Cannondale SuperSix 5 105 £1799.99

The classic race lightweight gets team colours for 2013

BikeRadar score 4/5

Cannondale’s SuperSix is now a bona fide classic. It was one of the first carbon race machines that offered a brilliant balance of light weight, incredible rigidity and sharp-as-a-scalpel handling. 

Cannondale’s first attempt at carbon at this price, the Six was an entry-level version of the SuperSix and won the Cycling Plus Bike of the Year award back in 2010. More recently, though, Cannondale have launched the Evo version of the SuperSix. It has world-beating lightness and improved comfort but retains the same handling. 

Cannondale have a reputation for trickling down technology, so we expected the Evo to arrive in this price range before long. So, is the SuperSix a swansong of an old favourite? Maybe so, but its charms mean there’s still plenty on offer.

Frame & equipment: Ageing but still doing the job

The frame’s oversized proportions all stem from the huge BB30 bottom bracket shell. It’s worth remembering that BB30 is a Cannondale innovation, and one they’ve rigidly stuck to – they’re the best at extracting a significant stiffness increase from the design. Up front it’s a similar story – the short, oversized head tube keeps things as tight as they are down below. 

We can see the age of the design showing through with the cable routing – it’s all external, with no provision for integrated electronic drivetrains; something worth considering if your long-term plans are to upgrade at some point.

As with the majority of our Bike of the Year models Cannondale have opted for 105, and we’ve had no issues with that choice. It’s smooth and hardwearing, just like the Shimano RS10 wheels, although the latter do carry a weight penalty over some of the better hoops chosen by the competition. We’re fans of the Schwalbe Lugano tyres – they offer good all-weather performance and are tough enough for day-to-day use.

The 11-28T cassette combines with FSA’s Gossamer BB30 compact (50/34) to offer great all-rounder potential, but with the 11-tooth giving superb opportunities for out-and-out speed. 

Cannondale’s C3 range of aluminium components completes the package – it’s quality stuff, but the big diameter, 31.6mm seatpost would benefit from being carbon to help counter the SuperSix’s rigid nature. The slim, comfortable Prologo Scratch Pro saddle goes some way to keeping you comfortably perched, though.

Ride & handling: Out-and-out racer

The SuperSix’s ride is classy race bike stuff. Instant power transfer is matched to handling that favours sharp direction changes and a totally committed riding style. Parallel 73-degree angles, a low head tube height and a short wheelbase make the SuperSix a great choice if you want to take to the race circuit. 

It’s a well-priced choice for racers too – the equivalent bike last year cost £200 more, and that’s a decent chunk of change towards a better race-day wheelset. If your riding is more attuned to endurance or sportives then there are plenty of better options for similar money. 

All in all, the SuperSix chassis still has superbike class. It’s showing its age a little on the features front but the handling sharpness is timeless and as good as it gets. Look back on its impressive list of pro-race victories as testament to that.

This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2013 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 273, on sale Friday 1 March and available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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