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Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105 review

2 Jun 2016
Verdict:

The Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105 uses classic looks to disguise its throughly modern tech resulting in a sublime overall package.

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,500
For 
Fast for the price
Against 
Race position might not suit everyone

One of the few remaining proponents of traditional, non-compact geometry, Cannondale’s bikes instantly stand out in the peloton, with the top end SuperSix favoured by the eponymous WorldTour squad. It looks about as simple as you could imagine, with no funny tube shapes, aero profiles, or oversized whatnots. However, with a host of big wins to its name, it doesn’t seem to feel the lack of them. In its top-flight build the SuperSix is a hard-punching lightweight and we couldn’t wait to see if this more temperately priced version would provide the same hit.

Frameset

Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105 BB30 bottom bracket

The SuperSix looks remarkably similar to the Cannondales we collectively spent a good part of the ’90s lusting after. The horizontal top tube exudes timeless charm, as if rather than going down the trendy, aero-optimised, negligible gains route, Cannondale has simply made the same bike over and over, improving it slightly each time. Nothing is comically oversized. None of the tubes do anything wacky in terms of morphing shape. Using Cannondale’s proprietary BallisTec construction the high-end, Hi-Mod, version may use slightly higher modulus carbon for increased stiffness and reduced weight but this is still a seriously good frame. Externally routed wires make for easy replacement and adjustment, but also make upgrading to electronic shifting far messier should you choose to go down that route at a later date.  

Groupset

Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105 chainset

Normally when you see a crankset that doesn’t match the rest of the gruppo it’s a cost saving measure. Not so here. At well over 100g lighter, Cannondale’s own Si chainset is a feathery yet unyieldingly stiff alternative to the matching Shimano model. Everything else is Shimano 105, right down to the chain. We particularly appreciated the extremely powerful SLR-EV dual pivot brakes. 

Finishing kit

Long, flat and narrow, the Selle Royal Seta S1 saddle is well matched to the bike. The rest of the finishing kit is perfectly functional, with the bars being a particular stand-out. Their moderate curvature must mimic some golden ratio that makes finding a comfy position a doddle, while their medium drop and reach is pleasantly practical. 

Wheels

Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105 wheels

Mavic’s Aksium wheels are a welcome sight. Fairly lightweight, they’re stiff enough to be responsive and come with proven reliability. Rather than going with matching tyres, Cannondale use Schwalbe Durano. Although they won’t set anyone’s world aflame they’re tough and a folding construction means they don’t add too much weight.

The ride

Pick up the SuperSix and it feels lighter than you’d expect for a bike this price. In fact, Cannondale claims a frame weight below 1kg. Jump aboard and it proceeds rapidly from the off. A couple of turns around the carpark are all that’s needed to confirm a fair bit of the marketing blurb. It benefits from a properly stiff chassis and low weight, while the geometry suggests it’s unlikely to suit a slouchy riding style. A promising start. 

Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105 review

Although not obnoxiously harsh, the Cannondale’s racy credentials are fairly unalloyed. There’s plenty of feedback as to what’s going on under the tyres. The low weight and rigid tubing mean it skips along with the feeling of always having another burst of speed in reserve. The pro-compact chainset and close ratio 11-28 cassette also suggest that this isn’t a bike to hang about on, with small gaps between the sprockets meaning you’ll always find an efficient gear, assuming you can keep up the pace. Mavic’s familiar Aksium wheels and ensure the Cannondale isn’t blighted by the middling hoops that sometimes still crop up on some bikes around this price. Handling is rapid, engaging and just the right side of twitchy. In terms of raw speed and ride quality there’s little given away to bikes costing significantly more. This is perhaps the quickest feeling bike we’ve ridden at this price-point

Our size 54cm test bike came with a 54.5cm top tube, making getting the correct size a simple affair. It also means that when hopping on for the first time all the contact points are likely to be where you’d expected them. A 73-degree head angle is pretty standard for this type of bike, as is the almost matching number for the seat tube. A low front end means the default position tilts towards fast riding rather than leisurely cruising. The short wheelbase also results in very direct handling. Perfect for jostling about in the pack, or if you’re confident in what you’re doing, barrelling into corners.

Overall, it’s heaps of fun to chuck around but won’t necessarily flatter mistakes in the same way that something more sedate would. Like everything with the SuperSix, climbs are best approached with a foot-to-the-floor attitude. Minimum bulk, decent wheels and unwavering stiffness means it flies up the hills, which is just as well because it lacks the get-out-clause gearing of the other test bikes. While the SuperSix can’t play too heavily against type, the extremely skinny seatstays go some way to tempering the potential harshness of the frame.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 545mm 543mm
Seat Tube (ST) 560mm 560mm
Down Tube (DT) 620mm
Fork Length (FL) 380mm
Head Tube (HT) 140mm 140mm
Head Angle (HA) 73 73
Seat Angle (SA) 73.5 73.5
Wheelbase (WB) 975mm 980mm
BB drop (BB) 69mm 69mm

Spec

Cannondale SuperSix Evo 105
Frame BallisTec Carbon, PressFit BB30
Groupset Shimano 105, 11-speed
Brakes Shimano 105
Chainset Cannondale Si, 52/36
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Cannondale C3, alloy
Stem Cannondale C3, alloy
Seatpost Cannondale C3, alloy
Wheels Mavic Aksium w/ Schwalbe Lugano, 25c
Saddle Selle Royal S1
Weight 8.12kg
Contact cannondale.com

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