Project California

Project California

The engineers at Cervélo’s Project California have been pushing frame design with advanced lay-ups, and new technologies. Our Project California bikes are what happens when you put all that knowledge into one frame.

Project California

In 2008 Cervélo began an ambitious engineering project in California to push the composites R&D envelope. This facility is where we prove our leadership in innovating faster, stiffer, lighter and stronger bikes. This is where our engineering leadership is elevated, where we create new manufacturing techniques and improved design processes, including new bicycle-specific layup and ply analysis software. Our final step is strength and safety tests at least 20% higher than industry standards, executed for maximum security and quality.

As an engineering company that is dedicated to making all of our riders go faster, we know that we get the greatest benefit when we bring technology inside the company. While other companies have subcontracted outsiders to develop their leading-edge bikes, Cervélo has developed the people and technologies internally. This focus on leadership means that every Cervélo is built to the same standards, and receives many of the benefits, of the advanced carbon fibre layup and technologies in our most advanced frames made in our Project California facility.

In 2010 Cervélo launched the R5ca: 100 grams lighter than the nearest competitor, and 30% stiffer (Tour magazine, Nov. 2011). The R5ca showcased our Project California development process and was the outcome of our reality-based test protocols. It proved itself less than two years after its launch with a 1st place victory at the 2012 Giro d’Italia.

This frame had it all.

So we pushed it further.

Introducing the Rca: Uncompromised Engineering Redefined

We’ve taken the lightest and made it lighter, while maintaining the optimal stiffness we achieved with the R5ca. We’ve engineered Squoval 3™, giving our light weight tube shapes a new aero profile.  We’ve taken what we know from our category-leading aero S-series bikes and seamlessly integrated this knowledge into our pioneering light weight R-series.

The Rca showcases the best of our knowledge, testing, and industry-leading engineering processes.

Using our Concurrent Aero & Structural Engineering (CASE) approach we brought our Toronto and California teams together in a cross-disciplinary process. The goal: maximize the structural and aerodynamic performance of the final design. With all our F1 engineering design tools in-house (CAD, FEA, CFD), we are able to virtually test all aspects of frame performance… even before we begin cutting the moulds.

Our design process involves two steps: first, we performed a cross-disciplinary parametric design study to determine the sensitivity of aero, stiffness, comfort and weight to the systematic dimensional variation of 15 different design areas of the frame. This involved creating 93 different frame shapes and running 279 FEA analyses. Then, with optimum aero, stiffness, comfort and weight goals firmly in our sights, we began an iterative design process to engineer the first iterations of the Rca’s frame shapes. This process is a cycle: design, virtually test, redesign, test again. With each iteration, the new design comes closer and closer to the goals, step by step. When we’ve reached these goals, we’re ready to launch a new bike. 

Click here for an inside look at our engineering process.

  • Rca 2
    The Rca
  • Rca 8
  • Rca 11
  • Rca 6
  • Rca 10
  • Rca 12
Core Design Features


A library of shapes that combine the attributes of a square and an oval to achieve an ideal balance of stiffness, weight, and aerodynamics.

Aero, Stiffness, Weight

Carbon Dropouts

Tough, compression-molded dropouts save weight with no sacrifice in strength versus traditional metal dropouts.

Simplicity, Weight

Future-Proof Cable Management

Future-Proof Cable Management ensures your frame is compatible with all current and future derailleur and brake systems.

Aero, Simplicity

Evolved Steerer Design

Different frame designs call for different steerer dimensions. We use the right dimension in the right application.

Comfort, Stiffness, Weight

Reduced-Friction BB Guide

Smooth shifting that is easy to set up is no accident. Designing shifting requires a detailed approach. Small details have a huge impact.



BBright increases system stiffness and reduces frame weight while allowing for a large range of crank compatibility in a modern press fit system.

Stiffness, Weight