then I decided to push hard....
    I have to say I notice the difference from my previous bike... specially how smooth the ride feels. It is a whole another level.

    Back pain? Discomfort? Nothing. I was feeling great, and I spend a good amount of the ride on the drops.

    It feels heavy because of the stock wheels (Mavic Cosmic set weights 1770 gr). And still I was able to hit some PR on my usual route! I just dream on how it will fly with a decent set of aero wheels...

    Tomorrow I have a 60mi group ride, that will be the real test, but from the 18.5 miles I did this morning, I am totally convinced I made the right choice!

    By the way, here is a very good review between the R3 and S3...Again, just reassured I made the right choice!

    The Cervelo R3 and S3 | RKP

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisgarenas View Post

    And finally, after a lot of back and forth with the LBS, reading few reviews, and understanding the fine balance between my needs and my wants...here it is!!!
    Congratulations! I knew you would be happy.

    That saddle angle looks painful though... You must be having all of your body weight on your arms, and push back on the pedals to keep your butt on the saddle.

    Would it not help to have the saddle more level? Or is that the way the saddle was positioned by the Retul study?

    By the way. That review was really interesting!
    Last edited by Sacke; 07-04-2014 at 01:41 AM.

  9. #9
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    Nice bike, enjoy. I am also in South Florida, and since it's totally flat, but windy, weight means nothing, it's all aerodynamics.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisgarenas View Post
    Mind that on my previous bike I had a retul done couple months ago, and I still I wasn't feeling perfectly comfortable (I always developed back pain after the first half hour on my TCR SL2).
    The fit on that S3 looks horrible to me. You had a Retul fit on your previous bike and weren't even comfortable after it? And your new bike looks like that? I strongly suggest making them redo your fit for free or at least going somewhere that has a clue to do a fitment on you. Where you went is horrible.

    Your seat is angled down and your handlebars are angled up. That would give me so much pain, and it wouldn't take too long to set in either. You also have almost no drop from saddle to bars.

    Are you incredibly tight in the waist? Very unflexible? I'm guessing you cannot touch your toes if you bend over legs straight. I'm guessing by that fit that you can hardly reach down past your knees.

    It's a nice bike but you'll never enjoy it properly until you have a proper fitting.
    use a torque wrench

  11. #11
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    Vey good and valid observations. Thanks guys!

    I have a Retul appointment this Monday. For sure, changes are needed, in particular with the saddle. This setup wasn't done right and I felt it yesterday on a 53mi ride.

    Aside from that, I was surprised on how well the bike handles and how responsive it is.

  12. #12
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    Whoever let a bike leave their shop like that should be shot. When you actually have it setup somewhat normal, you'll love the bike even more.

  13. #13
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    How can someone tell if the fitment is off without the rider at least sitting on the bike?

  14. #14
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    Seats should be level. If it's extreme in one direction or the other, it's going to cause pressure points. Too much weight on hands, patellar tendinitis, numb nuts, the list goes on.

  15. #15
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    Just wondering......is the carbon on the S3 the same as that of the S5 or is it of a lower grade?

  16. #16
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    Same carbon, but Cervelo is kinda secretive about what they use. Each of their bikes is different and different types are used in different areas.

  17. #17
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    I'm told the VWD either uses different carbon (doubt it) or the lay up is different then the regular S5.
    Had a 2013 Vwd S5 7500 km's on her before it was stolen.....Grrrrrrrr.
    I scraped together enough to grab a '14 S3 frame set.

    The S5 is like a porn star. What she does, she does well and there really isn't anything she won't do.....for a price.
    The S3 is the porn stars little sister. She is as attractive, a little quieter with less maintenance needs. Slightly longer chain stays and similar thin seat stays as the R5 lend to a little softer ride then the S5. The front end, simply works.
    If I had the wheelset stolen on the S5 I could give a little more. That being said, at half the price of the S5 VWD (actually under 50 %) the S3 delivers 95% of what the S5 did. Slightly less aero, but if you can tell that easily you are most likely sponsored anyways. The S3 seems to hold a line as well as the S5, there is no noticeable lag in spinning the bike to speed and it performs at speed rather well
    Any one would be satisfied with the S3 and use the couple grad savings on a SRM or nice wheel set. Just my opinion.

  18. #18
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    Great information on this thread. I'm in the same boat - trying to decide between a S3 and S5 - except now that Cervelo has redesigned the S5 I wonder if that changes in opinions. I haven't been able to find any ride reviews of the new S5 since it hasn't been released yet, so it may be hard to say. My gut tells me the S3 is the way to go. I live in Tennessee, which consists of short (less than a mile) steep climbs and rolling hills. There's not a lot of pure flats. That seems to fit the S3 better from what I've read. You think they've closed the gap some with the new release?

    I'm a Cat 2 road racer - 5'7" 140 pounds if that makes a difference.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cantride55 View Post
    I'm told the VWD either uses different carbon (doubt it) or the lay up is different then the regular S5.
    Had a 2013 Vwd S5 7500 km's on her before it was stolen.....Grrrrrrrr.
    I scraped together enough to grab a '14 S3 frame set.

    The S5 is like a porn star. What she does, she does well and there really isn't anything she won't do.....for a price.
    The S3 is the porn stars little sister.
    That is the weirdest analogy I've ever heard....especially since the S5 is pretty much the ugliest bike of all time...that would make it a...Ron Jeremy?

    Car comparisons are easier than adult film star comparisons :P

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