Cannondale SuperSix 5 105 £1999.99

Multiple Grand Tour-winning frameset at an affordable price

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

The original 2007 SystemSix was a carbon/aluminium mix, ridden to King of the Mountains glory, before becoming the full-carbon SuperSix in 2008. With more than 30 design revisions in the following years it’s now quite a different machine, but it hasn’t lost the ride quality that we’ve revelled in, describing its handling back in the previous decade as "as good as it gets".

  • Highs: Totally focused handling and a race ready build. If you want fast, the SuperSix is FAST
  • Lows: With a frameset this good you’ll want to start upgrading to unleash its potential
  • Buy if: You want a bike that’s built for speed; all-day cruisers, do not apply

Climb aboard the SuperSix and it has an instant feeling of efficiency – prompt to accelerate and make sharp direction changes. Unlike many bikes around the £1,500-£2,000 mark, it makes no concessions to comfort, with standard race bike geometry: parallel 73-degree angles, low head tube and a short wheelbase. The SuperSix wears its pro ride design on its sleeve (made extra obvious by the Liquigas colour scheme).

If you’re more interested in comfort, look to the equivalent Cannondale Synapse for your kicks. That’s not to say the SuperSix offers a harsh ride. Yes, it’s a blast both uphill and down, but we also like the way it’s so well mannered when the tarmac gets a little rough. It’s no comfortable couch, and you do get plenty of road feedback, but thankfully not at a frequency that can lead to numb hands or back pain.

The SuperSix we’ve been testing comes with Shimano 105 and a BB30 FSA Gossamer compact chainset. The gear range could be wider: the bottom gear of 34x27 is ample for most climbs, but the top gear of 50x12 did have us spinning out on our favourite descents, such is the confidence-inspiring nature of the SuperSix’s handling. That said, we’d still opt for easier climbing over brutish top speed potential.

The Mavic Aksium wheel/Aksion tyre combo is one we’ve seen on a heap of 2012 bikes around this price. They’re great value and the addition of good quality tyres means overall performance isn’t hampered by tyre downgrades, as we’ve seen on plenty of bikes.

At £2,000 the SuperSix may lose out on a few specification points over equivalent priced bikes, but don’t be put off by such superficial grounds. This chassis is so good that you could just upgrade as parts wear and quite soon end up with a lightweight superbike that we’d be happy to put up against bikes costing three times the price.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.

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