2014 Cervelo S3 Climbing ability?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by gianimadrid

So my father has decided to buy me a 2014 Cervelo S3 with Dura Ace Di2 build. I'm happy and all but i am curious about the climbing quality because where I live, I climb close to 700 ft minimal a day and on a good day i can get 2000 + ft and a harder day i can get about 8000 ft or so. so if anyone here has experience with the S3 please share if its a good all arounder bike for flats and climbing.

by Weenie

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by Zigmeister

Seems to be doing a good job for the Garmin Pros who are riding them.

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by shoopdawoop

Bikes don't climb, riders and gears do! Get your fit right and have the necessary gears and it'll climb just fine!

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by Imaking20

I have yet to find a bike that wouldn't climb.

Legs, on a given day, on the other hand...

I actually think my Venge climbs great. I live in an area where it's difficult to stay under 2k of climbing.

Is your dad looking to adopt?

Blue | Project C6.0 | Felt AR FRD | Colnago C59 NERO | 2014 S-Works Tarmac | S-Works Venge | Wilier Cento Uno SL | Tarmac SL2

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by 7ducati

Congrats on the new bike! I have a 2014 S2, which is the same frame, just a less aero front fork. I came from an S-Works Tarmac SL3, and I've found that I've PR'd all my local climbs on my S2. I hate comparing them because my fit is better on the S2, but either way, I don't think your S3 will hold you back.
2017 Cervélo S3
2016 Santa Cruz Stigmata

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by ghostrider1tm

it's the engine not the machine....

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by lobular

I was riding & climbing yesterday on a 2008 Cervelo SLC-SL......it was and still is a great bike. Yet to ride a S3, but in 6 years of development I'm sure they haven't gone backwards. S3 should be light and stiff enough for climbing, and fast on the flats......poor performance will only come from the rider.

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by justkeepedaling

The S3 actually just tested to be stiffer than the RCA in Velolab's last test. They also considered it to be the best all rounder in the test.

From what I've gathered, that may just be the case. Climbing? No problem

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by sluggo

Good write up here. Should tell you all you need to know....


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by djconnel

I test rode a Parlee ESX and was surprised by how well it felt on a climb, Camino Alto in Mill Valley California. There were two factors. One was the road felt smooth -- perhaps this was in part due to the seatpost, which has a dual cantilever for that purpose. The rough pavement on the climb disrupted my pedaling less than it might have otherwise. Another factor was how well it handled cross-winds. It was a bit windy that day but the bike was nice and stable in the cross-wind. My time was above average for the climb compared to my steel Ritchey Breakaway but I couldn't tell how much of that was the bike and how much was because I was simply riding well that day: it certainly wasn't a huge difference. But it felt good anyway. Maybe stiffness was also a factor, but I have no basis for that conclusion: a bit of flex can also be a good thing.

I suspect the S3 would be similar. It had an R-series rear end, so is comfortable, and the S5 anyway tests well in cross-winds.

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by jipperd

Since I own and ride both a Cervélo R5 VWD and a 2014 Cervélo S3, both in size 51, I think I can compare these bikes pretty well.
First off I must admit there is quite a big weight difference between the two with the R5 being 2kg lighter compared to the S3. The S3 weight with 10sp Dura Ace Di2, Zipp 303 Firecrest and alu buildup 7,5kg.
The S3 rides superb, very smooth with sharp handling without being to agressive or uncomfortable. Of course the R5 accelerates slightly faster due to the lack of weight, but the ride is stunning. Also the bike provides you to be in control in all conditions, wind, decents, accents, cobbles.

To be honest, the fact that I already owned the R5 is the only reason I still have it, otherwise I would only have the S3 (maybe in a lighter setup).

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by boots2000

No need to quote above

Are the builds different?
What kind of weight could you get an S3 to?

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by boogermin

I'm seriously considering the 2014 S3 as my primary, "all-rounder" bike based on all the positive reviews about it. Always wanted an aero bike, but wasn't willing to compromise weight and climbing ability. Seems like the S3 strikes a good balance. I'll confirm with a test-ride, but just curious about the weights S3 owners are achieving. I created a spreadsheet summing up all the weights of the components I plan on using, and I'm coming in around 6.4 - 6.5kg. Just wondering if there are people who are actually achieving these weights, or anything similar.

Didn't like the paint scheme at first, but it has grown on me. Really like the bike. On paper, at least.


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by timjsharpe

I have a 2014 S3, Ultegra mech g/set, Rotor QRings (52-36 mid compact, so the ovalised version of the default chainset).

To answer the OP, it's perfectly capable of climbing. The bottom line is that it's a very stiff carbon frame that will do what you ask of it. I built my S3 to be the perfect 'do it all bike' and have done Coast to Coast in a Day (242km, 4500m. It was a total joy.

The standard build didn't suit me though...

If you're used to a compact 50-34 and climb severe gradients (>20%) the challenge might be the mid-compact chainset, but your LBS should swap it out for a compact if you so desire. As it happens I opted to keep the 52-36 with an 11-32 cassette (which required a long derailleur). This gave me more range because I do climb severe gradients and wanted the S3 to be a 'do it all' bike. (The 36-32 gearing is similar to a 34-30.)

If your climbs are not so severe, or you're a more powerful climber than me, then perhaps you'll go with an 11-30, or 11-28 and be fine. (And can keep the standard derailleur, which is more aesthetically pleasing.)

I kept the standard Cosmic Elite wheel & Mavic tyres for training. They're fine but a bit heavy. The standard bike is about 7.8kg, inc pedals, cages, etc. With my adjustments (chain rings, cassette, cheap pedals, etc) it was nearer 8kg.

Ouch. (Di2 would weigh more too.)

But you know...this is WW, right? So I also have Wheelsmith Aero 50 tubs and some Pete Matthews alloy wheels. With the lighter wheels and so on, it's more like 7.3kg, inc pedals, cages etc.

(I have a cunning plan to take it down further.)

But here's the thing; when I bought it I went around the shop weighing all the other candidate bikes; R3, SuperSix, etc. There really isn't anything to choose between them. The standard R3 was a bit lighter, but only a bit.

Funnily enough I had real buyer's remorse. It was slow. Twitchy. Tiring. Loved the way it looked, though, always.

And now, after 1000km with it, it's amazing. It's fast. Accurate. And I've got used to the QRings, so it's not tiring at all.

I was riding it in RideLondon last week, transfixed by the rain and spray curving around the aero downtube. (Should have been looking where I was going - probably contributed to my puncture-fest.)

So, yes, with some thought and adjustments to reflect your riding style and capabilities, it's a do it all bike. And it will climb anything that you can.

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by drmutley

Awesome all round bike....

by Weenie

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