2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar Review
- MSRP: $6,500
- Frame: Carbon
- Tires: 700cx38c, compatible with 650b x 49mm wheelsets, as well as other wheelsets.
- Groupset: Campagnolo Ekar
- Drivetrain: 1×13
What we like about it: With the Cervelo Aspero-5, you’ll find that pursuing your speed limits is more fun than exploring gravel culture. With the Campagnolo Ekar package, you’ll just want to repeat each journey over and over again.
What we don’t like about it: Expensive components that are durable but still require you to maintain them carefully.
Similar to most gravel road bikes, the Cervelo Aspero-5 is built for freedom and exploration. But unlike similar bikes, the obsessive pursuit of speed reveals that it has the ambition to help every rider who loves gravel culture, to reach the top podium.
For starters, the redesigned, lighter carbon frame not only doesn’t lack the stiffness of the World Tour gravel bike but caters to faster speeds with a sharper line structure.
Secondly, the fork “Trail Mixer” design gives the rider more room to choose the tire size. Whether it’s 700cx42mm or 650bx49mm tires, or any other wheelset, you’ll feel the connection to the track with maximum control. Also gives it more functionality.
Also, consider those gravel riders are susceptible to large wind resistance in an open course without other protection. And the Cervelo Aspero-5 aerodynamic design will give riders a new gravel riding experience.
Last but not least, the super ergonomic, Campagnolo Ekar groupset, known as the off-road drivetrain ceiling, will be your perfect partner to the podium.
Here’s a breakdown of the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar’s ride, key features, components and specifications, and other versions.
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Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar Gravel Riding Review
For this review, we also traveled to beautiful Sedona Arizona, USA for a ride test.
If you love gravel culture and are eager to explore your limits, then you really can’t miss this review. The moment I got on the Cervelo Aspero-5, I couldn’t wait to push the pedal and the bike was soon running.
I must mention that the “da da” sound that accompanies the lightning-fast gear shift is so sensational. Its machine-gun-like sound immediately ignited my desire to ride.
I couldn’t help but pedal faster and faster, and as it got faster and faster, I got more and more excited watching the rows of little trees running behind me! Is this the charm of racing?
At the same time, it has a comfortable geometry. The near-upright riding position allows me to pedal at such a high frequency without feeling tired.
What impressed me the most was that it had great handling. I could cross with confidence when I encountered single-track trails. When I encountered a section that required a sharp turn, the bike also glided down with the arc of my hands swinging, quickly and steadily.
Although the fork has no travel, the integrated Carbon AB09 Handlebar and shock absorbing Seatpost (Cervelo SP19 27.2 Carbon) still make the bike feel fast without losing comfort.
Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar General Riding Review
While many people are used to calling the Cervelo Aspero-5 a “gravel bike”, I prefer to call it a “gravel road bike”. Not only because the “Trail Mixer” design allows it to be compatible with a wider range of wheelsets, but also because of its similar geometry to a road bike and its incredible speed.
When riding on city roads, I am used to using a 700x38c wheelset and I always keep a 4mm clearance between the tires and the frame. Because this, I am told, keeps the aerodynamics as fast as possible.
The geometry of the Cervelo Aspero-5 is more comfortable than the average racing road bike. Because on the road it still performed fast even though I didn’t pedal very hard.
Out of curiosity, considering its very aerodynamic design, what would happen if I took it for a race against a regular endurance road bike? My friend Liam and I rode his 2022 Cervelo Caledonia Ultegra and had a go at it. The Cervelo Caledonia Ultegra was a little better, but from the way we rode, it seemed that the Cervelo Aspero-5 was also very fast, at least compared to the average road bike. The Cervelo Aspero-5 is also very fast, at least compared to a normal road bike.
Therefore, if you want to use it as a fitness tool, it is equally suitable for both leisure riding and endurance riding.
Known for its lightness and strength, the carbon frame has long been a source of pride in Cervelo’s craftsmanship. The redesigned carbon frame of the Cervelo Aspero-5 is designed with the concept of blending riding and competition in mind.
