A race bike delivering sublime performance and a weight to keep racers drooling and all wrapped up in a package comfortable enough to be classed as an endurance specialist. The Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc Ultegra Di2 is the real deal.
By James Bracey
When Cannondale released this, the latest evolutionary step from the venerable SuperSix platform, we were a little taken aback owing to the drastic reimagining of the iconic original. Lamenting the disappearance of the classic round tubed frame we threw a leg over this new, angular beast and instantly knew this was something special and most deserving of a place in Editor’s Choice.
Cannondale's SuperSix EVO has long been hailed as the standard to which road bike handling and geometry has been compared. It's a platform with a long history, an even longer palmarès and has won the hearts of innumerable riders across the world. The latest version has torn the rule book up and is radically different in almost every way barring the unmistakeable SuperSix Evo ride quality.
This latest range features thirteen new models including four featuring the higher quality Hi-Mod frameset of which this, the test Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod Disc Ultegra Di2 is part of.
Fans of the 'old' SuperSix Evo will lament the loss of the elegant slim tubing and classic double diamond frame profile and many more will claim it now looks like the same as 'XXX' from brand 'XXX'. However, when you dig deeper you realise that this is no cookie cutter copy and that all the changes are for very good reasons.
With aerodynamics and comfort almost as important as maintaining the classic SuperSix handling prowess, the changes to the frame are vast. According to Cannondale, this new frame has 30 per cent less aerodynamic drag than the previous version and is as aerodynamic as many of its rival's pure aero race frames.
It has managed this by deploying truncated airfoil tube shaping to almost every part of the SuperSix's frame. This process takes a typical aerofoil teardrop shape and chops out a smaller chunk to create a tube shape that has minimal impact on frame weight but is proven to be faster than purely round tubing.
And the use of truncated airfoil shaping has a two-fold benefit; not only is it obviously more aerodynamic but its use increases the torsional stiffness over purely round tubing, helping to make the new Cannondale SuperSix EVO stiffer than its predecessor.
To counteract any comfort issues that might arise from the use of this aerodynamic tubeset the new SuperSix has a few tricks up its sleeve to increase comfort. Most obvious is a move to a dropped seatstay design, probably the controversial change to the design. Through the use of this and tuned carbon layups the rear end is now more compliant than ever. Cannondale has also upped the tyre clearances to allow the SuperSix to comfortably swallow a 30mm tyre width with 6mm of breathing room on all sides.
It has also tweaked the geometry, predominately the reach and stack measurements. Here Cannondale has adopted a similar approach to its Synapse endurance platform and has raised the stack height and shortened reach slightly to produce a more comfortable ride position.
Cannondale are pretty good at packing in its models with some top-notch kit for a very competive price and the same is true for the SuperSix Evo. This particular model adds a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset to the Hi-Mod frame. Enough has been said about this groupset in other reviews but suffice to say it hasn’t skipped a beat throughout the test period. The only deviation from the groupset is the inclusion of a Cannondale/power2max power meter chainset. To include a power meter on a bike at this level is impressive (it’s even included in the model below this one) especially given the type of rider that will probably buy the SuperSix EVO. There is a slight caveat though; the power meter requires activation, which comes with an additional 490€ charge.
This latest SuperSix EVO follows in the footsteps of the SystemSix in that Cannondale has designed it as part of a system in which the frame is just one part. HollowGram KNØT 45 wheelset feature a 45mm deep carbon rim that follows the modern thinking of wider is better when it comes to internal diameters. 21mm internal width provides an excellent base for the 25mm Vittoria Corsa tyres but will also work very well for tyres up to 30mm.
The new KNØT stem and SAVE handlebar combine to create an integrated cockpit providing incredibly clean internal cable routing. It’s also super slippery through the air and the separate design makes adjusting the position very easy.
The new SuperSix EVO is good, in fact it's better than good, it's breathtakingly good. Over the time we have been living with the bike it has yet to display any substantial chinks in it’s armour and continues to outperform almost any other bike across the board. The first thing that strikes you about it is just how reassuringly planted it feels no matter the road conditions. Often super light and responsive race bikes have a habit of being easily bounced off line but the SuperSix Evo just conforms to the road thanks to the carbon wizardry of the frame. Another aspect of the frame that makes you feel instantly at home on the SuperSix is the geometry. Not quite as aggressive as some of its competitors, it doesn’t require an age of stretching before you’re ready to tackle the ride position, making it exceedingly comfortable over longer rides.
As expected from it’s intended use it also impressed with regards performance. Rocket ship fast under power, it also descends with the sort of confidence that can get you in trouble with the speed police quicker than almost anything else out. In this respect we were also pleased this particular SuperSix came in disc brake guise. Saying that, the only issue we experienced throughout the test period came from a slightly rattly hydraulic brake hose. This was rectified with a little addition of some rubber o-rings but something that you might want to get your bike shop to check and sort at point of purchase.
A six and half thousand pound can never really be labelled as a value item but when compared to some of the competition the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc Ultegra Di2 actually does represent reasonable value for money. Whilst many bikes can be purchased with Ultegra Di2 for much less, they tend to come with a brand’s lower spec frame. Even when taking into account the additional cost of activating the power meter it still sits below many equivalent full bike packages.
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