Cervélo reveals revolutionary RCA frameset

Reviews & Tech

03/14/2013| 0 comments
by Mark Watson
Cervelo Rca frame Roadcycling.com

Cervélo reveals revolutionary RCA frameset

Groundbreaking hand-made Cervelo RCA frameset merges category-defining light weight with aerodynamic competencies.

Earlier today Cervélo introduced its RCA frameset. The RCA frameset builds on Cervélo's famed R5ca frameset and reduces the frameset weight to a mere 667g for a painted 54 cm frame including small parts. In spite of further reducing the frame weight, Cervélo says optimal frame stiffness is maintained.

The RCA frame adopts aerodynamic Squoval 3 tube shapes from Cervélo's S-series bikes and offers internal cable routing and an integrated power meter magnet, positioned at the correct radius from the crank axis to be sensed by many popular crank-based power meters.

325 Cervelo RCA framesets have been manufactured and they are sold at a price of US$10,000 per frameset.

Commenting on the launch of Cervélo's latest invention, Cervélo co-founder and current CEO Phil White told Roadcycling.com "The RCA showcases the best of Cervélo's knowledge, testing, and industry-leading engineering processes. We are always proud to introduce a new Cervélo, but given its no-holds barred, best-of-the-best nature, launching a new Project California bike is particularly special."

The RCA frameset has been developed in cooperation with Team Garmin-Sharp. Riders from the Garmin-Sharp team have contributed to the engineering process by field testing the RCA frame.

"When I test a new bike, it’s not just about getting up on the pedals or being lightweight, it’s the way that the bike works with your body and responds - the stiffness the bike provides me. The Cervélo Rca certainly makes a big difference in that regard," Team Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal said when asked to describe his experience with the new Rca.

Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky said "The nice thing about the Rca is that it is vertically compliant to help smooth out the road, but laterally stiff, very stiff - and that’s what we need in cycling."

In a cross-disciplinary process Cervélo brought together its California and Toronto-based engineering teams to have them develop a best-of-both-worlds frameset, which sports the best possible aerodynamic and structural capabilities. The final RCA design was developed using F1 design and testing tools, allowing Cervélo's engineers to test as many aspects of on-road frame performance as possible.

By applying the 3M Powerlux Composite technology, Cervélo's engineers managed to reduce frame weight without compromising frame strength. The use of Integran/PowerMetal Nanovate in the RCA frameset's fork brought the fork weight down to 300g (uncut steerer) without compromising safety, Cervélo stated.

Models: Frameset only; Available from Cervélo
Recommended Retail Price (RRP): US$10,000
Sizes: 48–61 cm
Launch Date: March 18, 2013

RCA by the Numbers:
• Average 667 grams (size 54 frame with paint and hardware)
• 7.4 watts less aero drag than Cervélo R5ca (10.2 watts vs. typical road bicycles - according to Cervélo)
• 279 finite element analyses (FEA)
• 93 iterative frame shapes

Key Material and Design Features:

Squoval 3
• Aero leading edges (down, head and seat tubes), reoriented ellipses (lower seat stays) and tweaked corner radii (trailing edges)
• Reduces aero drag by 75 grams compared to Squoval 2 frames without compromising stiffness or light weight

Integrated Power Meter Magnet
• Positioned at the perfect radius from the crank axis to be sensed by popular crank-based power meters

Integran/PowerMetal Nanovate
• Coated fork steerer has increased yield strength and higher ductility
• Premier application of nano-nickel resulting in a tougher fork without added weight

3M Powerlux
• Improves interlaminar shear and compression strength while maintaining light weight
• First nano-resin to demonstrate real structural improvements in rigorous carbon fiber coupon testing

Hollow Carbon Fiber Dropouts
• Gives internal rear derailleur cable a straight shot through chain stay and dropout, eliminating another source of cable friction
• Reduces weight by 5 grams

Learn more about Cervélo and the Cervelo RCA frameset at www.cervelo.com.

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