Cannondale SuperX Force 1 looks ready for a 'cross fight

First look at a contender for best cyclocross bike this season

Newly-crowned US National Champion Steven Hyde piloted the all-new SuperX this past season to great success. But the secret behind the bike goes much deeper, with the likes of Tim Johnson (450 time US national champion) and Stu Thorne (cyclocrossworld.com team owner) adding input at every step of the development process.

With such pedigree, one should expect the SuperX to add up to a true contender for best cyclocross bike of the year.

2018 Cannondale SuperX Force 1 spec overview

  • Frame: SuperX, BallisTec Carbon, SPEED SAVE (flatmount; 12x142)
  • Fork: SuperX, BallisTec Carbon, 1-1/8" to 1.5" steerer (flatmount; 12x100)
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Force 1
  • Bottom bracket: BB30-83
  • Wheels: CX 1.0
  • Tires: Schwalbe X-One All-Round 33mm
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite
  • Size Options: 46, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61
  • Weight (size 56): 18.6 lbs / 8.44 kg

Title worthy

One undeniable aspect of the SuperX is that it is a tidy bike. Simple lines leave it looking like it’s up for a fight, and that’s pretty ideal when it comes to ‘cross. A suffer fest should be as uncomplicated as possible.

With hints of SuperSix Evo here and there, I anticipate a bike that accelerates like it’s on fire and manages tight turns without a moment of doubt. If this is the reality of the new SuperX it should make for an outright amazing CX race bike.

The complete package?

Cannondale's two-bolt carbon seatpost is super comfortable, but a bit cumbersome with its front bolt adjustment
Cannondale's two-bolt carbon seatpost is super comfortable, but a bit cumbersome with its front bolt adjustment

While most things are pretty much the status quo out of the box, I did run in to an issue that I’ve written about several times: hidden seatpost binders that won’t stay put. I’m all for hiding things, but not when it leads to frustration. But no need to dwell, once the seatpost is in, it’s not really a problem.

The rest of the bike falls in line with the high standards that brands such as Cannondale are known to deliver.

The Hollowgram SI crankset is a highlight; I’ve not ridden one in several years and it's undergone several updates since then. Cannondale’s system integration is a long-standing engineering and marketing stance, which aims to bring stiffness and performance benefits.

The idea of maximum stiffness is certainly welcomed in CX and hopefully the Hollowgram SI cranks deliver
The idea of maximum stiffness is certainly welcomed in CX and hopefully the Hollowgram SI cranks deliver

Internal routing is definitely an arms race in today’s road and CX platforms and the SuperX has certainly got a clean setup. A unique aspect of the design is rear derailleur housing routed through the top tube. As for versatility, the frame has two ports on the top tube of the non-driveside, and two available ports on the down tube of the driveside.

Again, the asymmetry of the cable routing is unique with the CX bikes I have in on test at the moment, but there’s plenty of space for up to four cables.

The local gravel scene has a SuperX following, which has proven 40mm clearance front and rear
The local gravel scene has a SuperX following, which has proven 40mm clearance front and rear

There’s clearance for 33mm tires on a muddy day, and as the SuperX is a common site at the local gravel racing scene I’ve seen rubber up to 40mm fitting just fine. But, it is a CX race bike, and it manages the regulation tires with room to spare.

It’s light, lean and with a heap of system integration it should make for an aggressive and capable race machine.

Plenty of space for 33mm tires to get muddy and cable routing ready in case the 1x goes to 2x
Plenty of space for 33mm tires to get muddy and cable routing ready in case the 1x goes to 2x

Pricing and availability

The 2018 Cannondale SuperX Force 1 is available now from Cannondale retailers for £2,999 / $3,599.

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