R3 vs S2
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Thread: R3 vs S2

  1. #1
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    R3 vs S2

    Hello all,

    It is time for me to get a new bike - I am currently on a Cannondale CAAD 9-1 and although I really enjoy it, it is a bit big for me (63cm frame when I need a 60/61). I do some pretty fast group rides - around 33 - 38 km/hr at a length of 100 kms or so. I am also going to be getting into Duathlons in the very near future.

    I have been a long time admirer of Cervelo and am considering either the R3 or the S2. On the one hand the R3 seems like the bike for me as it is closer in geometry and ride characteristics of my current bike. However, I am a bit concerned that it may be a little more relaxed geo wise and a little flexy for my size (6'4 200 lbs). I like the idea of the S2 and having a more aero bike, but I do a lot of group road rides with some curvy roads here and there and am worried that crosswinds may be a problem, not to mention that it may be more of a straightline bike and less of a climber/all-around bike.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Cheers all

  2. #2
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    Went through the same question a few years ago... ended up with an R3. To me, the aero benefit wasn't worth it when you figure what that difference means to someone who doesn't race. Over 100km you're talking about a handful of seconds at best. Plus, I would suggest that at your size YOU present such a significant aero "disadvantage" that the little bit you might pick up on an aero frame is negligible.

    The R3 is plenty stiff for a 200lb rider, so I wouldn't sweat that.

    PS - Cervelo has a "Weight vs Aero: Ask The Engineers" page on their website. Here's the link, but the site seems down currently:

    www.cervelo.com/en/engineering/thinking-and-process/weight-vs-aero.html
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response and I agree on my aero "disadvantage:

    The thing I like about the S2 is the head tube length on the 61 size frame is 2.5 cm smaller than the 61 R3. One of my problems right now on my CAAD 9 is that the head tube is too long so I can't get low enough * the CAAD 9 headtube is 22 cm just like the R3).

    Also, did you just choose the R3 because you saw no benefit in the Aero of the S2 - or were there other reasons? I guess I am trying to find out what I am giving up by going with the S2 over the R3 - I am guessing climbing ability and cornering?

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    I own a '08 R3sl and '09 S2.
    Here's what I have found. The 3T Funda Pro fork works well on the S2 on the R3 I did not like it from the first ride and switched to an Enve 2.0 which I find rides better. Both my rides have the older 68mm B.B. I believe the newer ones have the bb right. The R3 rear end is compliant yet stiff, as for the S2 I found riding a set of clincher 404's brutal but tubular's were fine.
    Both are fine rides and the warranties (if needed) are among the best around (atleast in my area). The S2 tends to keep speed and a straight line (esp) in a group, the R3 has a slightly longer T.T. and is comfortable for both all day and shorter punchy rides.

  5. #5
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    Oops, a couple other things.
    Regarding head tube height, Cervelo builds them taller for 'the masses" but a -17 degree stem takes care of most of that.
    Most people with R3's find the 3T fork fine.
    I am not sure you are giving up much if you choose the R3 over the S2. While the R3 is a little more comfortable, when you fiddle with tire pressure and maybe riding a carbon wheelset, the differences with comfort begin to fade that much more on the S2. I wonder if your build may smooth the rear stays out on the S2 just that little bit more to make it even more comfortable.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chillax View Post
    Thanks for the response and I agree on my aero "disadvantage:

    The thing I like about the S2 is the head tube length on the 61 size frame is 2.5 cm smaller than the 61 R3. One of my problems right now on my CAAD 9 is that the head tube is too long so I can't get low enough * the CAAD 9 headtube is 22 cm just like the R3).

    Also, did you just choose the R3 because you saw no benefit in the Aero of the S2 - or were there other reasons? I guess I am trying to find out what I am giving up by going with the S2 over the R3 - I am guessing climbing ability and cornering?

    Cheers
    R3 a little lighter, a little more responsive, and more confortable on longer rides. As mentioned by cantride55 you can get a lower height with the right stem. I removed all the spacers, cut the steerer down, and flipped the stem on the R3. Plenty low enough, yet still fine on 100mi rides.
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

  7. #7
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    I have both, an 08 R3-SL and a 12 S2, both in 61cm (and I am 95kg and 194cm). My thoughts on both:

    R3-SL - I have had it for 3 yrs and love it, plenty stiff in the BB (but the S2 is stiffer down there) and comfortable in the rear, it is my "go to" bike. I have Dura Ace 7800 on it and with my CL-24 wheels comes in at 7.15kg.

