New Cannondale SuperSix Evo first ride impressions - A lightweight bike that's as fast as an aero model?

The fourth-generation SuperSix from Cannondale is said to be more aerodynamic than ever before without sacrificing on weight

Perhaps the one of the worst kept secrets in cycling, Cannondale has today unveiled the details behind the long-awaited fourth-generation Cannondale SuperSix Evo. The bike has been spotted being ridden by the brand’s sponsored WorldTour teams, EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education-Tibco-SVB, since early this year, but Cannondale remained tight-lipped when it came to giving away the improvements of this SuperSix Evo compared to the previous iteration. Now that the wraps have been lifted, the new SuperSix Evo comes to market as lighter and more aerodynamic than ever before, as well as being accompanied with new, in-house components.

The SuperSix Evo has been lauded since its inception in 2008 for the balance it strikes between being lightweight and stiff and became even more popular among consumers when it had a heavy dose of aero advantage added to it in the third-generation model in 2019. It’s a bike that has been ridden to race wins at the highest level, but its more relaxed geometry has also made the bike popular among amateur riders who won’t necessarily be comfortable in the low-aggressive position we see professionals using. Cannondale has undoubtedly built up a high level of respect in the cycling world for the SuperSix Evo, so the challenge ahead of the most recent release that the brand faced was how to make a very popular bike even better.

With this, Cannondale explains it had a number of goals before setting to work on the new SuperSix Evo: to achieve the drag of an aero bike and a lower overall system weight, as well as adding more integration and capabilities. There were also aesthetic goals that Cannondale’s team set its mind to such as breaking the generic mould and restrictions of aero tubing, alongside flawless component styling and finish.

Aero gains

According to Cannondale’s testing, the American brand has superseded these goals when it comes to the new SuperSix. We’ll start with aerodynamics. Cannondale says that it completes all of its testing in its wind tunnel facility in San Diego, bringing in competitor bikes and recording CDAs (coefficient of aerodynamic drag) to get reliable data. According to its findings, the new Cannondale SuperSix Evo shaves 12 watts off of the last generation model˓at 45 km/h – a significant improvement. Cannondale also claims that according to its data, the new SuperSix Evo is 12 watts faster than a Trek Emonda SLR and four watts faster than a Specialized Tarmac SL7.

This has been achieved by a number of changes to the frame’s tubings and design. The new SuperSix Evo frame sees dropped seatstays, a subtle hour-glass shape to the head tube, a reshaped fork and more space between the fork and front wheel.

However, it isn’t just frame geometry that has made the difference here. Cannondale has also released a new integrated cockpit option created in collaboration with MOMODesign, a company which works in the high-performance automotive industry, to create the SystemBar R-One which uses drag-reducing shapes and sleek cable integration. 

Alongside the handlebars, Cannondale has also released a new Hollowgram R-SL 50 Wheelset which has been developed in conjunction with the SuperSix. Described as “one of the fastest all-around race wheelsets in the world,” the wheelset features a super low-drag rim, bladed spoke and shaped by Cannondale’s 'Draft' aero design philosophy. 

Attention to aerodynamic detail in this bike is impressive: Cannondale has also designed new water bottles which are said to actually make the bike faster than when ridden with no bottles at all. With flat sides that sit in line with the frame, the bottles aim to create a more streamlined profile, improving the bike’s aerodynamic efficiency. The cages still hold normal water bottles, too.

No weight penalty – at a price

Despite such a heavy focus on reducing the drag of the SuperSix Evo, Cannondale also says it placed a high-focus on not sacrificing the lightweight qualities that the bike is known for. The frame has been significantly trimmed of any ‘fat’ to pull weight out, meaning that the new-generation SuperSix Evo Lab71 bike comes in at under 7kg for a full bike (a top-spec Dura-Ace LAB71 SuperSix in a 56cm is claimed to come in on the UCI weight limit of 6.8 kilos while the previous generation came in at 7.4kg. Cannondale’s aero model, the SystemSix, comes in at a total weight of 7.7kg.) 

With the release of the SuperSix Evo, Cannondale has also introduced its new Lab71 range. This label connotes bikes that have the highest-level, premium specification and use Cannondale’s new Lab71 SuperSix Evo Series 0 carbon construction. This is made up of a special carbon fibre and nano-resin layup which is said to yield exceptional strength and stiffness, while also coming in at an impressively light weight of 770 grams for a fully-painted, build-ready 56cm frame. 

