Cervelo is better known in the curly bar world where they sponsor Wout van Aert and the rest of Team Jumbo-Visma, but today sees them release their first mountain bike, the ZHT-5 hardtail that they describe as, "Stiff, light, and ready to fight." In other words, the ZHT-5 is all about cross-country racing, and Cervelo says that the 907-gram frame (medium) is a "super stiff mountain bike design that propels you to the front without compromising weight or ride quality."
Cervelo is offering the ZHT-5 in two flavors; $9,000 USD gets you an XX1 AXS, a SID SL Ultimate, and a set of carbon fiber wheels from Reserve, while the $4,800 USD build comes with GX AXS, a SID SL Select, and aluminum wheels bolted to the same carbon frame.
• Intended use: Cross-country racing
• Travel: 100mm fork
• Frame material: Carbon fiber
• Head angle: 68.5-degrees
• Seat angle: 74-degrees
• Wheels: 29" only
• Sizes: SM, MD, LRG, XL
• Reach: 457mm (LRG)
• Weight: 907 grams (MD frame only)
• Price: $9,000, $4,800 USD
• More info: www.cervelo.com
Cervelo makes some very
light road and gravel bikes, so it's not exactly a surprise to hear that a medium-sized ZHT-5 frame weighs just 907 grams. That's not the absolute lightest on the market, but it's not far off, and Cervelo told us that while it could be a little lighter, they also wanted the frame to feel stiff in an efficient kind of way.
The most polarizing detail will no doubt be the internal cable routing that enters through the headset top cap and makes for a sleek-looking frame. It likely makes maintenance a little more complicated as well but, aside from the top cap itself, there are no weird proprietary parts and it uses normal bearings that should be easy to source. Speaking of cables, neither of the two complete bikes come from Cervelo with a dropper post - this is a full-out cross-country bike, after all - but they were smart to include internal routing should a ZHT-5 owner want to add one down the road after they've been thrown out the front door a few times.
Other details worth mentioning include two bottle mount locations - a must-have for this type of bike - and a threaded bottom bracket that will never call for a hammer or press to work on. Geometry
The ZHT-5 is designed around a 100mm-travel fork and a 68.5-degree head angle, which is probably more than a couple of degrees steeper than your brand-new trail bike but in line with other race-focused hardtails. If you could do with a bit more forgiveness, Cervelo did tell us earlier this year that you're able to run up to a 130mm fork that would also relax the steering a touch. All four sizes get a 74-degree seat angle and a 430mm rear-end, but the headtube does grow from just 89mm on the small to 121mm on the extra-large.
Reach numbers lean more towards conservative than long, with the large-sized frame coming in at 457mm. The 484mm extra-large is as big as it gets, and it starts at 409mm for the small frame.