    S2 - I have had it 12 months now, the first thing I noticed it is stiffer in the BB, there is a slight weight disadvantage over the R3-SL. The S2 has a SRAM Red groupset. With the same wheel set it comes in at 7.25kg. I find it better on the smoother roads, but not as nice on the rougher stuff.

    Also remember the geo has changed on the R series, my 08 R3-SL in 61cm has the same head tube length as the 11/12/13/14 58cm at 199mm, and roughly (if not the same geo). The 08 61cm fits me like a glove and I find it really comfortable on it, if I was to update to a newer R series I would look at a 58cm.

    I am actually looking at a 2012 S3, with Red, supposed to be stiffer, lighter.....do I need it, will it make me go faster, probably not, can I have it....Hell yes!!!

    I hope this helps.

    Pete
    Last edited by ralph1; 09-03-2013 at 01:04 AM.
    cheers

    Pete

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph1 View Post
    I have both, an 08 R3-SL and a 12 S2, both in 61cm (and I am 95kg and 194cm). My thoughts on both:

    R3-SL - I have had it for 3 yrs and love it, plenty stiff in the BB (but the S2 is stiffer down there) and comfortable in the rear, it is my "go to" bike. I have Dura Ace 7800 on it and with my CL-24 wheels comes in at 7.15kg.

    S2 - I have had it 12 months now, the first thing I noticed it is stiffer in the BB, there is a slight weight disadvantage over the R3-SL. The S2 has a SRAM Red groupset. With the same wheel set it comes in at 7.25kg. I find it better on the smoother roads, but not as nice on the rougher stuff.

    Also remember the geo has changed on the R series, my 08 R3-SL in 61cm has the same head tube length as the 11/12/13/14 58cm at 199mm, and roughly (if not the same geo). The 08 61cm fits me like a glove and I find it really comfortable on it, if I was to update to a newer R series I would look at a 58cm.

    I am actually looking at a 2012 S3, with Red, supposed to be stiffer, lighter.....do I need it, will it make me go faster, probably not, can I have it....Hell yes!!!

    I hope this helps.

    Pete
    How do you find the S2 climbs and corners compared to the R3? What about out of the seat acceleration/sprints?

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    It does not climb as good as the R3, corners.........maybe just better, acceleration and sprints, feels better due to the stiffer BB. I have a favourite corner (don't laugh) where I can hit it at 40kph, and on the S2 I can jump out of the saddle and hit near 65 without any trouble (it has a slight downhill).
    Last edited by ralph1; 09-03-2013 at 03:45 AM.
    cheers

    Pete

    Trek Emonda SL8 with 9000
    Trek Madone 6.9 with 9000

    >Space reserved for next bike<

  10. #10
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    I had the same debate last year and ended up picking up the S2 (they had it in stock, in my size and on sale).

    Coming from an alum. framed Cx bike, the S2 is actually quite a pleasant change for my ample rear (6', down to ~225# now from 260# at the start of the year). The R series will be more compliant, especially on the long hauls, but for us bigger guys, the S2 is still plenty forgiving....even on my rough roads. Granted, I am also running 25 mm tires, so that may be assisting things in that regards.

    Having ridden in some pretty dang windy conditions, I can say that the aero tubes of the S2 don't make that much of a difference for cross winds...a set of aero wheels (esp. a deeper front) are far more noticeable. I do know that the bike does like (and the aero benefits come creeping out of the woodwork) when you get faster. In the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year, I was coasting past people who were pedalling...partly because of my extra momentum and partly because the bike is a hair bit more slick (depending on how aero you can get...for us big guys, that can be an issue).

    I can't say that there is a disadvantage on the hills...my S2 seems to like climbing and really likes to carve the corners. But...having said that....I haven't had a back to back with an R3, so take that with a grain of salt.

