Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 review
Evidence that evolution is kingGBP £8,250.00 RRP | USD $8,300.00 | EUR €8,999.00 | AUD $11,999.00 Skip to view deals
The Cannondale SuperSix Evo is now in its fourth generation, its forebears having earned almost universal plaudits for their all-round performance.
The new bike takes much of what made the previous versions so well regarded, but Cannondale has looked to address some bugbears while pushing the envelope in terms of compatibility.
Out goes the often-maligned PF30A press-fit bottom bracket (replaced by a threaded BSA 68 model), and – as usual – the bike is subject to tweaks that are said to help it cut a more efficient line through the air without sacrificing stiffness or comfort.
Essentially, Cannondale has evolved the SuperSix Evo, which means there should be few surprises when it’s put to the test.
The result? It remains a brilliantly handling, enticingly quick race bike. It wholly rejects the notion that if a bike is a jack of all trades, then it’s likely a master of none.
It’s one of the best race bikes money can buy today and deserving of a place in our Bike of the Year Performance category.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 frame specifications
The SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod frame is now Cannondale’s second-tier carbon layup.
Previously at the head of the American brand’s offering, it has been supplanted by the new LAB71 skunkworks.
However, with prices pushing over £12,000 for a complete LAB71 build (and a claimed weight saving of just 40g on the frame), the Hi-Mod tier arguably remains more than good enough for most.
Once the new frame shapes are accounted for, the Hi-Mod carbon fibre layup is fundamentally unchanged from the third-generation bike.
In short, it blends a greater proportion of high-modulus carbon to the entry-level layup, which is said to allow the frameset to hit the same levels of stiffness at a lower weight.
Cannondale claims a 56cm SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod carbon frame weighs 810g, including paint and hardware (compared to 770g for a LAB71 frame).
That said, in its cheapest form, a SuperSix EV carbon frame is claimed to weigh just 930g (including paint and hardware). If you can live with the extra 120g, you make significant cost savings at this tier too.
The silhouette is familiar, but there are some key changes that are said to help the bike save a rider 12 watts at 45kph (28mph) compared to its predecessor.
Starting at the front, the head tube now accepts the fork’s new ‘Delta’ triangular steerer, which Cannondale says has helped to slim down the tube’s design.
Despite this, Cannondale has moved to a standard 1 1/8in – 1 1/2in headset configuration, which retains the possibility of modifying the cockpit beyond the Vision Trimax bar fitted as standard (more on this later).
This leads into a re-profiled down tube, which now accommodates a Di2 battery (just in front of the bottom bracket), which in turn has enabled a slimming of the seat tube and seatpost.
The seat tube accommodates a new proprietary seatpost, which has moved away from a D-shape design and towards a deeper truncated aerofoil shape. It’s now just 15mm wide, and thins towards the top to – theoretically – aid compliance.
The seatstays have been dropped slightly, a choice said to be derived from lessons learned from the SystemSix aero bike.
The chainstays have also been lengthened slightly, which Cannondale says gives the updated frameset clearance for 34mm-wide tyres.
Meanwhile, the dropouts have ditched the Speed Release standard and instead now accept Syntace models with a hidden thread.
Despite Cannondale’s long association with the “press-fit is better” movement, the frame is also now designed around a threaded BSA 68 bottom bracket standard.
It would be unfair and inaccurate to suggest every previous SuperSix Evo owner suffered from creaking or other issues associated with the PF30A bottom bracket standard.
Some did, though, and as a result, this will likely be a move welcomed by many. It will certainly make sourcing and installing replacements easier when the time comes.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 geometry
Cannondale has opted to stick largely with the geometry of the third-generation SuperSix. It makes a good amount of sense to stick rather than twist here – why disrupt what has proven successful to date?
The only real change comes at the chainstays, which as mentioned, have been lengthened by 2mm to enable the frame to accommodate wider tyres.
Those are now 410mm across the size range, identical to the Canyon Ultimate’s, in the same size M/56cm frame.
The head tube angle is 73 degrees and the length 165mm, all very much in the ballpark expected of a race bike.
The stack measures 575mm, but Cannondale supplies 30mm of spacers out of the box to help ease the front-end position if you need to. With 389mm of reach, the riding position is aggressive, but there’s a modicum of sensibility about it too.
This is reinforced by the compact stem (measured at 105mm), paired to a relatively extensive 95mm handlebar reach.
