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A bike for racing and for all riders


In March 2023, after a four-year hiatus, Cannondale officially unveiled its highly anticipated new SuperSix model to an eagerly awaited public. It’s always a risk when such an established brand updates one of its most popular models: the challenge is to make improvements without removing elements of the bike that people love. It’s for this reason that the latest SuperSix doesn’t see any very radical changes, instead there are a few updates that make it, according to Cannondale, lighter, faster and more aesthetically pleasing than ever.

At last year’s launch, Cannondale engineers explained that they had the goals of achieving the drag of an aero bike and lower overall system weight, as well as adding more integration and capabilities to the SuperSix. There were also aesthetic goals that the Cannondale team set themselves, such as breaking the generic mold and restrictions of down tubes along with impeccable styling and finish of the components. After several aerodynamic tests, Cannondale says the new SuperSix shaves 12 watts off the previous-generation model at 45km/h, but at the same time still stays true to its original identity as a bike made to climb fast (a top – The spec Dura-Ace LAB71 SuperSix on a 56cm is said to reach the UCI weight limit of 6.9 kilograms).

New internals were also a big part of Cannondale’s updates to the SuperSix, as the American brand brought to market an integrated cockpit option that was created in collaboration with MOMODesign, called the SystemBar R -One. A set of newly designed Hollowgram R-SL 50 wheels completed the SuperSix package.

What sets the SuperSix apart from the crowd of WorldTour race bikes that are consistently marketed as all-terrain bikes that strike the balance between lightweight and aerodynamic are the considerations Cannondale has made for the everyday consumer of the SuperSix. Features like a standard BSA threaded bottom bracket, standard thru-axles for easy wheel removal, relocation of drivetrain batteries to the down tube and clearance for up to 34mm tires make the bike be a little easier to maintain, travel with and use on a range of terrain. While the SystemBar R-One is the aero handlebar option, Cannondale also offers the option of running a non-integrated bar and stem with their “Conceal Stem” which allows integration but fits any handlebar , which means that the SuperSix is ​​easily adjusted for different anatomies. needs.

The men’s and women’s EF Education WorldTour teams have proven the SuperSix holds its own in the pro pack, but does it get the job done for those of us looking for a bike that can do it all? This winter we’ve been testing the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 1.

The construction

I tested the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod 1 in the Mercury paint scheme, which is the only color Cannondale currently offers in the Hi-Mod 1 build. While it might be nice to have a couple more options, I think that the warm combination of silver and black works well on the SystemSix – the fade from matte to gloss from the back to the front of the bike is unique and the metal flake in the paint really pops in the light ground. On the top tube, you can see a layer of forged carbon fiber that gives the bike a particularly premium feel and highlights the craftsmanship of Cannondale’s frame builders.

The paint job isn’t the only thing that gives the SuperSix a unique look: the tubes are smaller than you’d expect from a bike with the same aerodynamic qualities, especially at the rear. Although the SuperSix features the dropped seat stays that are common on aero bikes, the seat tube is extremely thin above the bottom bracket and continues down the length of the seat tube. In fact, looking at the bike from the back, the carbon looks so thin it’s a wonder how it holds up. This is one of the reasons why Cannondale have moved the Di2 battery port to the down tube of the SuperSix, while this means the battery won’t get lost in the seat tube (it’s all happened to us before when we were cycling) it also means that the battery is in a part of the bike that is likely to face the worst water damage, something to consider if using an internal electronic group battery.

At the front of the bike, Cannondale leans towards a more traditional aero frame with a subtle hourglass shape in the head tube, a reshaped fork and more space between the fork and the front wheel. The bike I tested featured the extremely sleek looking SystemBar R-One integrated handlebar system that was wrapped in 3.5mm bar tape.

The Hi-Mod 1 build is the highest Hi-Mod model and only comes with a SRAM Red AXS groupset – those looking to use Shimano should step up to Lab71 for Dura-Ace or drop down to the Hi-Mod 2. upcoming build with Ultegra Di2. The bike’s gearing was 48/35 chainrings paired with a 10-28 cassette, while the wheels were Cannondale’s HollowGram 50 R-SL model. These use a rim shape with an internal width of 21mm and an external width of 32mm and have an average depth of 50mm, with a blade radius shaped by Cannondale’s “Draft” aerodynamic design philosophy. The wheels come standard with 25mm Continental GP5000 tires, while the saddle that comes with the SuperSix is ​​the Prologo Dimension NACK NDR with carbon rails.

The SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 1 is priced at $13,500 / £10,500 and the frameset is $4,500 / £3,750. The LAB71 version of the SuperSix sits at the top of the range and rises ($2,000 / £1,500) in price, with a weight saving of around 40 grams.

the lap

When I first rode the SuperSix, I was impressed by the comfort of the geometry – it feels less aggressive than other bikes I’ve tried, like the Pinarello Dogma F, but that’s something that made the bike extremely comfortable on long routes . There was also plenty of stack height at the front of the bike, so there is the option to lower the front end for those who prefer a more aerodynamic fit.

The versatility of the SuperSix is ​​where it stands out from the crowd: it’s fast enough for racing, but also comfortable enough for long rides. Throw on a pair of 30mm tires and use Cannondale’s SmartSense integrated light system and this is a bike that has everything you need for the long haul. Despite the increased seatpost depth compared to the previous SuperSix, the bike is still forgiving over rough terrain, likely thanks to its dropped seatstays and slim-profile seat tube. The small notch that comes out of the seatpost just below the saddle also helps here: I didn’t experience any jolts or discomfort in the saddle when riding the SuperSix (credit can also be given to the Prologo Dimension saddle for helping with this, I found the seat (for Be comfortable and supportive.) However, there are a few things Cannondale could change to make the SuperSix a little more applicable to non-racing situations. For example, I would have preferred the bike to come with 28mm tires instead of the 25mm it comes with as standard, for a more practical option – most users won’t be taking this bike straight to a race stage. I’d also note that the specially designed aero cages don’t easily accommodate larger water bottles, so they may require a switch if you want to set the SuperSix up for all-day riding. These are small changes, though, and overall I was very impressed with how comfortable the SuperSix was on long rides. But where Cannondale has made sure the SuperSix can handle a rider for long days in the saddle, the American brand has created a bike that’s more than capable in faster settings, too. Driving in my local gang and on intense group rides that involved accelerations at traffic lights, the SuperSix responded quickly and caught up as soon as I asked it to. The SystemBar R-One handlebars help the bike feel stiff and solid – I felt like the bike was fired up and ready to race, pushing me hard and making sure I wasn’t wasting energy on the pedals . However, if I were to buy the bike myself, I’d go for a two-piece system just to be able to choose my own fit options (I found the SystemBar R-One integrated bars to be a bit wide for my usual taste). I can’t Review Cannondale’s aero claims for the SuperSix, but I found myself comfortably passing other riders on descents without noticeable effort, which lends credence to the claim that this is a bike optimized for going fast. Uphill, the bike was light and bouncy, offering plenty of feedback when out of the saddle.

The confidence I had in the SuperSix was also helped by the handling of the bike. I used it on wet and slippery roads, but the bike responded quickly to any small adjustments I needed to make a corner. While it’s quick to help you correct your line if you need to, the SuperSix doesn’t have the jumpy, jittery feel that some bikes have and is extremely well balanced. The HollowGram R-SL 50 wheels were stiff and responsive and I didn’t feel any flex during acceleration or at high speeds.

verdict

Although the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 1 is priced higher, it’s actually £1000 cheaper than its predecessor and the bargain-priced upgrades are representative across the range. The versatility of the SuperSix also helps to justify the price: it can serve riders all year round, from long traverses and winter miles to nimble sunny races where you need a bike that responds quickly to acceleration and can support when you go through it. corners Aesthetically, the SuperSix has some impressive carbon shapes and I personally really like the silver paint job, although it’s a shame there aren’t more options in terms of both color and Hi-Mod build specs 1.

There are certainly lighter bikes out there than the SuperSix, and perhaps some that are quicker to Review in the wind tunnel, but that won’t be without sacrificing the impressive responsiveness and compliance that the SuperSix offers. Similar to other major bike launches last year (like Specialized’s new Tarmac SL8), the SuperSix definitely seems to represent a step away from consumers having to choose between an aero bike or a climbing bike; instead, Cannondale offers a bike that can do it all in the SuperSix, whether in the WorldTour peloton or on a local ride.

Overall, there could be some very minor things that Cannondale could fix with the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod 1, but it’s pretty hard to fault this model for those looking for a bike that’s comfortable but also delivers high-end racing. capabilities It might not be for watt-crunching, marginal-gain-seeking aero testers, who would probably want something lower and more aggressive, but for the everyday rider who likes to go fast, the SuperSix ticks a lot of boxes.

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