Featured User Review: 2013 Cannondale EVO Hi-Mod Dura Ace
MSRP Price: $7990
Lightness, efficiency, comfort, geometry
It does all things well, but it is not as aero as a full aero bike (which are heavier), or as comfy as a more upright bike like a Synapse or as light as the lightest bikes (which are more expensive).
This is a review of the 2013 EVO Hi Mod 1 with the SISL 2 crank and Dura Ace 9000. I swapped out a few parts like the wheelset, bars and saddle from stock. Sub 14 pound weight with no accessories, but with pedals.
I have ridden a Cannondale Six Carbon for 4 years, that is the basis for my comparison. The Six Carbon is really underrated, it won a bike of the year in a couple countries, it is a super value and is a great bike.
Where to start? The SISL2 crank is a revelation of lightness and flex-free-ness. It has a narrower Q Factor (pedal to pedal width) than the SLK light, and that is noticeable. The new D/A 9K is awesome, too. Super light feel, super positive feedback esp considering the tiny movements, and the brakes are totally confidence inspiring.
One way I like to get a feel for a bike is to see how it responds to a sudden increase in power while you are already underway. All bikes kind of coil up then release your input when you do this, heck I think your body does, too. It feels like you compress your pedals, your shoes, your joints, the chain, whatever, then they all uncompress and give you your power back. The old cliche of your power going directly to your rear wheels is kind of hype. There is loss in any system.
But the EVO takes your power input and releases it so quickly that you are encouraged to throw in a little extra whenever you have it because so little goes to waste. Without realizing it, I kind of adapt to a bike's efficiency. If I know that a little burst of power will not get me much in return, I do not bother with it. With the EVO it is nearly always worth it. Put in that little extra to push your speed up an extra 1 or 2 mph and it is does not take much to hold it there. I find myself in the big ring a lot more often than I used to. Partly because it is so much easier to shift in and out of the big ring when I need to. I think the reduced flex of the SISL2 rings improves shifting, too. This is a bike that begs to climb AND to sprint. Tool along all day on the flats and it will beg you to quit messing around and do a time trial. The lively feel and response to power input actually tire me out, kind of like playing with a puppy. You eventually have to say "that is all I have for now, boy," then come back and play hard when you have the energy again later.
The Six Carbon had great ride comfort and the ride of the EVO is about the same, I notice no big difference. But that is really huge given lighter weight and increased efficiency are usually at the expense of either a punishing stiff ride or a noodly bike. Not with the EVO. Finally.
Overall a great bike, but at current prices, I don't know about the value. Cannondale has non-hi-mod EVOs this year, they may be the sleeper value in the bike world, the EVO red looks like a good deal. The Super Six Ultegra looks like the equivalent of my Six Carbon Ultegra for 2013 and that looks pretty sweet, too. But you just cant call a $7500+ bike a good deal no matter how nice it is.
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