Cannondale has redesigned the SuperSix EVO to keep pace with rivals like the Specialized Tarmac, Cervelo R5, and BMC Road Machine. Now in its third iteration, the 2020 SuperSix EVO eschews the classic lines of its predecessors in favor of aero profiles, internal cable routing, and revised sizing.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO highlights
- Revised frame design with aero profiles
- Improved clearance – able to fit 30mm-wide tires
- Speed-Release thru-axles
- Offered in disc rim brake versions
- Price range: $2,200 – $11,500
- Available now
- Tested here: SuperSix EVO High Mod Dura-Ace Mechanical – $7,200.
- Visit cannondale.com for more information
As aero road bikes became the norm in the pro peloton, the SuperSix found itself pigeon-holed as a climber’s bike. In order to bring this light, stiff and agile bike up to speed, Cannondale’s engineering team sought to redesign this Jack-of-all-trades with aero tube profiles.
“Aerodynamic efficiency has a huge affect on speed and performance in cycling, so reducing drag on the new SuperSix EVO was a priority,” said Nathan Barry, Cannondale Design Engineer.
The truncated aero tube profiles used on the downtube and seat tube mimic the cross-section of an airfoil with the leading and trailing edges removed. Commonly known as a Kammtail, this profile reduces the low-pressure wake when compared to a traditional round frame tube. According to data supplied by Cannondale, the new wind-cheating tube profiles with the frame’s new aero handlebar save 30-watts when riding at 30 miles per hour over the previous generation.
In some cases, aero profiles add weight and reduce ride quality. Both of these were key considerations in the redesign. The aero tube profiles were stiffer than traditional round tubes, allowing Cannondale to scale down their diameters, reducing material and saving weight. Cannondale claims the Hi-MOD frames have a weight range of 813-977g, depending on size and paint. In previous versions, willowy seatstays combined with a slender 25.4mm seatpost worked in concert to provide vertical compliance. The latest SuperSix EVO breaks from the traditional lines of its predecessors with dropped seatstays allow for increased flex through the seat tube.
The classic lines may be gone, but Cannondale didn’t leave rim-brake riders in the cold—two of the builds feature rim brakes.
Cannondale also made adjustments to frame sizing. The previous version of the SuperSix EVO was available in nine frame sizes, while the new version comes in eight, spanning 44 to 62cm sizes. As a result, stack is slightly higher and reach is a few millimeters shorter on most sizes. These changes are relatively small. The rider retains a race-oriented position that’s slightly less aggressive than the aero-optimized SystemSix.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Dura-Ace first ride review
The model I tested was the $7,200 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc equipped with mechanical Dura-Ace. Cannondale’s house brand components are featured prominently throughout this build.
The SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Dura-Ace rolls on a 45mm-deep HollowGram 45 KNØT carbon wheelset with 700x25c tubeless tires. The cockpit is decked out with a HollowGram SystemBar SAVE integrated carbon handlebar and stem, and a 27.2mm Save carbon seatpost in place of the smaller, 25.4mm seatpost used on the previous generation. Last but not least, the 52/36t HollowGram crankset comes equipped with a Power2max power meter. If wattage is a metric you track, be prepared to pay an additional $490 to activate this pre-installed power meter.
My time aboard the new SuperSix EVO was limited to a single 36-mile ride on the backroads surrounding Stowe, Vermont. The roads were creased and cracked from years of freeze-thaw cycles. I can’t speak to Cannondale’s claims of watt savings from the aero tube profiles, but I can weigh in with early impressions of the bike’s handling and ride quality from several hours spent dodging wheel-eating cracks and plowing through potholes.
Despite the revised frame sizing, the new bike’s handling felt familiar to the second-generation SuperSix EVO I own. The SuperSix is known for its intuitive handling, and this appears to have been retained. A slight input is all that’s required to change course. I appreciated the deft handling and lively ride quality. Like the previous version, the SuperSix reacts with haste when the rider stands and sprints.
“Same but different” is the best compliment I can give the SuperSix EVO. Cannondale has preserved the best aspects of the bike while improving its ability to compete against a field that is increasingly focused on aerodynamics. Do I miss the classic lines of the old version? Perhaps. But aesthetics seems like a worthy tradeoff for a lighter, faster frame.