Cannondale’s SuperSix isn’t new, but the Evo Hi-Mod version introduced last year dropped it into the thick of the 'lightest frames in the world' fight. The racing packages that can come with this frame are very cleverly thought out kit lists that make for über-bike performance at a relatively reasonable price.
Ride & handling: Powerful and punchy, leaving you with no excuses
The effect of such a low weight on the road is very exciting. Every group ride we took it on, we were willing the route to turn upwards as hard and soon as possible so we could unleash the SuperSix at the next set of hills.
It’s fast on the flat as well as the hills – the combination of massive frame tubes, ultra-light wheels and stiff cockpit launches you forwards with unbelievable ease. It’ll keep you pulling G’s well past your usual speed plateau, so you have to be quick-fire on the snappy SRAM shifters to maintain acceleration.
Should you need to lose that speed, the direct diagonal internal cable routing, significantly stiffened SRAM brakes and Swiss Stop pads on carbon rims are super positive in the dry and better than most carbon rims in the wet. In short, the Evo is genuinely explosive with its responses.
The handling is absolutely phenomenal. Stable enough to keep your pulse steady even on the sketchiest, flat out, flack back descents or stack of wet, leafy hairpins, but precise enough to take the tubs to the sliding limit on dry roundabouts or carve the inside line through every race corner.
It’s nice to have a reminder of how good low-profile wheels feel on windy days when we’re so used to suffering from the fashion for at least 50mm hoops on any sort of high-end bike. However lousy the weather, we never felt worried about getting the Cannondale home in one piece.
While the 20c tubs aren’t the most comfy option, the combination of SAVE fork and seat stays and skinny seatpost go a long way to help remove road buzz. Not only does this make it blissful for all-day spinning or tempo cruising, it also improves traction on rough corners and climbs.
We’d heard how good the SuperSix was from several people, but even that didn’t prepare us for what a phenomenal blend of performance it delivers. In every situation it’s absolutely superb. The fact that it makes £5,000 seem like a bargain confirms it’s the best conventional, all-round road bike we’ve ever ridden.
Frame & equipment: Ultra-light frameset with soft-riding fork and stays
Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod carbon frame is one of the most lauded frames available. Even with all the hardware fitted, our large sample was under 800g. What makes this more impressive is that it’s not just designed to be a light as possible.
Yes, the gear cables are run externally to save extra outer cable weight, but the rear brakes use the best internal routing setup we’ve seen. By plugging straight into the head tube and then exiting at the opposite corner of the broad, seat tube enveloping top tube, it’s a totally friction and compression-free straight line that feels superb through the levers. The massive down tube and top tube are still more than stiff enough to impress our testers.
The skinny seat tube and matching skinny seatpost mean a more compliant ride in the saddle, and the rear stays also have a flattened SAVE centre profile to suck out sting. The slim tapered fork also uses rearward offset dropouts to allow more vibration absorbing forward rake, without disturbing the handling.
There’s a wide-range of sizes in a conventional horizontal top tube fit, and if you want to go really light then the Evo Nano frame (complete bike is £7,499) uses lighter bonding resin to save 40g.
The Racing gets a five-arm spider version of Cannondale’s latest sub-500g SISL2 crank, complete with spare compact rings, as well as the full-sized rings fitted. Weight is also kept to a minimum with the new SRAM Red group, and a set of full carbon rim FSA wheels with tubular tyres.
Speccing of a lightweight alloy seatpost and cockpit saves significant cost over carbon options, but even our large sample came in at under 6.4kg (14.1lb) without pedals.
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine, available on Zinio.