Our Early Verdict
Still one of of the best all-round bikes I've ever ridden
- Classic geometry makes for a classic silhouette
- Super-responsive handling
- Still pretty quick, despite the 'non-aero' round tubing
- A bit portly in the weight department
- Colourway not for everyone
Contrary to what some of our readers might think, we do in actual fact ride and buy our very own bikes and parts. This particular Cannondale is fairly new to my personal stable and the fourth SuperSix I've owned in as many years - I bought it from a friend last year for £1,500 and vowed it would be used exclusively as a commuting winter bike to avoid wrecking my SuperSix rim-brake-equipped racing bike.
Having - at the time - just relocated to the UK from South Africa, I hadn't a clue what a 'winter bike' was but used this term as the driving force behind this 'much-needed' acquisition. The only caveat was that apart from servicing and general wear and tear replacement items, I couldn't change a thing. Not even the saddle, wife's orders.
That idea, however, quickly fell by the wayside when I joined Cyclingnews over a year ago where it's now become my designated test mule owing to the myriad test gear coming through our doors. Most of the parts you see here are a combination of that very test kit, manufacturer donations and privately purchased components.
This SuperSix started life as a mid-range mechanical-actuated, Ultegra-laden disc-brake bike complete with ballistic carbon layup, a 203g weight penalty over the Hi-mod equivalent. At 8.7kg, it was pretty heavy considering it's an allrounder but that never bothered me. Despite its age and 'outdated' geometry, it still rides like a dream - well, to me at least.
The frame differentiates itself somewhat from the rim-brake version by way of flat mounts for the calipers, internal hydraulic routing and carbon layup but the geometry remains largely the same. Owing to the absence of rim brakes, the design is also a lot cleaner while subtle tweaks to the carbon Speed Save fork, seat- and chainstays ensure it can accommodate contemporary tyre sizes of 25-28mm.
In terms of sizing this 52cm SuperSix may sound a little on the small side considering my height (178cm) but having owned this bike in both 52 and 54cm guises there's not much difference between the top tube lengths (53.5 vs 54.4cm) or wheelbase for that matter. I also like the aggressiveness offered by the smaller frame and the 72.6-degrees head angle makes for a more reactive and sharper front end.
And then there's the colourway, something Cannondale calls Volt Yellow. Sure, bright hues may not be to everyone's liking but these expressive hues have always been representative of my character and something Cannondale has pushed in recent years. My two previous SuperSix Evos utilised a green and yellow livery respectively so riding incognito has never been high up on my list of priorities.
While the bike came stock with a mixture of decent components, I felt certain areas such as the Mavic Aksium wheelset and Cannondale C2 alloy bar, stem and seatpost let it down somewhat but that's more me nitpicking than anything else. The Cannondale Si crankset - while not on the same level as the top-end Hollowgram Si or Hollowgram SiSL2 variation - proved to be lighter than the Stages Power LR Shimano Ultegra R8000 I replaced it with. Using a power meter has also become part of my training regime so this upgrade was deemed somewhat justifiable.
The next thing to go was the non-series mechanical Shimano Ultegra RS685 hydraulic groupset. While perfectly up to the task, the ungainly hood design always irked me and the mechanical shifting was proving a nightmare to maintain in the wetter weather. As an upgrade, I opted to go with the ultra-sleek Shimano Ultegra R8070 Di2 Disc groupset complete with 140mm Shimano Dura-Ace SM-RT900 front/rear rotors. In terms of gearing, I kept with what I know and enjoy - in this case, 52/36T chainrings and an 11-28T cassette.
I've always been a stickler for carbon fibre. Not just because of its lightweight properties but because of how damn awesome it looks - particularly when it comes to unidirectional weaving. As a result, I garnished the frame with a Hollowgram Save carbon seatpost and an aero Zipp SL-70 handlebar and SL Sprint stem. While the bars have added a notable amount of grams to the build, the cable and hose integration has tidied up the front end and I personally like the feel of the flat bar in my hands. I added matching bar end plugs to carry the lumo-yellow theme into the cockpit. Extras include Fabric Knurl bar tape and Tacx Deva bottle cages.
The Vision SC 55 disc brake wheels are a superb investment for anyone looking for an affordable upgrade. I was so impressed with these wheels during the test evaluation that I purchased a set for myself. Sure, at 55mm they might be considered overkill for this particular build but considering the rolling terrain that comprises the Surrey Hills region where I spend a ton of time riding, I think I went with the best option.
In terms of tyres, I use nothing other than 28C Hutchinson Fusion 5 tyres - they're just so durable and deliver impressive levels of straight-line speed and traction if you manage to get the pressures just right. These particular tubeless road tyres have been fairly good to me, staving off punctures and generally adding another layer of dynamism to every ride.
That leaves the saddle. This would usually take the form of a Fizik Arione but I've got two 3D-printed perches about to go head-to-head in a comparative test - the Fizik Antares Verus Evo 00 Adaptive and Specialized Power Mirror - and have been switching between the two while making my final assessments. Both are good but I'll stick with the Arione.
So what's the magic number I hear you say? Well, it's not what you'd call ridiculously light but at 7.85kg it's a whole kilogram lighter than when I first received it.
Why I'll never sell it
I've made this mistake before and regret selling my 2015 Cannondale SuperSix Evo and 2018 SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod disc every day. While inanimate in every way I truly believe we form bonds with our bicycles - after all, every scuff mark, scar and sticker speaks of a different story and phase in your cycling journey.
What makes this particular SuperSix even more special to me is the fact that I built it entirely by myself - I'm talking everything from the hose routing and hydraulic bleeding to the Di2 plumbing, indexing and programming. Everything. Sure, mistakes were made, lessons were learned and a lot of blood, sweat and tears were poured into this build but I've come out the other end a wiser and more skilled person.
I wonder who else does this but I've also found myself spending a lot of time staring at it and checking in to make sure it's all tucked in and safe - and that says a lot. So does the fact that I want to ride it more than any of the test bike exotica (and there's a lot of that, too) currently under my custodianship.
Tech spec: 2018 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Disc Custom
- Frameset: Cannondale SuperSix EVO BallisTec Carbon
- Weight: 7.85kg
- Front brake: Shimano Ultegra R8070, 140mm
- Rear brake: Shimano Ultegra R8070, 140mm
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano Ultegra R8070
- Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra R8070 Di2
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra R8070 Di2
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-28T
- Chain: Shimano Ultegra 11spd
- Crankset: Stages Power LR Shimano Ultegra 52-36T, 172.5mm
- Pedals: Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic
- Wheelset: Vision SC 55 Disc Brake
- Bar Tape: Fabric Knurl
- Tyres: Hutchinson Fusion 5 tubeless, 28C
- Handlebar: Zipp SL-70 Aero
- Stem: Zipp SL Sprint stem
- Computer mount: Cannondale out-front
- Saddle: Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive
- Seatpost: Cannondale Hollowgram Save Carbon 25.4mm
- Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
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What is a hands on review?
'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.
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