Cervelo Áspero Gravel Bike: “Welcome to the Era of Speed in Gravel”

Cervelo began life way back in 1995, co-founded by Gerard Vroomen and Phil White. It didn’t take long before their school basement project expanded significantly, quickly establishing a reputation for cutting edge bike designs. Ultimately, Cervelo bikes would take athletes to victory at the Tour de France, Olympic Games and Ironman Triathlon. This isn’t an in-depth history lesson, but sometime in 2011, Cervelo saw a change of ownership. One thing remains the same, Cervelo’s road and time trial / triathlon bikes remain a force in aerodynamic efficiency and high performance and have a huge and loyal following the world over.

cervelo aspero gravel bike review

Cervelo is bringing their concept of speed to gravel cycling – “A new breed of rider is emerging – one who loves the freedom and exploration that gravel culture was founded upon but who has a hunger to ride wild, to go full bore, and to explore not just geography but personal limits. This frontier requires a new kind of gravel machine, one engineered not to roam the trails, but to slay them.” – Cervelo

cervelo aspero gravel bike review

Cervelo Áspero Gravel Bike

Key features include:

  • Speed – Stripped down racing frame outperforms traditionally over-built hauling frames.
  • Handling – With our 2-position adjustable front dropout, called the TrailMixer, Áspero adapts to ensure that various wheel and tire combinations work in harmony with the design geometry for optimum handling.
  • Versatility – Fits a wide range of tire sizes both 700+650.

cervelo aspero gravel bike review

Design Features

Usability

  • Tire Clearance – 3 most common tire sizes: 700×33, 700×40, 650×47
  • Bento mount, 3rd bottle, Downtube protector
  • Dropper compatibility
  • Removable front derailleur mount
  • Threaded axles
  • Single bend cable routing

cervelo aspero gravel bike review

Versatility

  • Internal cable routing
  • Dropped seat stays
  • “TrailMixer” offering two positions on the fork dropout
  • Downtube cable guide
  • Dropped chainstays to keep the wheelbase short
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Downtube cable guide routing.

Áspero Tyre Clearance

We engineered the bike to fit most 700×42 or 650bx49 tire/wheel combos, comfortably. Of course, there are variables – rim width, tire casing / tread depth – which will affect final clearance. IMPORTANT NOTE – We always recommend there to be 4mm of clearance around whichever tire/wheel combo is installed on the bike.

  • 700c allows for a wheel/tire combo that measures up to 44mm (=52-8) at the widest point
  • 650b allows for a wheel/tire combo that measures up to 49mm (=57-8) at the widest point

cervelo aspero gravel bike review

Áspero Trail 101

Education Point #1

  1. You can get the same optimized trail with two different sized tires on 700C
  2. Basic Rule (For 700 only): Small(Low Volume) tires=rearward, Big (High Volume) tires=forward
  3. Forward position=decreased trail=faster handling
  4. Rearward position=increased trail=slower handling
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Click the image for an expanded view.
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Click the image for an expanded view.
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Click the image for an expanded view.

Áspero Trail 102

Education Point #2

The 650B wheel was historically designed to mimic the outside diameter of a 700 wheel with a low volume tire, to give big tire benefits without affecting the handling.

Knowing this, when deciding on forward or rearward positioning for a high volume tire on a 650B wheel can be compared closely to a low volume tire on a 700 wheel.

Simple Example: A 33mm tire on a 700 wheel and a 51mm tire on a 650B wheel both have an outside diameter of 677+/-2 mm. So the in effect, both of these setups could be run in the rearward position to get you an optimal trail of 62mm.

Áspero Video Tour (review coming later)

Áspero Model Line & Prices

cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Force eTap AXS 1 – Burgundy/Dark Orange – $USD 6,000 – $CAD 8,000 – EURO 5,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Force eTap AXS 1 – Mid Olive/Dune – $USD 6,000 – $CAD 8,000 – EURO 5,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero GRX – Burgundy/Dark Orange – $USD 4,000 – $CAD 5,300 – EURO 3,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero GRX – Mid Olive/Dune – $USD 4,000 – $CAD 5,300 – EURO 3,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Apex 1 – Burgundy/Dark Orange – $USD 2,800 – $CAD 3,700 – EURO 2,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Apex 1 – Mid Olive/Dune – $USD 2,800 – $CAD 3,700 – EURO 2,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Ultegra RX – Mid Olive/Dune – $USD 4,000 – $CAD 5,300 – EURO 3,999
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Frameset – Burgundy/Dark Orange – $US 2,500 – $CAD 3,300 – EURO 2,499
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Frameset – Mid Olive/Dune – $US 2,500 – $CAD 3,300 – EURO 2,499
cervelo aspero gravel bike review
Áspero Frameset – Dark Teal/Light Teal – $US 2,500 – $CAD 3,300 – EURO 2,499

Detail Photos

Action Photos

Cervelo

5 comments on “Cervelo Áspero Gravel Bike: “Welcome to the Era of Speed in Gravel”

  1. That looks sharp! Aspero = “rough” in Spanish (and the accent on a capital vowel is cute but not necessary). I would love to be a tester with a 2x GRX… my road bike is an R5. Just morning day-dreaming, but the burgundy or teal frames are 👌 and I have two gravel races in August.

      1. Can confirm – the teal version (nicknamed cosmic vomit – not kidding!) is lovely in person. 🙂

  2. JOM, do you have any first impressions of this bike after almost a month with it? Will you do a short-term review any time soon? I’m ready to buy a bike, and I’m really interested in the Aspero. But there is almost no real-world information about it. Seems like no one has ridden one at all.

    I recently commented on your post about the 2020 Orbea Terra by asking you for a recommendation on a carbon gravel bike I could use as my primary road bike, and you were kind enough to point me toward the 3T Exploro. I have a friend with an Exploro LTD, and she let me ride it tonight. It’s an awesome bike. It’s light, fast and smooth. It climbs quickly and will close a gap like nobody’s business. I also rode my other friend’s Open UPPER just a little. It’s also a great bike. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of difference between the two. But even the lower-tier versions of both bikes cost several hundred dollars more than the Aspero.

    I also like everything about the Aspero on paper. I love the adjustable trail, in theory, since I will be running everything between 28mm and 40mm 700c tires. I also like the geometry and the price. But I don’t want to take the plunge without having some information about the ride quality. Any chance you can give me even a morsel of information? Thanks.

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