With the use of higher-quality materials and upgraded technology, it has a lighter mass. In addition to reducing the weight of the frame, Cervelo has also optimized the frame tube shape and improved the aerodynamic performance so that the rider will not be afraid to fight against the headwinds of the grassland.
In addition, the new Aspero-5 features the same fork design as the Cervelo Caledonia-5 road bike. It allows the front end of the vehicle to be able to hide the brake line pipes and wires elegantly and beautifully. Similar to the shape of the road bike, with a very Italian-style Moss Plum, the whole body looks very beautiful.
It is worth mentioning that Cervelo Aspero-5 not only supports the drip tube sitting pole but also leaves three water bottle cage mounting holes, giving the user enough room for choice.
The geometry of the Cervelo Aspero-5 has not changed much, but it is still noteworthy.
First, the high Stack/Reach Ratio (1.46,56cm yards) ensures that the bike has a more comfortable geometry. The rider can ride in as upright a position as possible to handle longer gravel rides.
Secondly, the 72° Head Tube Angle is not too steep. This ensures that the tires can respond to steering more quickly, and also guarantees that the tires can climb effectively on single-track trails even at high speeds.
In addition, the shorter Chainstay Length (420mm) brings the rear tire closer to the rider, making the bike more agile.
When it comes to the geometry of the Cervelo Aspero-5, we have to mention the reverse chip in the fork – “Trail Mixer”. It can change the fork offset between 46 and 51mm, which facilitates the rider to switch between 700c (51mm) and 650b (46mm) wheelsets, guaranteeing the user has precise, sensitive, and stable control of the bike on any road.
Components and Specifications
Campagnolo Ekar, 13-speed Drivetrain
The Campagnolo Ekar, which represents the spirit of gravel freedom and adventure, is undoubtedly the best partner for the Cervelo Aspero-5. The technically improved Campagnolo Ekar shifting system is not only lightweight but is also rated as the top 1 in the speeder off-road world for its reliability, durability, and speed.
First of all, the Ekar offers 1X13 shifting, a wider range of gear ratios, and a more sheer gear ratio so that the Cervelo Aspero-5 doesn’t have to fear any surface. That’s right, with perfect gear ratios like the Ekar, riders have plenty of confidence. They can face every rough gravel road, as well as wet and muddy trails, at the fastest speed and with the most comfortable ride.
Secondly, the improved gear design makes the gear-shifting process easier and simpler. This reduces the possibility of rider error in the face of complex mountain road conditions.
Finally, the Campagnolo Ekar hand variant is too much of a crowd-pleaser. Riders familiar with the Campagnolo kit must be familiar with Ergo Power. The technically upgraded Ekar is not only easy to clean, but also has a more comfortable grip. And the shifter can be controlled as you like.
New Lever 3 design, up to 3 gears at a time with upshift paddle, downshift is one gear at a time, very simple and easy to operate.
The only thing that gives me a headache is its stock level (not as high as Shimano and Sram). If there is damage to the components, it is not very easy to purchase new replacements. Although Campagnolo components have always been known for their durability, I still take care to protect them from accidents.
Campagnolo Ekar Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Sticking to high performance and keeping with the Italian style philosophy, this is the brake system caliper of the Ekar. The new design and finish it adopts coordinate with the other components of the gravel kit.
The DB310 brake pads, are not only compatible with other Campagnolo disc brakes but also can produce high braking performance. The unique organic compound thus provides better wear resistance and allows the bike to have extremely fast braking performance in both wet and dry conditions.
It can be said that it can ensure just the right braking and deceleration performance. And the reliable braking system can make you feel more confident in riding. You can choose to venture out anytime and anywhere because Ekar’s braking system tends to perform perfectly for all kinds of road conditions.
Therefore, the strong, durable and lightweight Campagnolo Ekar Hydraulic Disc only makes the bike even better.
Panaracer Gravel King SK Tires
It’s a well-known fact that rolling weight is the heaviest weight on a bike. While it may be tempting to go for the craziest shifter or lighter frame, you have to realize that every ounce saved on a wheel/tire combo in riding is actually like an increase in horsepower. Therefore, using the lightweight Panaracer Gravel King SK vacuum tires gives the Cervelo Aspero-5’s tires more rolling efficiency.
