Cannondale has totally redesigned its SuperX carbon cyclocross bike for 2017 with new geometry and improved clearance. We've put the 105 variant to the test.
Cannondale has totally redesigned the SuperX for 2017, with the new frame incorporating technology from its road and mountain bikes. So there’s a slack head tube designed to be more stable off road. The bottom bracket is shifted 6mm to the right, mimicking Cannondale’s mountain bikes in a system which Cannondale calls Asymetric Integration or Ai. This allows the chainstays to be symmetrical and gives very large clearance around the rear wheel. It also means that the rear wheel is dished symmetrically, so evening out spoke tension.
Cannondale has included design features from its Synapse endurance road bike too, including SpeedSave flex zones in the rear triangle, a 25.2mm seatpost and a recessed seatpost clamp to increase the free seatpost length. These are features all designed to improve ride comfort at the rear. The SuperX also uses the Synapse’s BB30a bottom bracket for wider bearing placement than a conventional BB30.
The SuperX comes with Shimano 105 shifting, with hydraulic brakes using Shimano’s chunky R505 hydraulic levers. It has a Cannondale chainset with FSA rings with the classic 46/36 cyclocross ratios.
Rims are Maddux tubeless ready on Formula hubs, shod with Schwalbe X-One 33mm tyres. Some wheel manufacturers sell symmetrically dished wheels, but you need to be careful that aftermarket wheelsets can be realigned to fit the frame. Cannondale gives guidance on-line on available symmetric rear wheels and which can be redished or need new nipples or spokes.
Cannondale says that the SuperX’s redesign helps to handle modern faster, more technical cyclocross courses. The bike certainly handles well when riding at speed off-road, without sacrificing manoeuvrability. Although not mud tyres, the Schwalbes handle stickier stuff well. They don’t lose too much traction and soon clear once on firmer ground.
They may not be pretty, but the 105 hydraulic shifters work well and being a tad wider support the hands well when tackling bumpy ground. Cables are fully enclosed, with the rear mech cable taking the classic cyclocross top tube route and emerging towards the bottom of the seat stay, so there’s little exposed cabling to clog up.
The front mech cable feeds through a cable guide behind the almost shelfless bottom bracket. It’s tidy enough but will accumulate debris from muddy grass, potentially affecting shifting. But the bike looks to be designed around single ring groupsets and it’s a pity that Cannondale only offers one, pricy, SRAM 1 option.
Once things get wintry, clearance is key and on this score Cannondale’s new SuperX excels. It’s got good fore and aft clearance behind the seat tube coupled to much more lateral space than most crossers. This also adds a bit of versatility as you could easily fit wider gravel tyres for excursions on unpaved tracks.
Watch: Guide to cyclocross bikes
Cannondale has clearly put its investment into the SuperX’s frame and the finishing kit rather reflects this, being a notch below that which you would expect on a road bike at this price. But it’s money well spent, resulting in a bike with a modern design and huge clearance to tackle the demands of cyclocross.
A great handling cyclocross bike with really good handling and innovative design, but the SuperX would benefit from a cheaper SRAM 1 option and needs a symmetrically dished rear wheel