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First Ride on the Cervelo P3 - New Year's Day 10

As I've mentioned a few weeks back, I was the happy recipient of an excellent half century birthday present, in the shape of a Cervelo P3 frame and forks. I finally had the opportunity to ride it in anger a couple of days ago in the NBRC New Year's Day 10 mile time trial (reports at Flies&Bikes and at the NBRC website). How did it work out? Well first off, here's the specifications as assembled:

Frame and Forks - Cervelo P3 carbon. Includes seat post
- Campagnolo Record UT chainset 57/46; Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed rear mech, 10-speed front mech, 9-speed cassette (cassette varies with wheelset), 9-speed bar end shifters); SRAM 9-speed chain.
: Speedplay X-1 titanium. Brakes: Campagnolo Record calipers, levers are integral with the handlebars
Handlebars: USE Tulas, on a Cinelli Vai stem.
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Wheels: I set this bike up with Corima disk rear and Corima trispoke front, both with Veloflex Record tubulars. For the NYD '10'. I switched to Hed H3 trispoke clincher with Veloflex Record tyres, as I couldn't face dealing with punctured tubs at -4 degrees.

So, two new pieces of kit tried out on 1st January - the frame and forks, and the pedals.

Cervelo P3 - The Cervelo P3 is a pretty well established frameset on the British timetrialling scene these days. It certainly looks aero! It's also very light, due no doubt in part to the thin walls of the fork steerer tube - the forks are by 3T, of which more later. Assembling the bike was pretty straightforward, the only complicated bit being threading the cabling through the frame, though this was easy enough once I remembered how useful a spoke in in that scenario. There's an interesting fitting for the rear brake caliper, but really there's nothing terribly difficult to deal with.

The quality of the finish of the frame is really high quality, with seamless joints and an attractive black and silver grey livery.

The seat pin offers two attachment points for the saddle - this allows a standard or a steeper effective seat tube angle to be selected (I went with the more forward position. Again, while this fitting is not standard, it's not rocket science to figure out how to use it. The seat pin itself fits snugly into the frame, and in use doesn't seem to suffer slippage (as did my Planet X carbon frame). I hope that the interface with the frame will be a little more waterproof than for the Planet X frame...

Now, when the LBS sold us the frame, no steerer bung for use with an aheadset was supplied. I phoned them up an asked, and when I mentioned it was a Cervelo P3, I was informed that there was a "special fitting" for these frames. Quite what that meant was a bit opaque at that point, but all became clear when we popped up to the LBS to collect it. Essentially, these forks don't use an expander bung, but have an alloy sleeve with a built in star-fangled nut, whic has to be glued into the steerer tube with an epoxy adhesive, once the steerer tube has been cut to length.

On the road, the bike worked very nicely, thought he steering was a bit twitchy at slower speeds while riding down to the club room. This effect was a bit disconcerting, and seemed to be related to my pedalling (it stopped twitching when I was freewheeling). However, and much to my relief, the bike was completely stable when I was at racing speed. All in all, a damned fine frame and forks, albeit a bit alarming at low speed...

Speedplay X-1 titanium pedals Over the years, I've used (and in fact still use) a variety of clipless pedal systems: Shimano SPDs on the touring/commuting bike; Campagnolo Pro-Fits on a couple of TT bikes and the summer bike; Look pedals on other road bikes. I decided to give Speedplays a go, and for this new TT bike, got a pair of Speedplay X-1 titanium pedals. These are the pedals that look like small lollipops, with the clip mechanisms being within the shoe plate. They offer a startling amount of float - indeed, I was a little concerned that disengaging the show might be a problem. In the event, clipping in and out is very smooth, and I very quickly got used to the amount of float offered by these pedal (there's no float adjustability on this model). Fitting the shoe plates is a lttle comples, with a srprisingly lenghty set of instructions. Much of this revolves around the need to mount them with appropriate spacers so the plates are mounted flat. Close inspection revealed that the soles of my slightly aged Specialized S-Works shoes matched the default spacer set perfectly, so these were the shoes I chose.

To be updated as the 2010 season unfolds...