The Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc is a supremely good bike, it'll delight you everyday you ride it. The time spent both in the UK and away in Mallorcan mountains really showed how good this bike is on fast descents, how comfortable it is over rougher roads and how a traditional looking bike can give you everything that many modern aero offerings can't - a great handling machine that feels fast, despite being less aero.
Looking a little dated now
Quick release rear instead of bolt through
Isn't as aero as rival bikes
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Yes it isn’t aerodynamic, yes it isn’t the stiffest bike you’ll ride, but oh man does it handle and ride so beautifully and so totally worthy of its Editor’s Choice inclusion! The Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod is a great bike to ride, its lightweight, comfortable and chuck it down a descent and you’ll struggle to ride anything that’ll give you as much joy!
It's the bike that the Cannondale EF-Drapac team are riding for the 2018 season, although, for us in the real world of cycling, is it worth the spend at £8,499.99? We took the bike for a spin around UK Kent roads as well as a sunny week in Mallorca to get the low down on Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod disc Team.
Reading some of Cannondale's marketing it says that the SuperSix has some aero features, yet on face value it retains a fairly standard profile and geometry. Round tubes tubes are ever present and no flat back surfaces can be found, not even dropped rears stays like we see on many GC bikes today. It all looks pretty traditional, which is no bad thing.
Cannondale claims that its subtle use of TAP (truncated aero profile) tubing does provide aerodynamic help, these are positioned on the downtube, seat tube, seat stays and forks to help the frame slip’n slide through the air. However, through our own independent aerodynamic testing we've found the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod disc to be around seven to 10 watts slower aerodynamically than the Specialized S-Work Tarmac, for example.
I was surprised at this number and would have expected the most up-to-date bike from Specialized to be far superior in terms of aerodynamics than this 'old timer' from Cannondale. Stick narrower and aero handlebars on and you may find things even out nicely.
With a disc brake frameset you’d perhaps expect a weight penalty on the fork and chainstay to accommodate the callipers and maintain stiffness, however, another key feature of the frame is the ‘ultralight disc integration’ which overcomes the additional technical challenge of keeping weight down and brake performance at its best by flat mounting the calliper onto the stay.
The result Cannondale claim is only a 150 gram weight penalty, which could easily be offset by the additional braking performance the discs will give you. Out on the road, the braking was assured and predictable, with plenty of modulation. Dare I say even a strong disc brake critic could be swayed given the experience of riding a Supersix.
Considering this is a disc brake bike the total weight of 7.02kg (in a 52) is very good and made those climbs up to the monasteries in Mallorca that much easier!
As you’d expect from a bike at this price range, you get the top-end Dura-Ace Hydro Di2 disc brake groupset. Cannondale have set up this bike with the full groupset beside the crankset which is its own in house HollowGram SiSL2 crank with OPI SpideRing. You certainly don’t miss the Dura-Ace cranks as the one-piece machined examples from Cannondale are super stiff and offer no less performance than that of Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo and are lighter too.
These cranks are ideal for what this bike is essentially for – racing at the top level - but give a satisfying and rewarding experience for the rest of us. The semi-compact gearing of 52/36 gave a ride that is comfortable for everything from fast paced flat riding through to long sustained climbing. With the 28 tooth largest rear sprocket, you’ll be hard pressed to find a climb that would require lower gears. For the buying public, this gearing set up is ideal.
The wheelset on the Supersix is the Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Disc WTS with Mavic 25mm tyres. These compliment the responsiveness and liveliness of the frameset well and the deeper rims provide assistance in aerodynamics without that compromise in handling, much like the brief of the frame. Cannondale have opted for a bolt through axle on the front and a standard quick release on the rear.
I'm a little perplexed at why Cannondale did this. Its reason is for weight saving but the extra stiffness a bolt thru axel at the rear would bring, in my opinion out weighs a small weight penalty.
The wheelset complimented the overall package of the bike well and only in the strongest winds would it be worth considering a shallower section rim.
In terms of the finishing kit, bars, stem and seatpost are all FSA K-Force carbon, and all offer stiffness but compliance whilst being light weight.
The handling is where the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod disc really excels. Cannondale has got the geometry spot on and it really does go where you want to put it, without fail, in a confidence inspiring and predictable way.
Riding down twisty descents with a mix of fast flowing corners and hairpins is an absolute pleasure. All the descents in Mallorca was a pleasure on this bike, it didn't feel out of place in any situation.
Tie this in with the hydro disc brakes and if you do feel you’re coming into a corner too quickly, the modulation they provide gives you the confidence to brake hard and reset your position into the corner.
With the cranks and frameset being so stiff, you’d expect it to be a wearing experience, much in the same way a formula 1 car doesn’t offer Bentley-esque comfort, however, riding this bike for 5-6 hours at a time is not fatiguing at all, and if you’re fit enough to ride it all day, it’ll look after you all day.
The Di2 gear system works as it should and small clever features such as changing down the cassette 2 sprockets when you change into the small chain-ring take the thinking out of gear changing and offer a silk smooth ride, even if it does take some getting used to.
For a £8500 the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod disc is, in my opinion, fairly understated and I wasn’t sure about the chrome/aluminium look detailing on the frame but looks are always a matter of opinion. I’d imagine after handing over your money you’d actually forget it costs that much (until you check your bank balance!).
That’s not to say it looks cheap by any means, but the build looks functionally excellent rather than providing the lashings of bling you’d get on perhaps a piece of top end Italian exotica. Get out and ride it though, and you won’t be disappointed. You can feel where the money is, in essentially a fast, responsive and assured bike, designed for professionals but one that can be enjoyed by anyone.
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