Posted by: Ian | December 28, 2011

Cervelo R3, Felt Z15 and Astraeus real-world weights

Yesterday I repeated the ride that I wrote about last time, again averaging 2 mph faster on the Cervelo R3 than when I did the exact same 32 miles on the Van Nicholas Astraeus last week. As I wrote before, this feels to me as though it’s primarily down to the Cervelo and the Zipps rather than improvement in my performance or any difference in conditions. To be clear, I’ll be taking the Astraeus round similar circuits much more than any carbon bike over the winter months, and enjoying it. The Astraeus isn’t as zippy as the Zipped up R3 but it’s still a great-riding bike and the Ti is far more winterproof.

For any who is interested (though I’m not sure why you would be), here’s how my geared road bikes compare in weight as measured by me in real life.

First the Astraeus. It’s a 60 cm frameset bought directly from Van Nicholas with the following components:

  • Ultegra groupset
  • 3T 44 cm Ergonova bars
  • Felt stem
  • Specialized Avatar saddle
  • ProVibe carbon seatpost
  • 2 x VN Ti bottle cages
  • Shimano PD M770 pedals
  • Plastic crud catcher
  • Garmin cadence sensor and Edge 800 mount

The weight without wheels is 6.12 kg. With  Mavic Elites shod with a 23 mm Conti Grand Prix 4 Season tyre on the front and a 25mm Conti Gator Hardshell (and Ultegra 11-28t cassette) at the back the total bike weight as I ride it, ex tools and bottles, is 8.73 kg.

Next, my Felt Z15. It’s a 58 cm frameset with these components:

  • DuraAce groupset
  • 3T 42 cm Ergonova bars and stem
  • Felt saddle and seatpost
  • 2 x Easton bottle cages
  • Same pedals as the Ultegra
  • Garmin cadence sensor/mount.

Without wheels the weight is 5.28 kg. With Fulcrum Racing Zeroes shod in 23 mm Schwalbe Ultremo ZX’s front and rear (and a DA cassette) the total bike weight, as I ride it ex tools and bottles, is 7.66 kg.

Finally, the Cervelo R3. This is also a 58 cm frameset set up similarly to the Felt with:

  • DA groupset
  • 3T bars/stem
  • Condor seatpost (awaiting replacement by Condor with the 3T specified)
  • Specialized Ronin saddle
  • Shimano PD A600 pedals
  • 2 x Elite bottle cages
  • Somerset/Dorset/Devon mud.

Sans wheels, this tips the scales at 4.77 kg. With my new Zipp 404 Firecrest clinchers wrapped in Vittori Open Pave tyres (and the same DA cassette as the Felt) the total bike weight, ex bottles and tools, is 7.34 kg.

This is the set-up I’ve been enjoying since I bought it. For any rides that are all about hill climbs, I’d switch the Fulcrums onto the R3, which brings its weight down to 7.15 kg. The Fulcrums don’t spoil the Cervelo’s looks either:

While the bikes certainly feel as though their riding speeds are in weight order (lighter = faster), I can’t believe that weight alone makes so much difference. There’s only three or four pounds, or a bag and a half of sugar, between the heaviest and lightest configuration. My own weight fluctuates more than this all the time. And if I wanted to save the weight difference between the R3 (with Zipps) and the Felt (with Fulcrums) through an equipment change I could do it at little cost by getting a lighter helmet and leaving my gilet at home.



  1. I love the red spokes! And what a gorgeous bike.

    I used to have a Cervelo RS, and, after about a year and a half, I upgraded the frameset to an R3. It felt like I had switched from a standard to a compact; it was just so much easier to pedal, at the same speed. I’m certain this wasn’t because of the weight difference, because the weights were very close. But the type of carbon is very different, as is the geometry, and other things. So … my guess is that you’re right, the weight difference between your R3 (on Zipps) and other bikes doesn’t account for all of the speed difference you feel.

    • Interesting that you noticed such a difference between the RS and the R3. The R3 is superb, and the Fulcrums work really well with both visually and on the road. I think about – and ride – bikes a lot and am mystified by how each one can have such a distinctive character. Maybe you’re right and it springs from nuances of geometry and fabric.

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