Cervélo ZFS-5

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Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Cervélo ZFS-5. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

19 reasons to buy

  • The Cervélo ZFS-5 is an “extremely fast” XC race machine that rewards max-effort riding.
  • This bike is available with 100mm travel for XC racing or in a 120mm/115mm “trail-friendly” format.
  • A tester of the ZFS-5 120 appreciates the extra comfort and versatility compared to the 100mm-travel builds.
  • All experts relish the “effortless” climbing performance.
  • Experts enjoy the support and high-speed control from the ZFS-5’s suspension.
  • Reviewers report snappy, responsive pedaling performance and minimal pedal bob.
  • The ZFS-5’s “turn-on-a-dime” handling precision impresses testers.
  • Testers of both builds are surprised by how hard the “aggressive” ZFS-5 can be pushed on descents.
  • Reviewers praise the comfort and smooth ride over small bumps.
  • Experts appreciate the ability to hold speed through tight turns.
  • Testers say it takes minimal effort to get the “poppy” and “springy” ZFS-5 airborne.
  • Multiple experts highlight the bike’s agility for tackling tight uphill switchbacks and navigating tight singletrack.
  • Experts enjoy the compliant Reserve carbon wheels, reporting a "superb record for impact durability."
  • The 2.4” Maxxis Rekon Race tires provide “ample traction in nearly every situation.”
  • One expert hails the shift quality from the SRAM XX SL AXS as “second to none.”
  • Cervélo provides a lifetime warranty for the frame.
  • The ZFS-5 frameset is one of the lightest on the market.
  • A tester appreciates the “superb” contact points.
  • Cervélo chose a durable BSA threaded bottom bracket for this bike.

6 reasons not to buy

  • Experts say the highly progressive rear suspension limits effective travel and reduces composure on rougher terrain.
  • Two testers complain that the front and rear suspension are mismatched, with the rear end more progressive.
  • Reviewers lament the headset cable routing, which adds complexity to maintenance and repairs.
  • The 100mm ZFS-5 builds lack a dropper post.
  • Two testers complain of the slightly delayed shifting speed when using the SRAM XX SL AXS setup.
  • Two reviewers think the 160mm brake rotors are too small; one reports brake fade on long, steep descents.

Bottom line

Cervélo’s ZFS-5 is a full-suspension XC mountain bike available in six builds. The race-ready version has 100mm of travel; the trail-friendly setup has 120mm (front) and 115mm (rear). Both configurations earn top marks for climbing prowess, precision handling, and the capacity to be pushed hard. Supportive suspension makes it easy to hold high speeds over repeated small bumps, but an overly progressive rear end limits composure through rougher sections. Testers laud most of Cervélo’s component and design choices but question the frustrating headset cable routing and lack of dropper (race-ready builds). Overall, experts agree the ZFS-5 is an excellent XC bike in either setup.

Expert Reviews

86/100 based on 3 rated expert reviews

Cervélo ZFS-5 XX SL AXS Review

The ZFS-5 is a no-nonsense XC race machine, hyper-focused on going as fast as possible… the progressivity of the suspension robs you of a little descending capability, which in turn makes this very much a Sunday-best race bike only, in my opinion.

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Flow Mountain Bike

Cervelo ZFS-5 Review | A Brand New XC Bike That’s Surprised Us in More Ways Than One

What’s really blown me away is just how much fun it is on the descents. The progressive geometry and supple suspension give it a load of high-speed control, and the compliant chassis and wheels mean it’s remarkably smooth to ride over chunky terrain.

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Bike Perfect

Cervelo ZFS-5 Frame Review – Rad MTB Racer From Speed Hungry Roadies

Hyper competitive, aggressively agile, superlight, twin travel option race bike with a very healthy appetite for hammering the hard stuff. It’s acceptably priced and mostly practically durable, too, but weight-saving control routing won’t please home wrenchers.

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bike-test.com | ride better bikes

The Cervélo ZFS-5 Review – How Much Cervélo Is in This Mountain Bike?

Cervelo ZFS 5 is a razor-sharp race bike. Neither the equipment nor the frame of the ZFS 5 makes any compromises.

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Cervelo ZFS-5 Race MTB Mid-Term Live Ride Review

This is a really easy bike to ride…

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Australian Mountain Bike

First Look: Cervélo ZFS-5 120 X0 AXS Mountain Bike

Cervélo has delivered what feels to be a balanced platform targeted at racers. With some XC bikes being stretched out and overbuilt to edge into downcountry builds, don’t expect the Cervélo to fall into that category.

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Escape Collective

Cervelo ZFS-5 Review: A Superb XC Race Machine From an Unlikely Source

… this Cervelo ZFS-5 is a genuinely excellent cross-country machine that obviously benefits from its corporate stablemates. It’s fast, it’s light, it’s quick-handling, and perhaps most important of all, it just feels fantastic to ride hard.

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serge Porte

Cervélo ZFS-5 Test: A Cross-Country Mountain Bike to Win Races! (Mountain Bike Winner) [French]

It’s a subtle balance between performance, comfort, and handling that’s hard to match among the many bikes I’ve ridden.

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Test | Cervélo ZFS-5: Comfort and Performance Are Not Antonyms [French]

… the ZFS-5 is a chassis with personality, that’s fun to ride and definitely comfortable… a contemporary geometry that allows you to feel confident very quickly, the ZFS-5 proves to be precise and capable, even for the average rider…

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User Ratings

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