Cannondale launches all-new and surprisingly affordable gravel bike

Highly adaptable Topstone looks very promising

Cannondale has just launched the Topstone, an all-new highly adaptable alloy gravel adventure bike that is available in three affordable builds.

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Named after a favourite gravel road near Cannondale’s main office, the geometry of the Topstone is based closely on the Synapse — its endurance road platform — and is being pitched as “an ideal weekend tourer, an all-weather commuter, or simply a supremely comfortable all-around road bike”.

Officially, the bike has clearances for 700x42mm tyres, but we suspect you’ll be able to fit 45s into the cavernous fork crown and chainstays. There is no word on whether the bike will play nicely with 650b wheels.

As has become Cannondale’s signature, the bike is built around its ‘Out Front’ geometry, which pairs a slacker-than-average head angle (71 degrees in most sizes) with a 55mm offset fork in a bid to improve high-speed handling.

As is becoming increasingly common in the world of gravel bikes, the Topstone includes provisions for fitting a stealth-routed dropper. The top-spec Topstone Apex1 bike comes with a dropper post operated by a lever that attaches to the clamping area of the bars.

Cannondale isn’t the only large OEM to include provisions to run a dropper on a gravel bike. This makes me think that it can only be a matter of time till SRAM or Shimano comes out with an official solution for operating a dropper with drop bars. This is pure speculation, at this stage… but watch this space.

The bike also has mounts for up to three bottles, a top-tube bag, mudguards and racks, making it a very adaptable platform to build upon.

Cannondale Topstone geometry

XS S M L XL
Seat tube length (cm) 41 45.8 50.5 55.3 60
Top tube length (cm) 52.5 54.4 56.1 57.9 59.6
Head tube angle 70 71 * * *
Seat tube angle 73.1 * * * *
Standover (cm) 70.3 74.4 78.4 82.5 86.3
Head tube length (cm) 8.9 11.8 14.9 18.2 21.4
Wheelbase (cm) 101.1 102.2 104 106 107.8
Front centre (cm) 59.3 60.3 62.1 64.1 65.9
Chainstay length (cm) 43 * * * *
Bottom bracket drop (cm) 7.5 * * * *
Bottom bracket height (cm) 28.4 * * * *
Fork frake (cm) 5.5 * * * *
Trail (cm) 7.2 6.5 * * *
Stack (cm) 51.8 54.9 57.9 61 64
Reach (cm) 36.8 37.7 38.5 39.4 40.2

Why is this bike important?

The keenly priced CAADX — a more traditional, cyclocross-focused model — is a hugely important bike for Cannondale, and in the UK at least, is supposedly its best-selling bike.

I suspect the Topstone, with its more all-round geometry, improved clearances and increased versatility could dethrone the CAADX as number one, so this is one we’ll be watching very, very closely.

2019 Cannondale Topstone spec highlights

Builds start at £899 / €999 / $1,000 for the Sora-equipped model rising to £1,799 / €2,199 / $2,000 for the top-end SRAM Apex1 and dropper-equipped bike.

2019 Cannondale Topstone Sora

The Sora-equipped model is the cheapest in the lineup
The Sora-equipped model is the cheapest in the lineup
Cannondale
  • Shimano Sora drivetrain
  • FSA Tempo Adventure, 46/3
  • Promax Decoder R brakes
  • WTB Nano 700x40c, wire bead
  • Cannondale finishing kit
  • £899 / €999 / $1,000 / AU$ (TBC)

2019 Cannondale Topstone 105

I suspect the 105-equipped bike will be a big seller
I suspect the 105-equipped bike will be a big seller
Cannondale
  • Shimano 105 R7000 drivetrain
  • Shimano 105 R7000 hydraulic disc brakes
  • FSA Omega ME 46/30 crankset
  • WTB ST i23 rims on Formula RX-512/142 hubs
  • WTB Nano TCS 700x40mm tubeless tyres
  • £1,499 / €1,799 / $1,650 / AU$ (TBC)

2019 Cannondale Topstone Apex 1

Like an increasing number of gravel bikes, the Apex 1 model comes fitted with a dropper post
Like an increasing number of gravel bikes, the Apex1 model comes fitted with a dropper post
Cannondale
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  • SRAM Apex 1 groupset
  • SRAM Apex hydraulic groupset
  • WTB ST i23 rims on Formula RX-512/142 hubs
  • WTB Nano TCS 700x40mm tubeless tyres
  • Tranz X dropper post
  • £1,799 / €2,199 / $2,000 / AU$ (TBC)