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Old 06-05-2023, 11:32 AM
adamhell adamhell is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Laurel Hts San Francisco
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Cervelo Soloist 105 Mechanical

I got back into road riding last year. Started with an early Allez Sprint which was 1x rim brake. It was fast and fun but the frame rode very harshly, the fit was aggressive, the gearing was limited, and something about the rear brake routing made the lever feel horrible no matter what I did. Despite all that, I really liked that bike because it rode well and was fast as hell, but I knew I wanted carbon, disc, and 2x, so I bid on and won an Aethos frameset on eBay. I hated that bike. It rode terribly in my opinion and didn't feel fast, which I think is due to prioritization of low weight over responsiveness and stiffness in the appropriate places. I have friends who are much lighter than I am who love their Aethoses, I believe because the frame rewards a compounding lightweight rider+bike package. But at 200lb, a 15lb bike doesn't do much for me.

So I sold the Aethos and started doing a bunch of scoping around online (as always) and talking to friends who know more about mainstream road bikes than I do. The Soloist grabbed my attention cause I like the way it looks, even though it resembles every other stupid aero bike on the market now. To me it stands out because it looks slightly more refined, has the least fussy internal routing system, and I like the simplicity and depth of the paint. I suppose it speaks to me even though it's a variation on a common theme. Also, I respect Cervelo for being a race bike only brand with a focused catalog, not a big box brands that makes everything from $500 hybrids to e bikes to apparel to $15,000 "put this on a sea sucker on your porsche" bikes.

It was hard to find this bike in stock. Twice I had the frameset in my cart at some obscure online retailer and by the time I went to check out, it had sold out. I finally found the 105 mechanical complete build in stock at Excel Sports so I nabbed it knowing I'd change out most of the parts. And this low tier complete build was only a few hundred more than the frameset. I was stoked to get the white which is my fav over the black and especially the gold.

I quickly swapped out every part except the shifters, brakes, chain, derailers, and cassette. I built some wheels: Ritchey Apex 38mm carbon clinchers laced to lime green Industry 9 Torch + WTB Exposure 30mm tubeless tires. Also swapped in Ritchey SuperLogic C260 110mm stem and 40cm WCS Carbon Streem aero bars. Swapped out the cheapie Shimano non-series crank to a Praxis Zayante Carbon. I swapped the weird Fizik stock saddle for a Specialized Power Pro Mirror and, lastly, swapped in the 0-setback version of the bike's proprietary D shaped post.

After a couple hundred miles on it, I am in love. It's such a fun bike. The frame has all the responsiveness I was missing in the Aethos with none of the harshness I felt in the Allez Sprint. It's so fun to do little sprints on this bike, and it also climbs well, even better than Aethos despite being a few lbs heavier. Only downside is it becomes a big sail in a crosswind, but that doesn't bug me. After adding my personal touches—mainly the lime green hubs—it feels like my bike, even though it's not a Rivendell. I have a newborn so most of my rides are quick sub-20mi sprints around town while she is sleeping, not the long rides I really want to do but plenty of fun and effective at getting blood pumping.

crvlo by moda1destroyed, on Flickr
crvlo by moda1destroyed, on Flickr
crvlo by moda1destroyed, on Flickr
moi by moda1destroyed, on Flickr

Last edited by adamhell; 06-05-2023 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-05-2023, 01:29 PM
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lavi lavi is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: pdx
Posts: 3,572
That looks nifty. Years ago, I wanted the aluminum Soloist. I was warned off due to it's incredibly stiff/unforgiving ride.

Cervelo does have some nice looking bikes these days.

I had an Aethos (and am 200#). I didn't have the negative experience you did....but we are all different.

Enjoy that rig! I'd give one a go if given the chance to demo one.
Peg Mxxxxxo e Duende|Argo RM3|Hampsten|Crux
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Old 06-05-2023, 02:32 PM
cmb5286 cmb5286 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Great review! This is on my short list of bikes to try.
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Old 06-05-2023, 05:03 PM
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eippo1 eippo1 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Crossing the Mystic to Grandma's house
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I love it and especially love that you rock a handlebar back on an aero bike. Good stuff all around.
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Old 06-05-2023, 05:34 PM
ColonelJLloyd ColonelJLloyd is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Louisville
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I dig that bike. Also rec'd for 10/10 nips. A testament to the quality of that jersey material.
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Old 06-05-2023, 06:01 PM
Metz Metz is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: SF East Bay
Posts: 259
Nice build, I always like the white frame/black logo look. I'm 180-185 depending on how I manage my sweet tooth and the Aethos was a definite "meh" for me. Not a bad frame at all, maybe I just expected something more based on the abundance of glowing reviews. Anyway, enjoy the sweet rig and, more importantly, your little one!
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Old 06-05-2023, 09:16 PM
Zackus Zackus is offline
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 462
Cool build! I was curious about the Caledonia a year or two ago. Still seems like a good bike and I'd like to own a Cervelo at some point.
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Old 06-06-2023, 11:40 AM
adamhell adamhell is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Laurel Hts San Francisco
Posts: 1,104
thanks for the nice words everybody. yeah i was a little shocked how uninspired the Aethos felt. maybe it was the transition from the stiff and snappy allez sprint to the super light carbon frame that magnified the sensation (or lackthereof). Perhaps i would have been happy with the new model Allez Sprint Disc, too, although IMO the Soloist is prettier.
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Old 06-06-2023, 01:36 PM
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geordanh geordanh is offline
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: West Coast
Posts: 1,359
Awesome. Love this. If I didn't need a fender bike for the winter I probably would have swapped my Caledonia for this already.

Super interested to test ride one of these. Really nice build!
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Old 06-07-2023, 11:55 AM
bryanbanducci bryanbanducci is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 60
road man. stoked to see it adam. someday ill bring a capable fast bike back to the bay.
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Old 06-20-2023, 01:18 PM
adamhell adamhell is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Laurel Hts San Francisco
Posts: 1,104
here i am riding up white's hill on my first 200k ever. right after the photo was taken i dipped off the road to take a long piss and lost the group, so i rode the remaining 90 or so miles alone.

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Old 07-14-2023, 04:57 PM
adamhell adamhell is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Laurel Hts San Francisco
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Now with force axs!!!!

cerv by moda1destroyed, on Flickr
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Old 07-16-2023, 03:01 PM
Andy sti Andy sti is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Bend, OR
Posts: 2,072
Looks great. I’ve been looking at that bike to replace my Allied.
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