Today sees the launch of Cannondale’s new flagship road model, the all-new SuperSix EVO 4. Synonymous with high-performance road cycling throughout the years, the SuperSix platform has prestige like few others. Has Cannondale been able to raise the bar further through innovation to create a new level for others to aspire to?
The underlying premise of the all-new SuperSix EVO 4 is that it’s a killer up the climbs yet an escape artist on the flat. Tipped as the unicorn bike that can do it all, the machine is built up to be ‘faster everywhere’ with no compromises. Light or Fast? Now you don’t have to choose, say Cannondale.
So, what does this mean in the real world for average joes like me and you? Luckily enough, I have been able to test the bike ahead of release at a pre-launch industry event in Girona, Spain.
Hosted by Cannondale, we enjoyed an undulating 105km route around the stunning City of Girona, taking in corkscrew climbs, switchback descents, and fast flat roads. Ahead of arrival, we were asked to provide our bike fit details so that the bikes would be set up in the most familiar position possible. For me, this is a vital component on any first impression ride as I’m a stickler for bike fit detail and can notice the smallest of positional changes when riding.
First Ride Review of the All-New SuperSix EVO
Noticeably, the bike felt short and tall compared to my usual riding position. I do, however, appreciate they can’t slam the fork steerer on a test bike, nor adjust the stem size for every test rider out there. So I made due, clipped in and we set off from the Old Town out to the quiet countryside. Straight into some narrow lanes with sharp corners and steep climbs, I knew we were in for a great ride.
The model I was aboard was the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod 1, equipped with SRAM RED eTap AXS and the new HollowGram 50 R-SL 50mm deep, 21mm IW carbon wheels. This bike is stocked with the Cannondale SystemBar R-One from retail. Though on this test ride, it was built with a Cannondale One stem and Vision Trimax Aero handlebars. The shape and style were not necessarily to my preference, so it was a shame to not try the bike at full retail spec level.
With that being said, the immediate feel of this bike through those narrow lanes is one of excitement, confidence, and enthrallment. A sense of, “wow, I am in the Spanish sun riding one of the most anticipated bike releases in the world” came over me and everything felt fantastic. Perhaps not the best emotions for a critical first impression read-through, but can you blame me?
I am well-versed to race bikes, and the feel of this was no different. Excitable and responsive, this SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod just wanted to fly. And when you’re over the climb and coming down the other side, you have the sense you can pin it into most corners. Delivering intuitive handling yet retaining full control, I felt able to take it to the limit and keep it there. The 25mm Continental GP5000 clincher tyres with Continental race light tubes sure helped with this.
A mid-ride refreshment break was welcome after breezing up a 4km climb, averaging 4%. Nothing too steep, enough to keep it in the big ring for the duration. Now, I’m currently not the fittest I’ve ever been and the effort, relatively speaking, felt pretty hard. A paltry 254w for 10 minutes, to my amazement, saw a top 700 placing on the Strava leaderboard, out of a total of nearly 12.5k individual attempts. Could it be all in the bike?
A can of ice-cold coca-cola and a bocadillo refuelled some of that expended energy, before a series of photoshoot opportunities. Bringing out my inner Valverde in front of the camera, in Spain, felt rather fitting and gave me a few more chances to go ‘full gas’ on the bike.
After a few more twists and turns and a long descent into town, the Wahoo hit 70km/h without even feeling it, highlighting further the complete control this bike exudes on the rider. A second 50km loop was offered, and a stuck my hand up in eagerness quicker than you could say cafe con leche.
We hit the road again for the second loop, equally as scenic as the first. Once we were out of the city, we were greeted by expansive views over to the snow-capped peaks of Andorra. Getting to ride the bike for a longer period of time, only extended the conclusions from the first loop. This is a bike that wants to go fast, simply put.
Not just speed, comfort was obvious as we glided over cobblestones through some smaller villages en route. This, remember, with just 25mm tyres. The SuperSix EVO has clearance for up to 30mm tyres (measured, ERTO standard) so adding some thicker rubber will only bring out the plushness further.
Heading back into the City we traversed through some pristine back lanes, rather summing how up this bike felt to ride. Smooth yet fast, responsive yet in control. We ticked over 100km and rolled back through the quaint cobbled streets of Girona. Back at HQ and adorning a wide smile, I was asked “So, how was the bike?”. In that gleeful moment, my response was simply “wonderful”.
Small details such as the tyre and tube combination show that Cannondale has thought about everything that goes into this latest release. With a Race Light tube weighing ~80g compared to a standard butyl tube at ~105g. This all aids with rolling resistance and reaching the goal weight of 6.8kg for the flagship model.
The drivetrain ratios of 48/35 up front and 10-28 at the back felt ample for the calibre of the bike it was adorned to. A current trend is for manufacturers to fit increasingly wide ratios to all bikes, so I am glad Cannondale has stuck to a tight ratio cassette on these Hi-Mod builds.
The saddle equipped with the bike too was comfortable and supportive. The model was a Prologo Dimension NACK NDR with carbon rails. This, by extension, compliments the absorbent properties of the bike creating such a smooth ride. The leaf spring-style seat tube will be the key catalyst here for this comfort, noticeably deflecting under rough roads.
Product Manager for Cannondale, Sam Ebert, was sporting a very limited edition rainbow effect SRAM AXS cassette.
If you’re after a ride whereby your handlebars are in line with your saddle height, then this is perhaps not the bike for you. It is racy, with a low front end and responsive rear triangle but this only pays into me experiencing a truly favourable ride.
However, if you’re after a bike that is going to put a smile on your face, a spring in your step and hit some PRs on flat or uphill segments/courses… then the SuperSix EVO family of bikes should be of serious consideration.
So, has Cannondale been able to raise the bar further through innovation to create a new level for others to aspire to?
The quality of top-end race-orientated road bikes has, over the past few years, reached unprecedented levels. So trying to compare and contrast them feels like splitting hairs, that have already been split six different ways. It does feel like Cannondale has reached a new level within its own portfolio and product lineup. It’s an upgrade in performance over the prior model in every aspect.
Rest assured, if you choose the all-new SuperSix EVO you can be confident in the fact you will be the owner of one of the fastest, lightest and most confident-inspiring bikes on the market today. You will be, Faster Everywhere.