However, we demand more from the Panaracer Gravel King SK than just lightweight. It is important to know that in world racing, gravel roads, whether dry or wet, is the rider’s worst enemy. So having extreme grip, being able to handle all kinds of on-road and off-road terrain, and giving the rider enough comfort to handle smooth or rough roads and tracks are also advantages that the Panaracer Gravel King SK cannot be ignored.
In addition, the inner tube-compatible setup is one of the main reasons why the Panaracer Gravel King SK is the best partner for the Cervelo Aspero-5. Although I prefer vacuum tires because they greatly reduce the risk of blowouts on gravel adventures, and the lower air pressure also makes the tires lighter.
Other versions of Cervelo Aspero-5
To meet the different needs of users of the groupset, Cervelo has also launched a sister series of the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar. The 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 GRX RX815 Di2 and the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1, as well as the higher-end 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Red XPLR eTap AXS 1.
The most essential difference between them is also obvious: they are upgraded on the groupset.
Admittedly, Campagnolo Ekar’s kit is not as well known as SRAM and Shimano. This has led to the purchase of its replacement components being a headache for most users. But you can’t deny that Campagnolo’s quality is impeccable, and this is what the two major manufacturers (SRAM and Shimano) need to learn from.
Therefore, users can choose to buy the components according to their needs for them, and I can only say that they each have their strengths.
Last but not least, it is worth reminding you that the Campagnolo Ekar is advantageous in terms of price. If you are on a budget, I believe it is enough to take you to a good view of the mountains and rivers of the United States. To learn more about the specific performance of the rest of the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 series, please read on. I will introduce the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1 as an example later.
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What we like about it
- High-quality carbon frame and fork, lighter and stronger.
- Although it is made for gravel riders, the “Trail Mixer” design of the fork gives it more wheelset options and applicability.
- Fast is its most obvious advantage, to help riders push their limits.
- The gravel-specific Panaracer Gravel King SK tires are not only durable but also have great grip to accompany you on all kinds of surfaces.
- The super-cost-effective Campagnolo Ekar groupset is simple, durable, and uncompromisingly comfortable.
- The fully concealed internal alignment design is not only aerodynamic but also highly aesthetic.
- Compared with similar bikes, it has more uphill advantages, while not losing speed on downhill or sprint.
What we don’t like about it
- Campagnolo Ekar’s groupset is durable but not convenient to buy replacement parts, so you need to pay more attention to maintenance.
1. What is the tire size of the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar?
The 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar has a tire size of 700x38c and is compatible with the 650b x 49mm wheelset as well as other sizes of wheelsets.
2. What does the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar’s drivetrain look like?
The 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar has a Campagnolo Ekar drivetrain, 1×13 speed.
3. What are the 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar brakes?
The 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar Brakes are Campagnolo Ekar HRD.
