It’s the stuff of legend that began in 2011 when Cannondale took the Liquigas pro team’s bike back to the drawing board and employed the finest carbon fibre engineers to design a significantly lighter bike that also addressed comfort. That EVO established Cannondale as a leader in top-flight race machines.
The second-generation model in 2015 was even lighter and more comfortable again – it’s still the bike I regard as the benchmark in bike handling, weight and comfort.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon 105 frame
In 2020 came another winning update, radically different from the previous bike and one that brought aerodynamics into the mix in a major way.
Its kammtail tube profiles (where the airfoil is truncated, like the cross-section of an aircraft wing, to ‘cheat’ the air into acting like the tail is still there, avoiding a disruptive ‘wake’ and therefore reducing drag) come from a library of shapes that Cannondale’s aerodynamic engineering team compiled and evolved into the flowing form seen here.
So, while it may not have the classic diamond-shaped frame of old, it’s more efficient in aerodynamics and comfort.
Cannondale claims this EVO has 30 per cent less drag than the previous model. The EVO is offered in two frame versions: the high-price Hi-Mod chassis and this Ballistec carbon model, which weighs an impressive 999g for the frame and 436g for the fork.
Comfort-wise, the frame is brilliant. The slender dropped stays, sculpted seat tube and KNOT-shaped post provide a smoothness at the back end that’s perfect for the EVO’s ambitions.
It’s not as floaty as a Trek Domane or Specialized Roubaix, but like the Lapierre Xelius SL 5.0, also on test, it takes the edge off of rough roads with ease, and its running slimmer rubber than the other bikes I tested too.
The EVO fork is aero yet slender and has a slightly bowed-out profile. It means you get a similar level of smoothness up front as you do at the rear.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon 105 geometry
Smoothness is only one side of this stunning machine’s charms – the rest comes from its handling prowess.
The combination of classically race-bike-steep 73-degree head and 72.9-degree seat angles, plus a compact (for a 58cm frame) 1,005mm wheelbase, create a short 58mm trail figure for quick handling.
The EVO’s handling is the perfect balance between rapid response and stability. Combined with the frame that oozes stiffness in spades, you have a bike that feels responsive when you want to sprint, efficient on the climbs and superbly surefooted when you’re descending.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.3||74.3||74.3||73.7||73.7||72.9||72.5||72.1|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.9||71.2||71.2||71.2||73||73||73||73|
|Seat tube (cm)||40||43.8||47.7||51.5||53.6||55.8||57.9||60|
|Top tube (cm)||51.2||52||52.8||54.6||56.2||57.8||59.4||61.1|
|Head tube (cm)||9.9||11.4||13||15.3||16.4||18.8||20.9||23|
|Fork offset (cm)||5.5||5.5||5.5||5.5||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||7.4||7.4||7.4||7.2||7.2||6.9||6.9||6.9|
|Bottom bracket height (cm)||26.8||26.8||26.8||27.1||27.1||27.3||27.3||27.3|
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon 105 kit
The alloy wheels are middleweight items from Maddux (designed by Cannondale), with simple cartridge bearing-equipped Formula hubs.
They’re paired with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick tyres, which I have found to be more compliant than the first-generation Zaffiros were. However, the EVO would certainly benefit from a faster set of boots, and you’d unleash a real beast with a better set of wheels too.
This EVO comes with Shimano’s 105 groupset yet, in usual Cannondale style, it has replaced Shimano’s crankset with one of its own designs.
This doesn’t get the classy one-piece spider-ring of its flagship models, instead, a pair of standard FSA rings in a racy 52/36 pairing with an 11-30 cassette.
However, the chainset works just as smoothly as Shimano and the 105 here is as impressive as it is on the other 105 bikes I tested.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Carbon 105 bottom line
The EVO 105 is a bike that’s significantly better than the sum of its parts. The issue Cannondale currently has is controlling its pricing.
When I started this test in late 2020, this bike was £2,400. Pressures on manufacturing costs along with a global shipping shortage have had an effect.
Furthermore, some of Cannondale’s ranges are assembled in Holland and are now subject to a European value-added tax if you’re based in the UK.
For this EVO, it means what was a very competitively-priced bike now seems expensive.
How we tested
Spending up to three grand on a bike is a big deal, and there’s a huge range of performance bikes at this most competitive of price points. So we’ve picked four contenders that we think bring style and superbike levels of performance for under £3,000 and are worth your consideration.
All of the bikes were tested head-to-head on our local loops, climbs and descents.
Also on test
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $4299.00GBP £2750.00USD $4299.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 8.81kg (58cm), Array, kg|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Cannondale|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, 44, 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm|
|Bottom bracket||br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, Cannondale alloy PF30|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Shimano 105 hydro|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano 105 11-30|
|Chain||br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, Shimano HG601|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Cannondale 1 52/36|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Ballistec carbon|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, Ballistec carbon|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Cannondale 3 6061 alloy|
|Headset||br_headset, 11, 0, Headset, Integrated 1 1/8-inch – 1 3/8-inch|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano 105|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Fizik Aliante R5|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, HollowGram 27 KNØT|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano 105|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Cannondale 3 6061 alloy|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick 25|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Cannondale RD 2.0 disc rims on Formula CL-712 and RXC-400 hubs|