With Cannondale’s Synapse line catering for the near entry-level end of the women’s market, the SuperSix is a step up with a decent spec, but it’s the man-size frame that will really get your attention. It's a satisfyingly butch bike that’s perfect for more powerful riders, yet remains charming despite incredible stiffness.
Ride & handling: A shockingly smooth ride for a bike that looks like a beast
Powerful riders should consider strapping themselves in before putting their foot down on the SuperSix. Every ounce of oomph you put into the pedals translates into a leap of forward momentum thanks to the super-sturdy bottom bracket and boxy chainstays; it’s a really satisfying feeling if you’ve got the power to put into it (and very ﬂattering if you haven’t). We’ve never been on a women’s bike with such a butch character, and the best thing about it is that despite its incredible stiffness and brute power delivery, it’s not a crude ride.
Get any speed going at all and the SuperSix will hold on to it for you, keeping you at a higher than usual cruising speed that really fooled us into thinking our lack of winter training wasn’t such a big deal after all. If you’re happy with the contact-point kit, getting on to the drops and bowling along for a couple of hours is no problem at all thanks to the rattle-reducing hourglass stays and full-carbon build. It’s a shockingly smooth ride for a bike that looks like a beast.
Our testers were split, though, on how well it handled. Two of our testers, who are shorter riders with a morbid fear of descending, actually found it a laid-back ride, to the point of being slightly frustrating; while our experienced road rider who is slightly taller and loves a twisty descent found this the most precise and agile ride, twitchy and sensitive. The steeper head tube angle and shorter wheelbase suggests faster steering, and we’d guess in a smaller size our two more nervous descenders would have found this more frisky.
Frame: Looks big and bulky, but the full carbon frame, fork and headset keep weight impressively low
We know it’s rude to stare at someone’s nether regions but when the SuperSix landed, we just couldn’t take our eyes off the incredible girth of the down tube and the brooding bulge of its BB30 bottom bracket. Nothing about this frame is delicate or ladylike apart from the white paintjob – in fact we had to double check to make sure we hadn’t been sent the men’s version by mistake. (Apart from a longer top tube and wheelbase, there’s not a huge difference between the men’s and women’s SuperSix frames.)
As well as that massive down tube, the chainstays are boxy and bulky, helping to take the strain you’ll inevitably want to load on to that bottom bracket. Cannondale say the ‘hourglass’ seatstays should help to smooth out road rumbles. If you’re reading this thinking it all sounds a bit heavy-going, relax – the SuperSix might look big, but the full carbon frame, fork and headset keep weight impressively low. The frame and fork package is the lightest on test, despite the fact our Cannondale looks bigger than the others; but the 51cm frame is just a shade over the magic kilo mark.
Equipment: Ultegra specced and a buzz-reducing build
At this price you’d expect a nice build, and it’s good to see that the women’s Ultegra specced SuperSix matches the men’s equivalent from top to bottom (though the bloke’s frame does come in the full range of options while women can have any groupset – as long as it’s Ultegra). As the name suggests, gearing and brakes are Shimano Ultegra and it’s the new, slightly lighter 6700 version you’re getting.
Mavic Aksium rims with Ksyrium spokes ride well and feel fast and smooth. The bars and stem are Cannondale’s own C2 models; some testers felt the 42cm width that our 51cm test frame came with was just a bit too big for their narrow shoulders, while our experienced road racer said she felt it was a better base for climbing and chucking the bike around. The Fi'zi:k Vesta women’s speciﬁc saddle is good quality.