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.

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

XSSMLXL
Seat tube length (cm)4145.850.555.360
Top tube length (cm)52.554.456.157.959.6
Head tube angle7071***
Seat tube angle73.1****
Standover (cm)70.374.478.482.586.3
Head tube length (cm)8.911.814.918.221.4
Wheelbase (cm)101.1102.2104106107.8
Front centre (cm)59.360.362.164.165.9
Chainstay length (cm)43****
Bottom bracket drop (cm)7.5****
Bottom bracket height (cm)28.4****
Fork frake (cm)5.5****
Trail (cm)7.26.5***
Stack (cm)51.854.957.96164
Reach (cm)36.837.738.539.440.2

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

  • 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

  • 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 Apex1 model comes fitted with a dropper post
Like an increasing number of gravel bikes, the Apex1 model comes fitted with a dropper post

  • 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)
Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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