2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar Specs
|Frame||carbon Color: Moss Plum|
|Fork||Cervélo All-Carbon, Tapered Áspero-5 Fork with Adjustable Trail|
|Bottom Bracket||BB RIGHT Press-Fit PRO-TECH cups 79×46|
|Headset||Cervelo Indexed Thru-Axles w/ Lever, 12×100/142|
|Stem||Cervélo ST32 Alloy|
|Handlebar||Carbon AB09 16deg Flared Carbon|
|Saddle||Prologo Dimension NDR T4.0 OR Selle Italia NOVUS BOOST EVO Superflow Manganese|
|Seatpost||Cervélo SP19 27.2 Carbon|
|Rims||Fulcrum Rapid Red 300, 24h (F), 24h (R), 24mm IW, Center-Lock, 2-Way Fit|
|Tires||Panaracer Gravel King SK Folding 700×38|
|Rear Derailleur||Campagnolo Ekar 13 spd|
|Crank||Campagnolo Ekar 38T|
|Shifters||Campagnolo Ekar 13 spd|
|Cassette||Campagnolo Ekar 13 spd, 9-42|
|Chain||Campagnolo Ekar 13 spd|
|Cervelo Aspero-5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1||$7,500||1 × 12 Electronic||SRAM Force HRD Hydraulic Disc||700c×38c||Click view|
|2023 Trek Checkpoint SL 7 eTap||$6,699||2 × 12 Electronic||SRAM Force HRD Hydraulic Disc||700c×40c||Click view|
|2023 Bianchi Arcadex – GRX 810 Di2||$5,800||1 × 11 Electronic||Shimano BR-RX810, Hydraulic Disc||700c×37c||Click view|
|Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon||$6,200||1 × 12 Electronic||SRAM Rival eTAP AXS, hydraulic disc||700c×42c||Click view|
2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1 vs 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar
As mentioned earlier, the Cervelo Aspero-5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1 uses SRAM’s sub-top-of-the-line Force XPLR eTap AXS 1, a 12-speed power and hydraulic braking system. Anyone familiar with SRAM knows that the wireless electronic shifting system is very simple. It has a more refined feel and faster shifting efficiency. The user can change the action of the parts and customize the handling to make it more in line with their handling preferences. At the same time, the AXS platform supports checking the battery status, making it easy for users to get maintenance reminders and upgrade the firmware. I have to say, such a user-friendly design is really exciting.
But I must also tell you in all sincerity that while the SRAM Force XPLR eTap AXS 1 is practical, the speed performance of the Cervelo Aspero-5 Force XPLR eTap AXS 1 tells me that it is not as fast as the Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar. So, if you care about speed, the Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar might not disappoint you.
2023 Trek Checkpoint SL 7 eTap vs 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar
If you like the SRAM groupset, you can also check out the Trek Checkpoint SL 7 eTap, which also uses the SRAM Force eTap AXS drivetrain and braking system, but with 2×12 gearing. Therefore, the Trek Checkpoint SL 7 eTap has an advantage in uphill speed.
But the Trek Checkpoint SL 7 eTap’s more aggressive geometry position may not satisfy riders who insist on, well, endurance riding on gravel roads. In addition, the longer Trail (67mm) is missing the more responsive handling that would satisfy the more daring demands of the ambitious. The “Trail Mixer” design of the Cervelo Aspero-5 fork gives the bike a broader range of applications, so I couldn’t resist it.
Of course, I would have liked the Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar better if it had learned from the 2023 Trek Checkpoint SL 7 eTap and adopted a 2×13 speed design.
2023 Bianchi Arcadex – GRX 810 Di2 vs 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar
Since Shimano’s groupset was also mentioned in the previous article, let’s talk about the Bianchi Arcadex – GRX 810 Di2.
The GRX 810 Di2 is also considered a more advanced Shimano accessory, with the same infinite electronic shifting, but with a different operating logic than SRAM. To be honest, it feels very comfortable in the hand and is suitable for all kinds of complicated and loose roads, so it is a good aid.
In addition, the 2023 Bianchi Arcadex – GRX 810 Di2, which focuses on comfortable riding, has a comfortable geometry, but that means it will give up faster speed. So if you’re a speed-seeker, it might not be wise to go for the 2023 Bianchi Arcadex – GRX 810 Di2.
2022 Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon vs 2022 Cervelo Aspero-5 Campagnolo Ekar
Also seeking comfort is the Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon, whose loose geometry limits its progress despite the use of high-end SRAM accessories.
To its credit, the fork’s 20mm travel makes it have more shock absorption. This is still very friendly to people who are afraid of bumps.
However, I am not satisfied with the 2022 Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon, either in terms of speed performance or comfort performance. Because I think its cost performance still needs to be improved.
For a gravel bike, the Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 Suspension 1by is excellent in terms of damping. The RockShox Rudy 30 fork absorbs vibrations effectively and has 10mm more travel than the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon.
It also comes with a dropper design that the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon does not have. This makes it much easier and more comfortable when you ride on gravel roads. The Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 Suspension 1by is definitely at the top of the list for me in terms of how these bikes feel to me on actual rides.
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