Cervélo means ‘bike brain’ — well, sort of… The name Cervélo is a combination of the word cervello which means ‘brain’ in Italian and the word ‘vélo’ which every rider is fairly familiar with.
Like any good bike company, the name encompasses what they are about. Cervélo was founded by two engineers, Gerard Vroomen and Phil White who both had experience working in the bicycle and human powered vehicle design. The two put their bike-brains together to create a new brand with the goal of engineering the fastest most aerodynamic bikes anyone had ever seen.
In 1995, World Champ Gianni Brugno approached the duo and asked them to design for him the fastest time trial bike ever. Gerard and Phil came up with the goods designing a bike that even by modern standards would be considered radical. It tested extremely well, but unfortunately wasn’t a hit with Brugno’s sponsors and was never raced…radical is one way of describing its appearance.
But they had proven that they could do it, and reworked their designs aiming for a slightly more practical TT machine that still out performed the rest in wind tunnel testing.
The focus remains on the track and the road at Cervélo. All of their bike models are tested extensively and developed using computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel testing to create bikes with the optimum combination of aerodynamics, stiffness, lightness and comfort.
It’s no surprise that Cervélo bikes are ridden by some of the greatest individual riders, triathletes and racing teams in the world.
You won’t find a huge range of Cervélo bikes out there. That is because they aim at the top end of the market. The goal has always been to create high-performance bikes suited specifically to competition.
Cervélo’s R-series bikes are road racing machines: lightweight, rigid, and comfortable, they are suited to a range of road cycling disciplines and can be seen climbing the hills of the Tour de France, piloted by GC Contenders.
Developed for one thing; speed. The S-series Cervélo bikes have been rigorously wind tested so that frame shapes adopt the most aggressive aero-profile possible. Sprinters and criterium racers favour the S-series bikes.
The spiritual successor of that first TT bike, the P-series is designed with time trialling and triathlon in mind. Sleek, rigid, and aerodynamic to the extreme, these bikes are designed to get up to top speed and stay there.
Cervélo has been manufacturing track bikes since the early days. At the Beijing Olympics over forty competitors rode Cervélo bikes resulting in ten medals out of the bunch. That’s a pretty good record.
Working closely with elite athletes has its benefits. Cervélo develops bikes for riders and in doing so aids in the development of riders themselves. They have a strong record of supporting riders internationally, in both UCI events, at Olympic Games’ and at international triathlon and Iron Man competitions.