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Video: Bikes of the Year - Cannondale Supersix Evo

Here we dive deeper into why the Cannondale Supersix Evo was a finalist for Road Bike of the Year

The Cannondale Supersix has long been known for its ride characteristics. This bike is the one that you buy for exemplary handling, and down the years it's been the gold standard for this. Thankfully, the 2021 version carries this tradition on.

Why is it a finalist?

2021 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105 - riding 1.jpg

Cannondale took a risk in updating the SuperSix Evo so radically because the previous version was so popular, but it's a gamble that has paid off. It manages to retain all of the good bits and thrown aero efficiency into the mix.

The SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105 is super stiff and responsive and far, far smoother than you might expect of a race bike. It's also highly upgradeable, the frameset being well worthy of some mid-depth carbon wheels as and when your funds will allow.

So why is it here? Well, the Cannondale Supersix has retained the things that we have loved about Supersixes for so many years. The excellent handling and stiffness are still there in a bike that is faster on the flats and comfier too. You can’t really get better than that.

The Ride

The handling is sharp. If you want to switch your line around other riders, the SuperSix Evo is about as precise as it gets. Cornering hard and fast feels perfectly composed, so you're inclined to lay off the brakes that fraction longer next time around. In terms of behaviour, there's very little to fault here.

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You also get a high level of comfort for a bike with such a sharp focus on performance. Cannondale says that the new SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) stays, plus a new internal seat clamp and HollowGram 27 KNOT seatpost, improve compliance by 18% over the old SuperSix. This comfort is probably the SuperSix Evo's most surprising feature.

The SuperSix Evo has always been known for its frame stiffness, and that remains a key feature after a major redesign introduced to the world a little over a year ago. Stomp on the pedals and everything feels taut. Getting out of the saddle and chucking everything you have at a power climb, the bottom bracket remains steadfastly central. It's a feature you can't fail to notice.

The SuperSix Evo is an eager bike. It gets cracking when you put in the power, that rigidity giving you the firmest of platforms from which to launch your assaults.

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The fact that the seatstays are now dropped, falling into line with bikes from the vast majority of other big brands, might help here. It could be that the slightly sloping top tub,  leaving a longer section of exposed seatpost, is more important. If you still want more comfort, the new SuperSix Evo has clearance for 30mm tyres with 6mm of space around them.

All of this adds up to a bike that feels impressively smooth over rough roads, with good bump absorption both front and rear. Let's not go overboard – you're not getting a fully cosseted ride like a endurance bike here – but comfort is one of those things you usually only think about when there's not a lot of it around, and we certainly didn't need to dwell on it much here.

All this said, the SuperSix is a race bike at heart and those fast rides are where the bike really delivers. Yes, you can go faster on an aero road bike, but if your favourite route takes in some rolling roads, then the Supersix will be a blast to ride.

The spec that we have here

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There are some very expensive builds available, but we went for the Shimano 105 build. You’re still getting excellent shifting and hydraulic disc brakes, just without the ‘you can buy a car for that’ price tag.

Built up with Shimano 105 components, our review bike is the most affordable disc brake SuperSix Evo, although a rim brake model is available for £2,000.

The shifters, derailleurs, hydraulic disc brakes, cassette and chain are all 105, but you get a Cannondale One crankset with a 30mm diameter spindle. You won't find a Shimano chainset on any SuperSix Evo because the brand doesn't do 30mm spindles. The Cannondale One is a little heavier than a Shimano alternative, but it contributes to the mega-stiff pedalling platform.

What is left to be said about Shimano 105? In this form, it's a clear winner for those looking to balance performance with price. You only really need to step up to Ultegra if you want to move to electronic shifting or save a little weight. The basic fact is that 105 works every bit as well as Ultegra and Dura-Ace, it's just a little heavier.

The chainset is a 52/36 matched to an 11-30t cassette, and we reckon that's spot on for a bike of this type. It'll keep you progressing on tough climbs and allow you to keep the power on at high speed.

2021 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105 - head tube.jpg

We have a standard aluminium bar and stem on this bike. If you want the integrated front end, you’ll need to step up to the SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc Ultegra at £3,300.

The Cannondale/Formula wheels are decent enough, but you might want to get some deeper rims to really complete the package. If you want racier wheels out of the box then you could go for the SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc Ultegra with 35mm-deep HollowGram carbon clinchers; although that bike will cost you considerably more. Maybe you already have your favourite wheels that you'd swap onto this bike anyway, in which case you're laughing! 

Interesting tech

Previously, the SuperSix Evo had a distinctive silhouette: slim (or at least slim-ish) round tubes, a horizontal top tube, long seatstays... It wasn't exactly traditional-looking, but more towards that direction. 

2021 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc 105 - head tube details.jpg

Cannondale has introduced truncated aerofoil tube profiles to reduce drag, dropped the seatstays to improve comfort and aero efficiency, made the majority of hose/cable routing internal, and now offers an aero handlebar and stem system, although not on this particular model (you have to pay £3,300 for the SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc Ultegra if you want that).

Cannondale reckons that the changes add up to the equivalent of a 30 watt saving at 30mph (48.3km/h) compared with the previous SuperSix Evo. That's a huge difference, especially when you consider the taller head tube.

The 2021 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon 105 Disc was a finalist in our Road Bike of the Year category. You can find out where it placed right here.

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NZ Vegan Rider | 3 years ago

It would be even better with rim brakes and if it didn't look like a generic Chinese frame. 

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