Closeup: IMUK 2018 bike set up


Cycling and triathlon ezines often do ‘closeups’ on the bikes of pros at various Ironman events and grand tours. That’s because it’s interesting seeing the latest kit in action, and then assuming that’s what makes them go so fast. 

I thought I’d do a similar, much less interesting piece on my own bike set up, which I used at Ironman UK 2018 (strava link - I had the 4th fastest bike of the day, completing the shortened course in  4hrs 10mins), showing what can be achieved even when you don’t get loads of free sh1t given to you or have a money tree growing in your back garden.

The bike I rode is a Cervelo P5 three from c.2014. Rated an unbelievably mediocre 3 out of 5 stars by BikeRadar, concluding "The P5 is one of the fastest bikes we’ve ever ridden, but at a comfort and confident cornering cost". So at least when I crash, I’ll be going quick...

2014 Cervelo P5 three. It’s a UCI compliant frame. Think that’s the only bit that is compliant with this set up.... 

2014 Cervelo P5 three. It’s a UCI compliant frame. Think that’s the only bit that is compliant with this set up.... 

The cockpit consists of Enve tri bars with 30deg USE aluminium extensions. I’ve made a custom 3D printed Garmin / etap blipbox holder which sits nicely between my arms. 


As this is the UCI compliant version of the P5 frame, rather than the tri version, I don’t have an integrated brake. So I fitted a Tririg omega. 

I’ve fitted some carbon arm rest cups, spaced slightly wider apart than I would usually run them, because I dislocated my arm ~5weeks before the event and it was still painful, and wider arm rests took some strain off.


I decided to use an elite crono aero bottle on the downtube and mount two cages on to the saddle rails with the use of a ‘pro aero fuel’ bracket (I was really impressed with this, for the low price of ~£20). In one bottle cage I had a 500ml bottle, and the other I fitted a small tool kit, both of which were jettisoned within 500m of the start of the bike course thanks to some speed humps. 


The bike has an etap wifli rear derailleur, with an 11-32t rear cassette and a single 54T chain ring at the front. Infocranks give me reliable power data which I then totally ignore during the ride. Some speedplay aero pedals complete the crankset.


My wheels aren’t anything fancy, just an old enve classic 65 and a Reynolds disc I picked up cheap. No doubt I could improve the bike in this area, but it wouldn’t be cheap...


I used a profile design bento box which is totally useless; it can fit about one gel in it which you then can’t even take out. It might help smooth the air flow after the stem, possibly saving an aero watt, so not totally useless 🤔