Project California: Labor of Love
Consider the Cervelo R5ca as starting from scratch in a way. What Cervelo wanted to do with Project California, as they called it, is to spend time learning about bike design rather than working on frame development although a frame was eventually produced. Cervelo did not want to take their already wonderful existing line and attempt to make improvements on it, instead they set out for something new and innovative. In other words the magic here lies in the process and not the end result. What was being done in the Garden Grove, California facility used specifically for this project was nothing short of conceptual art.
So it may be a stretch to call something that is going to be beaten down on cobbles and stressed through 180-degree corners a work of art but Project California is a fine work of craft nonetheless. Before we move on lets make sure one thing is clear, Project California is the program that gave birth to the Cervelo R5ca. What is being emphasized here is the research, development, and the facility behind the end result because that is really what you are dropping ten grand on if you chose to get the R5ca.
Cervelo’s first goal was to find a facility that would lend to year-round outdoor testing and they found it in Garden Grove. Notice the key words in that last sentence, that’s right, “outdoor testing”. Cervelo then developed a strain gauge bike to be tested in real world, outdoor scenarios. The information gained from these tests were then used to develop a virtual bike where more tests could be run which would mimic real world results. The same engineering group in California that does the research and testing then go ahead and physically make the bike...by hand. This bears repeating, the same guys that design the bike are also responsible for manufacturing the bike...by hand.
If you don’t know the bike industry, or any manufacturing industry you might be thinking “what’s the big deal, why $9,799 for this bike?”. It comes down to one thing and that is everything being done in house and by hand. This is something truly beautiful in todays industry norm of developing and branding in one place then sending manufacturing to another. What you are really paying for here is love...and bragging rights! Don’t be put off by thinking all this development and research was done for one high-priced frame design because the results of Cervelo’s efforts will soon be passed down through their line at better rates.