Our writer, Dean Koh has his ‘fanboy’ moment as he got the opportunity to speak to Phil White, CEO and Co-Founder of Cervelo, who was present at this year’s Taipei Cycle Show.
Phil White and Gerard Vroomen founded Cervelo in 1995. Cervelo was one of the pioneer companies which started making road bikes with aerodynamic tube shapes (or commonly known as aero road bikes) with their Soloist Team model as early as 2002. Today, almost every major bicycle company has an aero road bike model in their product line-up.
At the Taipei Cycle Show this year, the brand new Cervelo RCA was unveiled as well, their lightest road frame ever, developed at Cervelo’s Project California engineering lab. The RCA frame comes in at a featherweight 667g for a size 54!
Phil answered Dean’s questions meticulously and through the process of speaking to him during the 20-minute session, Dean realizes that Phil is at really an engineer at heart and always wanting to push the boundaries in bicycle design and development!
Tell us more about the new RCA. How does Cervelo manage to get the weight so low yet maintaining a high level of stiffness?
Our job is to keep pushing the envelope. Engineers keep ‘playing’ and don’t stop having ideas-ideas on how to make the bikes lighter and stiffer. We were approached by 3M to make the Powerlux material, a toughened resin system which was lighter but did not compromise on shear and compression strength. Also, the new nano-nickel technology on the fork steerer is good for clamping (the stem) and is still very light with the carbon fork. This is the materials story.
For the engineering story, the engineers developed a process and modified 15 different parameters. As a result, we developed 93 different frames before reaching the final shapes of the RCA.