As American brands go, Cannondale is perhaps the least mainstream. You’ll see a lot of them on the roads of the UK but, unlike a few other brands heralding from the US, they are not generally considered, by the cool crowd, to be “too common”. We’ll put this down to their cult following in the amateur racing scene, with their CAAD range being the privateer option for many.
As you can imagine, when Cannondale brings us a long overdue update to an absolute fan favourite, hot or not, the entire cycling community is going to sit up and listen.
Enter the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Disc. Iteration 4 (super fans say 5) of Cannondale’s lightweight racing platform, the new SuperSix’s main goal, Cannondale says, was to improve the aerodynamics of the platform without compromising the weight and handling characteristics that have made the original bike so popular.
A little context for you: Since the SuperSix last saw an update, Cannondale have brought us a brand new Synapse, evolving it into the do-it all-bike in the range with concessions to comfort but an inherently lively character. Then last year we were lucky enough to get hold of their brand new aero race platform, the SystemSix, which entered the arena boldly claiming to be “the fastest aero road bike on the market”.
Both of these bikes have been the driving inspiration for the new SuperSix. Aero, with features pulled directly from the SystemSix plus a bit of lightweight finessing and the comfort-orientated features – such as the super thin and very compliant SAVE seat post – of the Synapse. This combination means the new SuperSix has the making of the perfect aero-climbing bike and the one bike to rule them all.
To the bike then. Cannondale has gone in strongly with this model too, asserting that the new SuperSix saves 30 watts over its round-tubed older brother. If we’re being generous, that is likely a little inflated due to the speed of the test taking place at 45kph, which few everyday riders are going to achieve with any regularity. That said, the saving at a real-world speed is still going to be significant. The original SuperSix, as a product of its age, made no considerations towards aerodynamics. The new model hits them all.
Dropped seatstays improve both airflow and comfort. A fully integrated cockpit – from component sister brand Knot – squirrels all the cables away at the front end for a perfectly clean look (computer mount notwithstanding). Finally, the tube shapes have been completely refined, with not a round piece of carbon in sight. Instead, it’s truncated aerofoils on the menu, aiming to improve aerodynamics wherever there are gains to be made.
The aesthetics won’t be for everyone. Firstly, Cannondale have revised their logo, taking a lead from the retro style found on famous frames, such as that ridden by the Saeco team many years prior.
Next, they have opted for a highly minimalist style and colour palette consisting of bold stripes bisecting the frame’s triangles, which also double up as reflective detailing. Its boldness will likely prove divisive, as purists will hold a strong fondness for Cannondale’s larger downtube logos from previous years. The shape of the frame will also feel very familiar, with several big-name brands releasing similar-looking aero frames this year alone.
To touch on the normal metrics, Cannondale have – amazingly – managed to largely maintain the frame weight of the previous SuperSix disc, with the new platform weighing in at approximately 780g – very competitive for the frame alone. The next measurable is perhaps one of our favourite growing trends – the frame’s allowance for larger tyres. The SuperSix will take a 28mm easily, with the new mid-depth wheels from Knot, supplied on the top of the range model, designed to perfectly complement such large rubber. This results in improved tyre profile, grip and comfort.
The cockpit is brand-new to the SuperSix too, though it is very similar to the unit used on the SystemSix. It certainly makes for a lovely front end, all incredibly clean and tucked away. That assumes – of course – that you buy the top-end build.
All in, the new bike is not only a radical departure from its predecessor but is a big engineering success on paper. It remains to be seen to how Team EF makes use of the bike towards the back end of the season.
Look out for the new SuperSix Evo in an issue of Rouleur very soon.