Is there an industry standard for comparing frame strength? And how is it relevant?
You'll never feel the difference between a stronger and weaker frame – unless the latter breaks.
Even the cheapest bike on the market passes the federal government’s minimum safety standards. Is that strong enough for the riding you do? Given that we engineer high-performance frames, Cervélo’s internal requirements are at least 20 per cent above industry standards. Our falling-frame requirement, for example, is 150 per cent higher. Head tube impact is 87 per cent higher, plus we use solid bearings and a bottom bracket with a fatigue tolerance of more than 2 million cycles (100,000 cycles is the standard).
Setting the bar so high poses some engineering challenges. Every increase in strength above the minimum requirement potentially adds weight in the form of reinforcing material, and we’re always looking to add stiffness and reduce weight as well. This means a lot more research and development time. Of course, as engineers, that’s what we do. It's no small achievement to increase the strength standards for all Cervélo frames, and still make some of the lightest frames in the world.
As a rider, what does all this mean to you? The short answer: Security and peace of mind. Part of the exhilaration of riding is traveling at high speeds with ease and confidence. Our goal is to reinforce not only the strength of the frame, but your confidence as a rider. Obviously, don’t go pounding on your Cervélo with a hammer. But we do want you to hammer away on the pedals knowing that you will not damage your frame.