The only trend we care about is winning. That's why we use high modulus, unidirectional carbon fiber for the front triangle, and ultra-light, race-proven aluminum for the rear. Ingeniously melded though a proprietary, continuous-fiber lay-up technology. The proportions are huge. The design is obsessively tested. And the result is the lightest, stiffest, most explosive bike we've ever made. The new SystemSix.
A couple of years ago I was scanning the pages of BikeExchange.com.au for a road bike that I could use just to keep the legs spinning for 6 months while I was working interstate, then sell it on before I returned home. I found a 2008 vintage, Made in USA, Cannondale System Six in good condition, but what swung it for me was the Campag Chorus groupset on this particular machine. The first time I rode it I was amazed at how responsive it was. I absolutely love this bike and 2 years on I still own it and ride it 4 or 5 times a week. Perhaps one day I'll upgrade to something newer, but after 50 years of cycling, I currently see no reason to change the finest bike I have ever ridden.
This Aluminum/Carbon Hybrid is all about maddening, straight-line acceleration and laser steering response. Combined with the BB30 Cannondale Hollowgram Si crankset - you now have a road rocket, worthy of any type of fast or climb-friendly ride. I've ridden a 2011 Cervelo S2/SRAM Red and it felt like a noodle, compared to the SystemSix. Put it this way - Cannondale will NEVER make a crazy bike of this caliber ever again, simply because it is way too expensive to produce co-molding materials. If you ever see one for sale...inspect it thoroughly and if all checks out, grab it and keep it forever.
Strengths: Stiff, feels very fast, great steering, light enough, climbs well, descends well, unassuming looks, overall very high performance and obviously impeccable build quality.
Weaknesses: Not a cruiser - this thing is for flying, despite performance lacks cachet of the fancy Italian stuff, function-first design, uninspiring graphics, although the paint is nice.
Bike is actually an '08 - they don't seem to have that choice in the drop-down.
I would characterize myself as a reasonably aggressive recreational rider, with typical rides between 25 and 70 miles (it's taken me a while to find the right saddle, or that 70 would be over 100). I'm 6'1" and about 210 pounds, and with a 36" inseam ride a 58cm frame.
As a heavier and relatively strong rider, I prefer a stiff frame and according to tests I've seen, this frame seems to have one of the stiffer bottom bracket / rear triangle combinations out there. Qualitatively, I've found it to be extremely responsive and it feels very efficient, whether cruising in the drops or jumping on it up a climb or just for the sake of accelerating. The geometry is very stable descending at 40 - 50MPH, and the steering is very precise. I have found it to be "accurate" rather than "jumpy" and have had no negative issues with it.
With my build-up it weighs about 17.5 pounds (with pedals), which is not ultra-light - but I have heavy wheels, and I'm sure I could find grams if I cared to (500 in the wheels, for example, probably 50 in the saddle, 50-100 if I went crazy and got titanium pedals etc.). At 210, though, an extra pound off the bike won't make a difference for me.
I've put maybe 600 or 700 miles on this bike since purchase over a variety of surfaces, and I've enjoyed every mile immensely, except those into a frustrating wind. I actually have found it to be very comfortable over longer rides, with little numbness or buzzing - although road quality makes a difference, and this is a stiff frame. However, it does seem to have decent vertical compliance and the hits I've taken have been well-absorbed by the frame; more so than I would have expected, actually. This doesn't seem compromise the thrust in any way, so there's some trick there - possibly the seat stay shape.
Prior to buying this bike, I rode a friend's Merlin for about 100 miles and while it was a nice, damp ride - you could feel it wind-up under power, and the geometry didn't suit me. It felt more Cadillac than Corvette, if you take my meaning.
I would strongly recommend this frame if you prefer a responsive, stiff chassis and like to go fast more than you care about image. If you like to dawdle along, prefer a more relaxed ride etc. this isn't the frame for you. If you want to show-out with the coolest paint or fanciest brand, again this probably won't do it for you either.
Bike Setup: Dura Ace shifters and derailleurs, Cannondale carbon brakes, Ksyrium Equipe wheels, FSA K-Force Light cranks, ControlTech carbon post and bars and aluminum stem. Various saddles. Speedplay pedals.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: October 19, 2010
Strengths: fast, stiff, light, strong.
watch the sprint finish
Weaknesses: they don't make them anymore.
What they said and more. I am 57 and won the Florida Points Series last yr. in my category and currently 2nd with one race remaining this yr. Every race on this bike, crits road races, circuit races and tt's. I am no lightweight carrying 190lbs and this bike just takes it all and responds instantly to every pedal stroke.
Strengths: Stiff, comfortable enough, dead sexy, quite light (1150gr sz 56 frame), BB30, steering does exactly what you tell it, and not very common where I live
Weaknesses: Not great over rough roads, steering does exactly what you tell it (what you'd like it to do and what you tell it to do are not always the same thing)
I went to the local Cannondale shop to look at a CAAD9 when I saw a SystemSix sitting on the showroom floor. After taking out a CAAD the salesman (smartly) suggested I take the System out on the same route and I fell in love. It is a true racing bike that has no illusions about what it is. Its aluminum rear end is properly rigid and the front end is unreal. It steers like a sports car, I look, lean, and it traces the exact path I lay out. It is not the most comfortable bike out there, but I'm not willing to pay the kind of money it would take to get a bike that has sprint-winning stiffness and cobblestone comfort. If you can find one, they are a GREAT bike.