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Cervelo vs Specialized: What’s the Real Deal?

Cervelo vs Specialized
Written by Cobie Brown
Last Update: August 16, 2023

Both Cervelo and Specialized offer high-end bikes and you can’t go wrong with any of them. However, rather than brands, we recommend that you pick a few models from both that fit within your budget, and then look into the design, technology, and materials of the frame and other components of each model.

With some time and research, you will surely be able to make the right choice based on your riding style, the terrain, and other personal preferences.

Still, we are here to introduce you to these top players in the industry and make you well-familiar with some of their best offerings so you can easily make up your mind by the time you’re done reading this article.

Cervelo vs Specialized: Brand overview


Cervélo is a Canadian bicycle manufacturer that specializes in high-performance road, triathlon, and track bikes. Based in Toronto, Canada, the company was founded in 1995 by Phil White and Gérard Vroomen. Cervélo has gained a global reputation for their innovative design and engineering with significant success in professional cycling.

Cervélo’s bikes are known for their aerodynamic shapes, lightweight frames, and stiff, responsive characteristics. They have pioneered several design features, including the aero-shaped down tube and seat tube, the integrated seatpost, and the BBright bottom bracket.

Cervélo bikes have been ridden to victory in numerous professional races, including the Tour de France and Ironman triathlons. Gerard Vroomen sold his share in 2011 for another project and Pon Holding currently owns Cervelo.


Specialized is one of the most popular and innovative bicycle manufacturers with a range of bikes, bike components and accessories to offer.

While Cervelo only offers high-end bikes, Specialized caters to a wider customer base with both high-end bikes that cost a fortune but are worth every cent and mid-tier and entry-level bikes that are comparatively less expensive but still perform great.

Specialized was established by Mark Sinyard in 1974 in California. He initially imported Italian bike parts to America. But in 1981 they launched their first two bicycles – the Allez & the Sequoia. In the same year they introduced “The Streetjumper” – their first mass-produced mountain bike.

Specialized is also known for their innovative designs and technologies, such as the Body Geometry fit system, which helps the riders achieve the optimal position on their bike for comfort and performance.

They have been successful in professional cycling as well with their bikes winning numerous major races, including the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España. The company also sponsors several professional cycling teams, including Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep.

Specialized vs Cervelo: What’s there to know?

Product range


Cervelo does not boast a wide variety of bikes since their main focus is to manufacture bikes for professionals and dedicated bikers who prefer speed.

Cervelo’s bike series:

Road bikes: R5,S5, Soloist, Caledonia-5, Caledonia

Time trial or triathlon bikes: P5, P-Series, PX-Series

Off-Road: R5-CX, R5-CX, Áspero-5, Áspero, ZHT-5

Note: Each series includes several models.

They also manufacture bike components and apparels, including frames, bottom brackets, cable guides, derailleurs, hangers, headsets, seatposts, stem hats, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.


As one of the largest bike manufacturers, Specialized covers several bike categories and accessories. Their bike lineup includes road bikes, mountain bikes, comfort bikes, e-bikes and kids bikes; with each lineup having a massive number of bikes.

They also manufacture a wide range of bike equipment, including bike components, bike gear and accessories, and apparels for both men and women.

What’s more, Specialized manufactures race-oriented products and bikes labeled under “S-Works” that are used by several top riders. They also have a wide number of specialty products such as high-vis gear and indoor cycling gear.

Price range


Carvelo is a very expensive brand as they manufacture high-end bicycles only. They invest a large amount of their funds into their R&D department. The use of high-end components, lightweight materials, and ground-breaking technologies make them highly expensive but worth it.

The cheapest Cervelo will cost you $3200 and the most expensive one a staggering $13000.


Specialized manufactures bikes in different price ranges but the premium ones are certainly expensive.

Their entry-level bikes are mostly okay but priced higher compared to entry-level bikes from other brands.

But their premium bikes are with every penny as they offer top-of-the-line components, innovative technologies, lightweight materials, and outstanding performance.

You can find a Specialized bike for as low as $650 to as high as $15,000.

Manufacturing materials


As they manufacture premium bikes, you can only expect quality materials. Only carbon fiber is used to build every frame to give it a lighter and stronger build.

All Cervélo frames come with components from trusted big brands such as SRAM, Shimano, and Reserve, along with their own hardware and custom tube shapes to guarantee unmatched performances.


For frame construction Specialized mostly uses steel in entry level bikes, aluminum in mid-range bikes, and carbon and titanium in high-end bikes.

Braking system


Cervelo uses Shimano hydraulic disc brake, SRAM Force HRD brake and SRAM Red HRD brake in their bikes.


