after a rather embarrassing 7 years at the top of this fairly meaningless summit, Cervelo was demoted to third in the cyclingnews.com reader’s survey of Best Team Bike of 2012, with the Specialized McLaren Venge taking top spot.
why meaningless? the question is asked as part of a series of questions to choose the ‘Best Of’ in several categories, but whereas asking ‘who is you favorite rider’ has a point, asking ‘which team has the best bike?’ is pointless – unless you’ve ridden them all, and i’d have to argue that there’s probably only a handful of people on the planet who’ve ridden every single WorldTour team bike.
i haven’t ridden the Mclaren version but i did manage to test the standard Venge for a couple of weeks – and i didn’t want to give it back. here’s what i wrote about it at the time:
Hands down one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden. A word of warning – be careful, very careful, on descents. This thing flies. Like, jet plane-flies. I cranked it up at the top of one of my favorite descents, a nice 4km hill with sweeping curves that starts with an 800m straight decline of about 5%, and when I came to bobble into the little dip I know so well the Venge decided to fly over it. Literally. Both wheels came off the ground and left my stomach in my upper rib-cage and my heart in my mouth.
I’ve ridden aero before, and good aero, but this is the real deal.
On the way up the climbs the bike is definitely not sluggish and you get back what you put in. It has a friskiness about it that feeds the rider a sense of confidence that may be misplaced, but that is the fun part about the great bikes – they often make you feel faster than you actually are.
On the flats I was powering along quite happily, slicing through headwinds like Bruce Lee through a bunch of extras, learning that sometimes – just sometimes, mind – marketing hype isn’t actually just hype.
The descent though – that was a thrill I’ll never forget. Thanks, Vengey.
in second place came the Pinarello Team Sky bike, which is not much of a surprise as Sky won a shed-load on it this year, but word on the street is that it is not a popular bike with some professionals who actually ride it. heavy and not particularly aero, Pinarello paid a whopping amount to sponsor the team til the end of 2013, after rumors were abound that the team was going to switch to Specialized.
in third was Cervelo, with readers voting on the S5 rather than the R5. i haven’t ridden an S5 yet so cannot comment, though its savings in the wind tunnel look impressive enough. the R5 i’ve been on since i switched teams in July and it’s a dream, an almost perfect machine. i’m currently and very eagerly awaiting the arrival of my R7 Cervelo which we’ll be on in 2013. a review of that bike will be up here as soon as i get hold of it.