    I personally don't think you can go wrong with either bike, so ride both and see which "talks" to you more. The R will likely be a hair more comfy, the S can likely be made a bit quicker if you're thinking of racing (i.e. aero wheels and clip-ons for duals and tri work). Have fun trying them out and let us know what you decide
    So 10 times wasn't enough and I'm going back again:my participant page for the 2019 Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer.

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  11. #11
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    I agree with MercRidnMike, the concern in cross winds involves the choice of wheels rather than tubes. Bladed spokes and/or deeper rims catch the wind.

    While the geometry of the R3 might be considered closer to your CAAD, in your case, I would not see that as a plus. When you find yourself trying to get lower and you find the geometry to be a hindrance in that respect then it is time for a new geometry, one that works for you. I am at the other end of the size spectrum from you. I started with a size 51 Cervelo RS (much like Cervelo's new geometry) but over time found myself wanting to get lower. I acquired a used S3 in size 48 (same geometry as S2). With the S3, it was easier to adjust the bike to the height that I wanted the handlebars. It is easier to add or remove a spacer then it is to play with stem angles. A -17 degree stem is not a panacea. The solution could involve a -17 degree stem but adding back a spacer or two or the solution could be a -10 degree stem without spacers. There is a large gap in stem offerings between -10 and -17 degrees. It took me forever in adjustments to get the handlebars on the RS to the level where they are on the S3.

    If you are looking to get lower on your existing bike and want a new bike then look at bicycles that have a "long and low" geometry. As an example, Felt F1 (like the Cervelo R series) or the Felt AR (like the Cervelo S series.) Another example is Orbea. Orbea has recognized the need for 2 geometries. Previous to 2014, the Orbea Orca had a geometry that was like the newer Cervelo geometry. In 2014, the Orca is offered with 2 geometries including "long and low". Trek with its H1 geometry is another alternative.

    There is much to admire about Cervelo. However, other companies have caught on and have applied themselves competitively.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone I really appreciate it.

    As for my current geometry, I do not have a problem with except for the length of the headtube (22.5 cm) which is insanely long, it keeps me in more of an upright position than I would like. I agree that I could start fiddling with different stems with a negative degree, but I would rather start with a shorter headtube and then fiddle with stems etc. Other than that I don't have a problem with the CAAD geometry.

    I am willing to look at other bikes as well - but am mainly focusing on the R3 and S2 - once I get a chance to ride both maybe my opinion will change. I just wanted to make sure that the S2 can be a do-it-all bike and that it is not meant purely for flat straightline cycling.

  13. #13
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    I brought my 2011 S2 back in the spring of of 2012. I test ridden both the R3 and S3 the fall of 2011 when my LBS had a Cervelo Demo day. I went with the S2.

    On all of my rides, I pass all bikers on a regular basis descending on any hills if we both are even at the top with me and the other cyclists just coasting. I found the S2 to be quicker climbing hills. Most cyclists feel the R3 is a better climber. I think if you should test ride both bikes and decide for yourself.

    To address your concern on cross-wind, I wouldn't worry about it. I don't notice any cross-winds on windy day with the lower profile alloy wheels(23mm). However, when I upgraded to a set of 38mm carbon clincher, I do feel the wind pushing the bike more on super windy days(15+mph). I have gotten accustom to it now after 4 and half months riding on them and hardly notice it.

    Like Giro Man, I am also a small stature rider(5'6", 145lb) and found no problem getting into the aero tuck riding position with the bike geometry. Though it did help that I trimmed down the steering tubing and removed some spacers.

    Bottom line: Test ride and ask the sales rep every question you can think of. Btw, here is a photo of my S2, though I will be upgrading my Rival crank to Red this afternoon.
    "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Also, does anyone know if the S2 and the R3 can fit 25 width tires?

    Cheers

  15. #15
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    This is often discussed on the forum at Cervelo.com

    With my RS and S3 Vittoria Rubino Pro or other Vittoria's will fit in a 25 width but not all tire makers of that width will fit. Continental GP4000 is a fairly tall tire and will not fit in a 25 width. My recollection of discussions is that the S2 may have more tire clearance than other Cervelo models. While you did not ask, the Cervelo S5 is "optimised" for a 23 width.

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