It’s not quite as long and low as the Canyon Ultimate CFR or Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, for example, but it’s still easy to achieve a WorldTour-worthy, aerodynamic riding position if that’s what you want.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.3||74.3||74.3||73.7||73.3||72.9||72.3|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.9||71.2||71.2||71.2||73||73||73|
|Seat tube (mm)||400||438||477||515||534||567||600|
|Top tube - horizontal (mm)||512||520||528||546||562||578||603|
|Top tube - actual (mm)||469||479||489||509||523||541||564|
|Head tube (mm)||100||114||130||154||165||188||220|
|Fork offset (mm)||55||55||55||55||45||45||45|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||74||74||74||72||72||69||69|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||268||268||268||271||271||273||273|
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 build
The SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2’s build hits a real performance sweetspot. In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll want to upgrade much of it out of the box.
The Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8100 drivetrain is excellent, and is BikeRadar’s pick of the Japanese brand’s latest stable of performance road bike groupsets.
To reiterate a point I often make; it shifts, brakes and feels just like Dura-Ace Di2 R9200, and the 278g weight penalty isn’t (in my view) worth losing any sleep over – especially considering how much cheaper it is.
The Hi-Mod 2 spec also gets Cannondale’s newly updated flagship HollowGram R-SL 50 wheelset – the same hoops you’ll get even if you stretch to the LAB71 model.
The rims feature a contemporary 21mm internal rim width, and curve bluntly to a chunky 32mm externally. These are laced to HollowGram alloy hubs, housing DT Swiss 240 internals, via DT Swiss Aerolite spokes.
They’re claimed to weigh 1,520g a set.
The hooked (as opposed to hookless) rims means clincher tyre fans are catered for. The bike comes with Continental Grand Prix 5000 tyres, in a size 700 x 25c.
It’s one of the few flaws of the build, in my opinion, despite the excellence of GP5000 clincher rubber.
The wide rim and frameset clearance enables native use of at least 28c tyres. However, it’s a shame to not spec the latest and supposedly faster tubeless variant (the GP5000 S TR) on a wheelset that has otherwise proven to be a brilliant foil for the bike.
It’s an easy upgrade, but one I’d implore a Cannondale dealer to make for me to sweeten the deal.
Harder to switch for no added cost is the Vision Trimax bar (attached to Cannondale’s Conceal stem), the tops of which I suspect may be too deep for those with smaller hands.
The bar is fundamentally comfortable to grasp in the hoods and drops. The drops sweep down in a nicely accessible curve, but the tops seem to be optimised more to minimise drag than they are to offer a comfortable spot to rest when climbing.
Naturally, ergonomics are very subjective and individuals may find it more comfortable than I did, but even with my large-sized hands, I’d prefer an aero profile that allows my fingers to curve around the tops a little, rather than dangle off the end as my weight pushes through my palms.
In any case, Cannondale’s Conceal stem uses a round, 31.8mm clamping area, so swapping to a different handlebar would be relatively easy.
Likewise, if you want a different stem, the new Delta steerer can also accept standard 1-1/8in stems, or fully integrated handlebars from the likes of Vision and FSA (amongst others).
The bike features a Prologo Dimension TiRox NDR saddle with titanium rails. High-spec rail material aside, it seems well-shaped and supportive for more aggressive riding positions – a good place to start from out of the box.
In addition to the listed spec, Cannondale also includes two of its aero-profiled bottle cages and bottles.
Overall, the impressive build goes a small way to easing the burden of spending £8,250 on a bike.
Viewed through the prism of rising prices across the bike industry, it’s good to know you won’t need to spend much (if anything) to maximise the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2’s potential.
However, there are cheaper bikes that – on paper at least – offer similarly good specifications.
Perennial value leader Canyon sells its Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 bike, complete with DT Swiss ARC 1400 DiCut wheels, for £6,199 (plus, you get a single-sided 4iiii power meter with the Ultegra Di2 groupset).
Meanwhile, an Ultegra Di2-equipped Specialized Tarmac SL7 is £7,250, with Roval C38 wheels.
The SuperSix Evo, as specced, tipped the scales at 7.57kg.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 ride impressions
There’s no doubt about it, the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod is a rapid race bike.
I have the benefit of having ridden both the second and third-generation SuperSix Evos over the last seven years, and each has improved the formula. That being said, I wouldn’t blame you for lamenting the loss of the classic round-tubed ethos.
Although I can’t be sure the claimed aero savings are making a stark difference (bear in mind Cannondale’s claims centre around the frameset module, including Momo bars not specced here), there’s a quiet efficiency to the latest SuperSix Evo.
Ride at tempo and it glides forwards. Get favourable conditions – not necessarily a block tailwind – and it makes riding at 30 to 35kph appreciably easy. It’s impressive even compared to most of our 2023 Bike of the Year performance category contenders.
Part of this is down to the excellent HollowGram wheelset, which offers all the stiffness, reactivity and aero performance you need to maximise the traits of the SuperSix frameset.