You will find different brake systems in different Specialized bike categories. They use coaster brakes or hand brakes for the kid’s bike lineup, rim brakes for entry-level or mid-level bikes and hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes for the premium ones.

Suspension system


Most of Cervelo’s bikes come with rigid forks, meaning no suspension. However, a series of their off-road bikes have a front suspension fork.


Specialized has been using their proprietary FSR suspension system in their full suspension bikes for over 20 years. This system operates separately without making any sacrifices of chain and braking forces, thus delivering more comfort and efficient cross country or downhill rides.

They also use the Brain suspension technology, which automatically freezes the suspension on paved surfaces and activates it on rough terrains. Moreover, it can differentiate pedaling forces from jolt forces, which makes pedaling easier as well.

Advanced Technologies


Cervelo uses a number of advanced proprietary technologies in their bikes. Each Cervelo bike model is made considering five key designs: Aerodynamics, Weight, Ride quality, Usability, Stiffness. These five features combined together provide a smooth and speedy ride for any kind of biker.

Technologies used by Cervelo:

  • CS28 stem(V-shaped frame)
  • Aerodynamic Design- Pro-Fit, TrueAero frame design
  • Unique tubing designs – Squoval, Squoval Max, Squoval IPC, Squoval Max, BBright


From the very beginning, Specialized’s mission was to improve people’s biking experience with the implementation of advanced technologies.

Advanced technologies that are found on Specialized bikes are:

  • Advanced Aerodynamics
  • The Future Shock
  • Brain Technology
  • FACT Carbon Fiber
  • FSR suspension system

Manufacturing Facility


Cervelo bikes are designed in Toronto, Canada while they are manufactured in the USA, Germany, and Taiwan. They also have an R&D center in the USA where they look for new innovations.


All the research, designing, and prototyping of Specialized bikes are done in Morgan Hill, California. They are then manufactured at different facilities in China and Taiwan.

Merida bikes of Taiwan manufactures mid-level and high-end Specialized bikes while the cheaper bikes are manufactured at facilities in China. Some frames are also made by Giant.



Every Cervelo bike purchased after Jan 1, 2004 has a lifetime frame replacement/repair warranty against any material or workmanship defects, excluding paint/decals on the frame. Warranty can be claimed from any authorized Cervelo bike retailer.

Also, if the frame is damaged due to an accident, improper maintenance, improper assembly, misuse, abuse, or modification, the warranty will be invalid.


When it comes to Cervelo vs Specialized, the later has one of the best warranty policies in the bicycle industry. They offer a limited time warranty to the original purchaser against any material and workmanship defects. They also offer a limited time warranty to the subsequent owner of their products.

If you register your bike within 90 days of the purchase with Specialized, they will provide a lifetime warranty of the frameset for as long as you (the original purchaser) own it.

The limited time warranty won’t cover any damage caused by improper assembly or maintenance, accident, wear & tear, or modifications.

Warranty applicable for original purchaser:

Components Warranty for registered Products Warranty for non-registered Products
Frames and Forks of all bikes, and seatstays and chainstays of full-suspension bikes Lifetime 2 years
Motors and Drive systems parts of e-bikes 2 years 2 years
Turbo batteries 300 charge cycles or  2 years, the one that comes first 2 years
Specialized branded

Helmet, shoes, equipment and bike parts

2 years 2 years
BRAIN( co-branded suspension system) 2 years 2 years
Wheels- Roval branded 2 years 2 years
Other accessories not listed 1-year 1-year

The second or subsequent owner of the bike will have a warranty coverage from the original date of purchase by the first buyer.

Warranty applicable for the subsequent owner:

Components Warranty for registered Products Warranty for non-registered Products
Frame, forks, shocks, helmets, shoes, Roval wheels, BRAIN suspension, 2 years 2 years
Motor, battery and drive components on e-bikes 2 years 2 years
Apparels – Specialized-branded  1-year  1-year


Q. Do Specialized bikes hold their value?

Ans: Top-of-the-line Specialized bikes like the Carbon S Works line tend to hold their value very well. But that’s not applicable to their low-end bikes due to low quality parts.

Q. Does a subsequent owner need proof of the original retail purchase?

Ans: The warranty period is counted from the date of the original purchase. So, the subsequent owner must need the original purchasing slip to claim warranty.

About the author

Cobie Brown

Born and grew up in Colorado, I chose to work in the field of what I liked most, biking. I’ve been working as a full time mechanic in the cycling industry for over 13 years. I started BMXing when I was just a 6-year-old kid and got hooked from the very first day. Then I started riding and not a single day went by since then that I didn’t touch my bike.

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