Cervelo regularly gets high praise for the performance of its bicycles. While there are some very popular products out there that keep me scratching my head, wondering what everyone else sees, with the Cervelo Dual it’s simple, a great product at a fair price.
The sub-$2,000 range used to be more heavily populated with tri bikes; but most of those are now approaching the $2,500 price point. The Dual Ultegra at $1,650, though, offers tremendous value to any triathlete looking for an affordable bike ready to race right out of the box. In addition, the frame is more than worthy of upgrades down the road should the budget allow.
The Dual frameset offers excellent aerodynamics, the ability to easily move within a wide range of effective seat tube angles, an attractive and comfortable (if a bit heavy) aero fork, a comfortable ride and impressive bottom bracket stiffness from a frame so narrow it nearly disappears from view when riding. The frame is the heart of every bike and is really what you should concentrate on when considering your investment in a complete bicycle. While the parts kit on the Dual at its price point is impressive, the frameset is what excites me. In other words, the Dual is a race ready complete bike for $1,650 that includes a frameset that would be at home on bikes retailing for much more. The other side of that coin is that some of us have spent over $2,500 for a complete bike and still don’t have a frame as good as the Dual.
The Dual benefits from a form of trickle down engineering. Cervelo is known for constantly pushing the engineering envelope on the high end of its line. As they push into P3 Carbons, P2C’s, R3’s etc., we mere mortals benefit at the affordable end of the range. I love leading edge more than most people but I understand where true value exists and the Dual is a smart buyer’s bike.
The Dual has crisp handling, climbs better than most tri bikes in or out of the saddle and loves to rocket along the flats. In short, it feels very efficient and very fast. You might think that would mean a harsh ride, but you’d be wrong. Even with the marginal Easton wheels, the Dual has a firm but comfortable ride with enough vertical compliance to smooth out all but the roughest roads.
At $1,650 there are no valid complaints about the included parts and no denying the extraordinary value and performance of the frameset. If you find that it’s time to move to a dedicated tri bike but you don’t have all of your sponsorship deals worked out yet, consider the Dual. When the budget allows, upgrade in this order: saddle, wheels, crank set, fork, aero bars, base bar, and brakes. Of course, you’ll probably be satisfied by just adding a set of race wheels and counting all the money you saved.
P.S. Please note that Mark was testing the Dual Dura-Ace pictured at right that retails for $1,900.00. He chose to write the review from the perspective of the Dual Ultegra since that is the bike he would recommend. The only differences between the two are the derailleurs, base bar and wheels. There really is no need to have anything better than Ultegra derailleurs on a tri bike, particularly at this price point, the difference between the base bars is purely cosmetic and both Mark and I prefer the ride and quality of Shimano's R550 wheels to Easton's Vistas. While the Easton wheels may be slightly more aerodynamic, we would both recommend using the $250.00 savings to help pay for a good pair of race wheels, more comfortable saddle, etc. Kevin