Freehub pickup is excellent thanks to the DT Swiss 240 internals, while the rolling system is light enough to feel flighty when climbing out of the saddle.
In fact, climbing in any style is enjoyable on the SuperSix Evo. I usually stayed firmly seated when ascending, where the bike felt assured and firm under me.
I couldn’t detect any unwanted flex, while the 2mm extensions to the chainstays versus the old model haven’t negatively impacted how the bike feels under acceleration.
Put the hammer down out of the saddle, and it feels as though you rocket forward.
Of course, switching to wider tyres is an option (in particular, I’m intrigued to know how chunky 32c Continental GP5000 S TRs would suit the SuperSix EVO). However, doing so will modify the relative position of the touchpoints with the ground, and – in the case of the 32c tyres – likely slow the handling somewhat.
As it is, the handling is balanced deftly and pinpoint sharp. I could really attack descents and corners with confidence.
That said, if the behaviour was tamed marginally by the fitting of 28c tubeless tyres at slightly reduced tyre pressures, I suspect it could be even more confidence inspiring.
Fortunately, the SuperSix Evo’s re-profiled aero seatpost isn’t as stiff as you might expect.
Bladed posts have a tendency to be rigid and uncompromising, but here there’s a good amount of buzz-reducing compliance to help smooth matters (notable, as I ran the 25c GP5000s at a firm 80psi/5.5 bar).
It doesn’t deliver the same amount of comfort as the ENVE Melee’s lengthily exposed post design, but it would be naïve to apportion perceived comfort to just one factor (the Melee has 29c ENVE SES tubeless tyres, for example).
The front end is also stiff but not uncompromising, which lends a good balance across the bike. This indicates Cannondale has done its homework in optimising the overall frame design to avoid being too harsh.
Cannondale has managed to hit a real sweet spot of racy behaviour, while imbuing the latest SuperSix Evo with manners that make it a fun ride when you’re not giving it the beans, too.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 bottom line
The latest Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod hasn’t ripped up the rule book when it comes to its own family lineage, and that – perhaps – is its greatest strength.
Much like with the latest Canyon Ultimate CFR, there’s wisdom in keeping what continues to work. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the saying goes.
Nevertheless, there are useful optimisations here – some designed to offer greater speed, while others improve practicality and (some would argue) result in greater reliability.
As fellow senior technical editor Warren Rossiter hinted when he first rode the new SuperSix Evo, the changes don’t elicit a huge difference between this and its immediate predecessor.
However, with race bike design arguably coalescing more and more, the SuperSix Evo continues to be a leading example of the species.
Performance Bike of the Year 2023 | How we tested
Each bike is set up as close as possible to the tester’s bike fit specifications, followed by a short, local shakedown to verify initial fit.
After this, longer separate rides are undertaken, punctuated by occasional side-of-the-road fettling (if necessary) to optimise the fit and desired ride behaviour.
Once set, a series of standalone and back-to-back rides are undertaken with each bike gradually dropping out of the running until the winner is left.
The bikes are measured in line with BikeRadar and Cycling Plus’ scoring criteria, considering overall performance in a variety of suitable situations, as well as comfort, handling, fit, specification and value for money.
Our Performance Bike of the Year contenders are
- Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod 2
- Wilier 0 SL Rival AXS
- Colnago V4Rs Dura-Ace Di2
- Basso Diamante Ultegra Di2
- ENVE Melee (Ultegra Di2 build)
Thanks to our sponsors, Lazer, FACOM tools and Band Of Climbers for their support in making Bike of the Year happen.
|Price||AUD $11999.00EUR €8999.00GBP £8250.00USD $8300.00|
|Available sizes||44, 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano BSA 68|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra R8170 hydraulic disc|
|Cassette||Shimano Ultegra R8100 12×2, 11-30t|
|Chain||Shimano Ultegra 12-speed|
|Cranks||Shimano Ultegra R8100, 52/36|
|Fork||Cannondale SuperSix Hi-Mod carbon|
|Frame||Cannondale SuperSix Hi-Mod carbon|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8100|
|Grips/Tape||Cannondale Bar Tape|
|Handlebar||Vision Trimax Carbon Aero, 31.8mm|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8100|
|Saddle||Prologo Dimension TiRox NDR, titanium rails|
|Seatpost||Cannondale C1 Aero 40 Carbon - 0mm offset (44-48cm), 20mm offset (51-61cm)|
|Shifter||Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8170|
|Stem||Cannondale C1 Conceal, Alloy|
|Tyres||Continental GP5000, 700 x 25c|
|Wheels||HollowGram R-SL 50 carbon|