Cannondale Topstone Lefty 3 review

Tons of fun - though we'd like a little more tyre clearance for techy trails, please

cannondale topstone lefty 3
Cycling Weekly Verdict

if you’re looking to get a bike which will open up new trails to you, the Topstone Lefty is it. There is a good range of models and specs available and as always Cannondale deliver great value for money. The bike is well thought out and nothing on it screams of corner cutting to meet a budget. The fork might seem like a big issue but it’ll just make almost every ride more fun. You might reach down once or twice a ride to lock it out for long road sections, but if you want to ride predominantly long road section’s you’d be better served by Cannondales excellent Super X. Overall, I think this is a bike that could get mountain bikers to look again at gravel bikes and roadies to remember that bikes are first and foremost for having fun. 

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Fork is excellent

  • +

    Balanced and responsive handling

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Lefty hub limits wheel choice

  • -

    Would like more clearance

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Gravel bikes are a growing category. The first generation, led by the Salsa Warbird and the Open Up were focused on wide tyres and—in  the case of the Open, excellent carbon layup—to  absorb vibration.  Once these bikes got in the hands of thousands of riders, some of them found themselves tempted to push the limits of what was fun, or comfortable, on rigid bikes. Other people felt it necessary to take those same bikes and conduct what amounted to really long road races on less favourable surfaces. A bike which is fun for the latter will be petrifying for the former, and a bike designed to ride drops and rock gardens is never going to win gravel races like The Rift, which traverses the lava fields in Iceland.

Cannondale, seeing the extent of variation in the gravel market, has diversified its gravel line to provide something for everyone.

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