The P3X: A new triathlon-specific bike from Cervelo

Cervelo launches its latest triathlon-specific bike, the P3X. A detailed look at the new bike which is lighter, stiffer and less expensive than the groundbreaking P5X.

| March 21, 2019 | GEAR

The first test ride on the new Cervelo P3X.

The first test ride on the new Cervelo P3X.

Photo >Marcus Baranski

At first glance the new P3X looks very much like the P5X introduced in 2016. That model was manufactured in the United States in cooperation with HED. The new P3X, like the vast majority of carbon bikes, is being manufactured in Asia. Thanks to the changes in manufacturing and some other innovations to the frame and components, Cervelo has managed to make some dramatic changes in the P3X - it is lighter, stiffer and less expensive than it's "big brother," the P5X.

Graham Shrive introduces Cervelo's new P3X

Like its "big brother," the P3X also uses a single-beam frame in which the main frame is connected to the rear wheel by the massive chain stays - there's no seat tube. The saddle is held by a beam, or swingarm, which also replaces the top tube. Like the P5X, disc brakes and thru axles are part of the picture, something which is becoming a new standard in the industry.

The new Cervelo P3X

The new Cervelo P3X

Photo >Marcus Baranski

The idea behind the P5X was to build an aero bike that triathletes could carry three round bottles with, along with gels, bars and other nutritional needs, without any aero penalty. The recently announced P5 is designed as a bike legal for UCI racing and comes with its own aero water bottle. Cervelo's P3X is designed, like the P5X, to carry round drinking bottles that can be attached in a variety of different positions. The most common set up will be to have the bottles behind the saddle, between the arms and above the bottom bracket - which seems to be a popular option for most triathletes.

In order to simplify the front cockpit (and reduce weight and cost), the new P3X offers a different basebar than that seen on the P5X. The one-piece bar can't be broken down for transport and you get somewhat less ability to angle the aero extensions, but there are still four positions available: 0, 5, 10 and 15 degrees, so you can still dial in a comfortable and aero position.

The base bar can be mounted in two different positions (putting your hands in a high or low position). You can easily adjust your cockpit position, too, thanks to an improved version of the Speed Riser System that allows you to easily move the "mast" up or down to dial in the perfect height.

Storage options abound - as they did with the P5X - in the form of a variety of "boxes." There's a newly designed front storage box for a spare tube and CO2 cartridge, a new "bento" box that replaces the zipper with a rubber opening and the same storage box over the bottom bracket for larger storage needs.

Test riding the new P3X in Arizona.

Test riding the new P3X in Arizona.

Photo >Marcus Baranski

The P3X feels considerably lighter than the P5X, but compared to other tri bikes it remains heavy thanks to all that storage and material. A size 54, with Speedplay pedals and training wheels, weighed about 9.7 kilograms.

On a first test ride in Arizona, however, the P3X provided an extremely stable ride. Thanks to the various changes that have trimmed some weight and added eight percent more stiffness at the head tube and 15 percent more stiffness at the bottom bracket (along with thru-axle technology), the bike corners and climbs much better than the P5X. This is an aero bike designed for those looking to carry lots of nutrition for long training rides or races. While some might steer clear of the P3X because of its appearance, in our view the concept behind Cervelo's approach with the P3X is definitely worthwhile.

The P3X will be available in sizes S, M, L and XL and in two configurations. Both configurations include Shimano's Ultegra Di2 gruppo and hydraulic disc brakes. The bike costs 7,999 euros (US$8,500) with DT Swiss P1800 wheels, or 9,999 euros (US$10,000) with DT Swiss ARC 1450 48/62 wheels.