After just five weeks with the all-new Cannondale SuperSix EVO, we're already impressed with its speed, agility and pliancy
- New bike feel
- Pre-fitted power meter
- Disc-brake modulation
- Setup still needs tweaking
- Power meter requires a fee to unlock
As a Cannondale SuperSix evangelist I shouldn't like the new SuperSix should I? To be honest, I didn't at first, but as the weeks went by I slowly started taking a liking to it despite originally telling my club mates I'd never ride one, let alone bring one into my home. Visually, the new SuperSix goes against everything the original stood for; eschewing the classic profile and round-tubed frame for contemporary shapes.
The previous-generation SuperSix served a definitive purpose. It was light, frighteningly fast and agile - a weapon of mass reduction if you will, but with every passing year, it quickly began to show its age - particularly in the professional rungs. And while Cannondale seemed set on keeping with the old recipe - applying upgrades here and there to keep it somewhat relevant - it was eventually forced to apply the aero treatment to its most celebrated road weapon.
Unrecognisable in many ways, the new SuperSix looks set to usher in a new era for Cannondale, but has it sold its soul in the name of aerodynamics? Over the next 12 months, we'll look to answer that question as we put the bike through its paces. If there's anything you'd like to know about the new SuperSix, leave a comment below.
Feels like a SuperSix. Looks like a stranger
On the surface, it's difficult to spot any similarities between the new SuperSix and its forebear. Save for a couple of monikers and decals, they couldn't be further apart. Despite the generic facade, however - something it shares with all of its rivals - the new SuperSix looks fast even when standing still.
The Cannondale design team were tasked with a tough job: reducing frame weight, dialling in compliance, retaining the handling balance of the original while ensuring it complied with modern aero-bike doctrine. As such, truncated aerofoil tube profiling, dropped seatstays, and an integrated cockpit with hidden cabling comprises the crux of the new model. The new SuperSix looks quite anonymous in profile - generic almost, but a collection of graphics and golden decals do help spruce it up. You could argue that the visual drama could (and should) have been taken to another level by stitching in some heritage but perhaps this is something we will see further down the line.
It's only once you've pedalled it and taken it through its paces do the similarities with its predecessor come to the fore. It's an agile machine; stiff and fast. Like version two it climbs well, corners with confidence and is perceptive to directional changes, instilling in the rider assurance as well as sending dollops of feedback through the tyres, saddle and bars.
These are Knot wheels
No, they're more like wind-cheating frisbees the way they slice through the air. Of course, I'm referring to the Hollowgram 45 Knot wheels, standard fare on the Dura-Ace equipped Hi-MOD. They're stiff, sleek-looking items which do a fine job of transferring power and keeping the momentum going. Cannondale claims these new wheels provide up to 2.6 watts less drag than the Zipp 303 NSW wheel equivalent on the same tyres and, while I can't validate these claims, the bike certainly feels quick - in all situations.
It corners well, too, and delivers a superb ride quality. Much of the compliance comes courtesy of the 32mm external and 21mm internal rim width, which has helped to increase the volume of air inside a tyre improving comfort and traction in the process. The frame can accommodate tyres of up to 30mm to further iron out road buzz and imperfections, something I need to test in the coming months.
The only issue I've experienced thus far has come in the form of two untimely punctures. And while it was a rather simple case of removing the 25C Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 tyres and replacing the inner tubes, the challenge came when re-seating the tyres on the wide rims. I blame my typical cyclist's arms but good luck to anybody who experiences the same misfortune. My suggestion: go tubeless or fit wider tyres.
Free speed but at a premium
According to Cannondale, the new SuperSix EVO is 30 watts faster at 48.3km/h than its predecessor and nine watts faster than the Specialized S-Works Tarmac - wind-tunnel verified. It does feel incredibly quick and a lot sprightlier than both the previous-generation SuperSix disc and rim-brake model.
But the 'free speed' comes at a premium - a penny shy of £9,000 to be precise. Does a bike of this nature warrant such a figure? Probably not, but despite the hefty asking price the new SuperSix undoubtedly provides its rider with a clear advantage over the non-aero road bike, of which there are many still being raced both locally in the UK and abroad.
There's a 10-mile TT circuit local to me, used by the Farnborough & Camberley Cycling Club, which I'm quite keen on attempting with this bike. I've ridden it before on my previous-model SuperSix Dura-Ace rim in 24min flat, any guesses as to how many minutes I can shave off with the new EVO? I'll report back next time.
The new Cannondale SuperSix EVO is fast. Undeniably so but it's also impressively compliant. It's starting to feel more and more like the SuperSix EVO it replaces every time I ride it, which is a lot. It's agile and climbs well but more importantly, it puts a smile on my face every time I ride it. I can't say I'm a massive fan of the aesthetics but I do like that it's kitted out in a combination of matte- and gloss-black paint replete with contrasting gold accents.
Not surprisingly, it also comes laden with all the bells and whistles including a pre-fitted Power2Max power meter, although it does require a $500 subscription fee for activation.
So where does this leave the all-new SuperSix? Well, I hate to admit it but after just five weeks it's clearly a better bike than its forebear. Rather than solely excelling in the mountains and hilly playgrounds the world over, the new SuperSix EVO does everything well including pile-driving the flats - a key area where the old version was found wanting.
Version 3 is a pretty impressive all-rounder. I'm keen to see where it takes me over the course of the next year which should involve some criteriums, road races, hill climbs and a trip to Cape Town, South Africa but first let me work on my arm strength a bit.
Logbook: Cannondale SuperSix EVO Dura Ace Di2 Disc
- Month: 1/12
- Rides: 8
- Mileage: 460km
- Punctures: 2
- Ride types: Commutes, training rides
- Serviced by: Hoops Velo, Farnham
Specifications: Cannondale SuperSix EVO Dura Ace Di2 Disc
- Price: £8,999.99
- Frame: BallisTec Hi-MOD Carbon
- Size: 54cm, medium
- Weight: 7.1kg
- Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Crankset: HollowGram SiSL2 52/36, Shimano Dura-Ace 11-30T cassette
- Wheels: Hollowgram 45 Knot wheels
- Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace hydraulic
- Bar/stem: HollowGram SystemBar SAVE, HollowGram Knot stem
- Seatpost: HollowGram 27 SL Knot
- Saddle: Prologo Dimension Nack NDR, 143mm width, carbon rails
- Extras: Power2Max NG Eco Power Meter