If it helps, here is a test report on the Aspero. I tried a size 56 at the Cervelo Demo Day today in Northern California. (Cervelo will be in Cupertino, CA next Saturday.). The demo master was excellent.
Until I test rode an Ibis Hakka 3 months ago in a parking lot, I had never ridden a gravel-like bike or a bike with size 40 tires. Until I tried the Cervelo today on a single track next to a paved trail, I had never ridden “off road” (on purpose). Thus, I don’t have much experience, so take the report with caution if you know more than me. My goal in the next bike purchase is to start with size 35 tires, with the option to go larger as I venture more off road. I don’t foresee going pure mountain biking or on ultra rough roads as I have a bad back (from running too much), but I would like to try some riding on dirt or crushed dirt roads.
I was surprised at the reach of the Aspero. It is rated at 397 mm, and had a 90 mm stem. My road bike is a Tarmac, 393 reach plus 110 stem. I thought the Aspero would be closer to the Tarmac, but it wasn’t. I guess the math works out but still I was surprised.
A contributing factor was that the test bike was built with 38 mm in spacers
. This means the reach is slightly smaller than it would be for a shorter stack. That plus an upturned bar made the geometry feel very much sit up and beg. The rider before me commented that it was a relaxed road geometry. I agree; it felt like a Synapse I rented on a vacation. I would think the ride would be different with fewer spacers; the Ibis I tried has the same stack, 580 mm, but with 10 mm spacers. At least now, the Synapse geometry is a bit too sleepy to me. (I am getting older, however.)
The seatpost was rather narrow, narrower than the Specialized Power Arc I am going to use. These factors plus the grippy but not deeply padded bar tape made the ride tougher than I think it needed to be. The positioning on my wrists was not right, understanding that I usually ride on the hoods. It was better in the drops.
The Ibis test ride was in a parking lot in cooler weather and today’s test was on a paved trail with somedetours in over 90 degree heat. Thus, the conditions were not constant. Also, as I mentioned, today was not the first time for me on this type of bike, so the Ibis ride had a novelty factor for my impressions. Both rides were using 1x SRAM Force, today the AXS. I am a huge SRAM fan, also a big guy (working on it!). While I plan to run 2x on the final bike, I feel confident from both rides that SRAM 1x will get any rider up about any climb: you just find a low gear and spin.
Here’s my bottom line, unscientific assessment: the Ibis is like a kid’s bike, and the Aspero is an adult bike. The Aspero is very much as Cervelo advertises: it’s a traditional Cervelo bike adapted to bigger tires, designed for speed via control. (I had tested an R5 prior to the Aspero ride, and have owned three Cervelos, so I am knowledgeable about Cervelo heritage and engineering.) The BBright width and stiffness give the rider control (or at least, for me, the feeling of control) so that she or he can power through the rougher terrain. The Ibis, again as a matter of new impression and without a comparable test on a tougher surface, is more carefree.
In disappointing news, the Cervelo demo manager said that he did not know about the availability of the teal frame. (He wants one himself.). He implied that they will be hard to get, as it is a “special” color in that it is frame-only. The burgundy color I tried does not have the subtle metallic finish, or depth of finish, of the olive-gold (from pictures and one I saw earlier, they did not have olive on the tour). It also does not have the subtle splatter pattern of the teal. Nevertheless, the burgundy looked great. I may have to bite the bullet and buy the burgundy. That would save money because I would buy the Apex version, have the shop build the frame with my existing parts, and sell the Apex. The price delta to the frame is $300 and the Apex group is over $700 on eBay not including the risk rotors, which I also would sell. Throw in selling the Alexrim wheels and I could exceed $300 easily AND help someone else build up their new bike at a discount.