Bike brand of the year part 2

You couldn't pick a winner between Cervelo and Canyon when it came to our 2016 awards. Today we feature our co-champion, Cervelo.

| December 14, 2016 | GEAR Awards: Bike brand of the year













Author >Kevin Mackinnon

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At the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Cervelo took the Kona bike count for the 12th straight time. The bike company that has become synonymous with our sport has managed to stare down some stiff competition from the rest of the bike-manufacturing world to maintain its stranglehold as the most popular bike seen on the Big Island every October.

Cervelo's roots are very much found in the world of triathlon. The company got its start in 1995 - basically the result of a research project by two McGill University (Montreal, Canada) students, Gerard Vrooman and Phil White. The two were determined to develop the world's fastest bike and that mantra continues to this day.

Renowned for its scientific approach to designing bikes, Cervelo has a reputation for spending lots of time in the wind tunnel honing the bikes. Their latest super-bike, the P5X, added a new twist to the endless wind-tunnel time. Rather than just focus on creating a faster bike, the engineers at Cervelo took into account the realities of full-distance racing - not only trying to ride fast, but also needing to carry lots of fuel (hydration and food) and other equipment. Before they even started designing the P5X the engineers looked at 14,500 photos of triathletes on bikes. Their analysis of all those photos showed them that athletes almost always use round water bottles (and want to carry three of them in an Ironman), and tend to store all their food and drinks in a variety of different ways. They also learned, in their research, that one of the most stressful parts of race week for triathletes is traveling with their bikes.

The end result was a bike that makes it easy to store three water bottles in a variety of different configurations. A bike that has lots of room to store gels, bars, a phone, a puncture kit or a spare tubular and much more. A bike that can be adjusted in lots of different ways so athletes can dial in the optimal fit. A bike that can easily be broken down to fit into its own customized bike case so traveling is a breeze. Oh, and it wouldn't be a new Cervelo bike if it wasn't faster, right? The P5X is 25 percent stiffer (lateral stiffness) than the P5 and tests faster than any other bike they could test it against with three water bottles and other storage.

The final product is very different from anything else on the market right now, but incorporates so many of the things that athletes want and that you’re seeing come out on more and more bikes at this time.

It serves the company vision, too. For years Cervelo was renowned for making fast bikes, but lots of other companies make really good, really fast bikes, too. In the same way that the company forged a new direction in bike design with the P3 back in the late 90s, the P5X will take bike design in a new direction in the late 2010s, too.

Whether it is Cervelo's rich history in the sport or the excitement of the new bike, the company continues to ride the wave at the top of the sport, earning our readers' pick as co-winner of bike brand of the year.