The Six Carbon was one of the ﬁnal entries into our 2010 Bike Of The Year shootout, delivered personally to our top-secret testing facility by Cannondale’s UK marketing man.
We’ll be honest – our expectations weren’t overly high. True, being a Cannondale it was always going to be a good looking machine, the American company rarely producing a dud when it comes to aesthetics.
But our test bike was also specced with quite modest kit when compared with a lot of the bikes we’d already ridden and loved – Shimano’s 105 groupset and Mavic’s Aksium Race wheels.
Of course, that has to be balanced with the fact that it was a good deal cheaper than the other machines in our top five – the Felt F3, Bianchi CSC Infinito, Scott CR1 Pro and Storck Scenario 1.1, all at £2,500.
Cannondale’s boffins have been hard at work on the 2010 Six. It may look like 2009’s but the designers have been trimming weight and altering the Six’s carbon layup to improve both comfort and stiffness.
It’s worth noting that the same frame is also available with a full Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupset and Ksyrium wheels. This would make its componentry comparable to the other test bikes and bring the current weight (8.32kg) down considerably, while still only taking the price to £2,200.
All this was forgotten when we hit the road, as the Six proved jaw-droppingly good. Every member of our testing team had only praise for the Cannondale.
“Mightily impressive frame that combines a superbly damped and compliant ride with all the performance any rider could want,” said one. “The light but perfectly planted front end inspires conﬁdence from the off, and would be equally at home riding all day or tackling a crit – though you’d need to change the compact chainset. Top marks and it should go far.”
And another: “Superb, nimble. The right balance of rigidity and compliance over poor surfaces, like a [pro level Cannondale] Super Six that’s been given a comfort makeover. The combination of a BB30-centred frame with a sturdy headstock and narrow rear stays makes for a frame that’s clearly had a great deal of thought put into its development. The ﬁnishing kit may be mid range, but the whole machine rides like a true superbike.”
Its performance was also highly rated by the racers on the test team, with one commenting, “One of the top two bikes I rode. Beautifully balanced, fast, comfortable and handles conﬁdently. It’s got everything sorted. You could race this or do a sportive on it and it would be ﬁne for either.”
These comments show just how much we liked the Cannondale. Interestingly, it’s this ability to combine the sort of handling needed for the cut and thrust of racing with the comfort non-competitive cyclists require that distinguished nearly all of our favourite bikes this year.
Cannondale six carbon 105: cannondale six carbon 105www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk