Road brand Cervélo announces its first ever MTB – the XC race oriented ZHT-5

Cervélo ZHT-5
(Image credit: Cervélo )

Premium road cycling brand Cervélo is hitting the trail with its first ever XC mountain bike. The Canadian company says its new Cervélo ZHT-5 is “fast, efficient, and even a bit fun.” The hardtail bike is set to make its race debut when the MTB World Cup gets underway in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, in May 2023. 

Over the last quarter-century, Cervélo has made its name with some of the most advanced road and triathlon bikes on the market. Now, it’s teamed up with Team Jumbo-Visma and Dutch XCO champion Milan Vader (who’ll race the ZHT-5 at the 2024 Olympics in Paris), to make the shift into “multidisciplinary racing“, creating a bike it believes will be “immediately competitive at the pointy end of any cross country race”.

Cervélo says the new ZHT-5 was designed with two goals in mind: make it light, and make it ride really, really well

Cervélo ZHT-5

(Image credit: Cervélo )

“Light weight wins races,” claims the ZHT-5 press release. “We have a lot of experience in designing bikes that fly up hors catégorie climbs in the Tour, and then descend confidently and aggressively down the other side. We sought to bring this same balance to a purpose-built XCO race bike. ZHT-5 is prized by those who value efficiency over all else – and who have the skills to tame today’s technical courses without the benefit of a shock. 

“It’s not on the lunatic fringe of longer and slacker,” the release continues, “but the 68.5-degree head tube angle and rationally progressive geometry claim to keep the rider’s weight centered and stable. It’s comfortable, fast downhill, nimble enough for pack racing and stable at speed.”

Cervélo ZHT-5

(Image credit: Cervélo )

The ZHT-5 is available in one of two builds – the cheaper ZHT-5 GX Eagle AXS and the premium ZHT-5 XX1 AXS. Our Tech Editor, Guy, got some time on the XX1 version prior to launch and was massively impressed – as you can read in his Cervélo ZHT-5 XX1 AXS review.

As you'd expect, the ZHT-5 frame is full carbon fiber. This is paired with a 100mm RockShox SID SL Select RL fork on the GX version and a SID SL Ultimate on the XX1 model. The wheelset comes in the form of Race Face ARC 27 rims on E*thirteen TRS Race hubs on the GX model, and Reserve 28 XC rims on Industry Nine 1/1 hubs for the fancier ZHT-5. Brakes come courtesy of SRAM Level TL for the GX build and
SRAM Level Ultimate for the XX1. See further below for a full breakdown of the spec for each bike.

Cervélo ZHT-5

(Image credit: Cervélo )

Cervélo ZHT-5 availability, pricing and specs

Pricing starts at £5,000 / €5,299 for the GX Eagle AXS version, rising to £8,500 / €9,999 for the ZHT-5 XX1 AXS. In terms of colors, the GX Eagle AXS comes in Moss Khaki, while the XX1 AXS is available in Five Black. The Cervélo ZHT-5 comes in four sizes – S, M, L and XL – and is available to buy now in an initial limited run of just 300 bikes.

Cervélo ZHT-5 XX1 AXS

Cervélo ZHT-5

(Image credit: Cervélo)
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Ultimate 29”, 100mm 44 offset
  • Headset: FSA IS2 1-1/2 x 1-1/2
  • Thru axles: Cervélo MTB Thru-Axle, 12x148
  • Rear wheel: Reserve 28 XC, 28mm IW, i9 1/1,12x148mm, XD freehub, 24H, centerlock, tubeless compatible
  • Front wheel: Reserve 28 XC, 28mm IW, i9 1/1, 15x110mm, 24H, centerlock, tubeless compatible
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race Black, 29”x2.4”, EXO 120TPI
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1 Eagle Boost 148 Dub Grey 32T
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB, BSA 73mm
  • Chain: SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12 speed
  • Front derailleur: N/A
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS w/ Battery Protector
  • Cassette: SRAM XG 1299 Eagle 10-52T Copper
  • Shifters: SRAM AXS Controller R Rocker
  • Handlebar: RaceFace Next 35, 10mm rise Carbon
  • Stem: RaceFace Aeffect 35 6 Degree Alloy
  • Brake calipers: SRAM Level Ultimate
  • Brake rotors: SRAM CLX Centerlock 160
  • Saddle: Prologo Dimension NDR Nack
  • Seatpost: Cervélo SP29 Carbon 30.9
  • Price: £8,500 / €9,999

Cervélo ZHT-5 GX Eagle AXS

Cervélo ZHT-5

(Image credit: Cervélo )
  • Fork: RockShox SID SL Select RL 29 100mm 44 Offset
  • Headset: FSA IS2 1-1/2 x 1-1/2
  • Thru axles: Cervélo MTB Thru-Axle, 12x148
  • Rear wheel: Race Face ARC Offset 27, 27mm IW, E*thirteen TRS Race, 12x148mm, XD freehub, 28H, 6 bolt, tubeless compatible
  • Front wheel: Race Face ARC Offset 27, 27mm IW, E*thirteen TRS Race TC, 15x110mm, 24H, 6 bolt, tubeless compatible
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race, EXO 120TPI, 29x2.4
  • Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle, 32T, Boost 148 DUB
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB, BSA 73mm
  • Chain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12 speed
  • Front derailleur: N/A
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle AXS, 12 speed
  • Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle, 10-52, 12 Speed
  • Shifters: SRAM GX AXS Rocker
  • Handlebar: Race Face Aeffect Alloy, 35mm clamp, 760mm width, 10mm rise
  • Stem: Race Face Aeffect Alloy, 35mm clamp, 6 degree
  • Brake calipers: SRAM Level TL
  • Brake rotors: SRAM Centerline 6-Bolt
  • Saddle: Prologo Dimension NDR T4.0
  • Seatpost: Race Face Ride XC Alloy 30.9
  • Price: £5,000 / €5,299