The Lab71 version of the SuperSix Evo is unsurprisingly the most expensive in the new SuperSix range, priced at £4,750 for the frameset only and £12,500 for the full bike with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed. For those without such deep pockets, Cannondale offers two other carbon layup options in its SuperSix range: a traditional ​​carbon which delivers frames around 915 grams and a Hi-Mod carbon frame which shaves over 100 grams from the carbon frames. A Hi-Mod frame is priced at £3,750 with a full bike starting at £8,250 depending on the specification choice. The cheapest option that Cannondale offer in the new SuperSix range is the SuperSix EVO Carbon 2 which comes in at £6,250 and is equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2. The full price and specification list of the entire SuperSix range can be found later in this article.

Not just for pros

While this is a bike which has already been ridden to victory by the EF Education women’s and men’s WorldTour teams so far this season, Cannondale also are keen to stress the features that make the bike easy to build, use and maintain for the everyday rider. The fourth-generation SuperSix Evo features a threaded BSA bottom bracket standard and standard thru-axles for simple wheel removal.

SuperSix Evo Carbon 1 

The bike also sees a relocation of drivetrain batteries to the downtube, which reduces the risk of a Di2 battery being lost in the seat tube when seat posts are removed if travelling or completing bike maintenance/fitting. This also means the bike’s seatpost has been slimmed down significantly which allows for aero gains. The bike can also still comfortably fit 34mm tyres.

SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 1 

When it comes to cable integration, the SuperSix Evo fourth-generation sees a new Delta Steerer technology tube design which allows for slimmer and seamless integration up front. There’s also the option to run a non-integrated bar and stem option for riders who want a different fit to that the MoMo bars offer. Cannondale has created a ‘Conceal Stem’ that allows integration but fits with any handlebar that the rider prefers should they have different anatomical needs. This stem comes in sizes 60mm to a hefty 140mm. 

What are the options?

Cannondale offers two frame-only options and four build options when it comes to the new SuperSix Evo range. These are:

  • SuperSix Evo Lab71 Frameset - £4,750
  • SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Frameset - £3,750
  • SuperSix Evo Lab71 Bike (with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, a HollowGram 50 R-S wheelset and Continental GP5000 tyres, CeramicSpeed BSA bottom bracket, Cannondale SystemBar R-One integrated handlebars, Fizik Vento Argo 00 Carbon saddle) - £12,500
  • SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 1 Bike (with Sram Red AXS groupset, HollowGram 50 R-S wheelset and Continental GP5000 tyres, Cannondale SystemBar R-One integrated handlebars, Prologo Dimension Nack NDR saddle) - £10,500
  • SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2 Bike (with Shimano Ultegra Di2 12-speed groupset, HollowGram 50 R-S wheelset, Continental GP5000 tyres, Vision Trimax Carbon Aero 31.8mm handlebar, Prologo Dimension Nack NDR saddle) - £8,250
  • SuperSix Evo Carbon 1 Bike (with Sram Force 12-speed groupset, HollowGram 50 R-S wheelset and Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright tyres, Vision Trimax Carbon handlebar, AeroPrologo Dimension TiRox NDR saddle) - £6,750
  • SuperSix Evo Carbon 2 Bike (with Shimano Ultegra Di2 12-speed, HollowGram 45 R, Carbon wheelset and Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright tyres, Vision Trimax Carbon Aero handlebar, Prologo Dimension STN NDR saddle) - £6,250

First ride impressions

I was able to ride the new Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 1 model at a launch event on the undulating – and slightly slippery – roads of Girona, the perfect spot to test out if the bike really can roll fast on the flat and zip up climbs as Cannondale’s claims suggest. My first impressions getting on the bike was how comfortable the geometry is compared to other bikes I’ve ridden. I switched to the SuperSix after riding a Pinarello Dogma F at home, and it was notably less aggressive than the Italian brand’s model, something that will be an asset during long rides. However, my fit had plenty of stack height so there is lots of room for adjustment to make the front end lower if you prefer that sort of fit.

When it comes to aesthetics, Cannondale really has hit the mark here, perfectly combining function and beauty in the new SuperSix. I like how the carbon aesthetic is pulled down through the top tube with the raw carbon strip and the black and silver colourway on the bike I rode looked understated and sleek. My bike was fitted with Vision bars and Cannondale’s new Conceal Stem so I can’t comment on the stiffness of the new SystemBar R-One handlebars, but I was relieved to have my usual 40cm bar width and I found this super comfortable throughout the ride.

Hitting the first climb of the day, the bike felt responsive and quick and it was lively when I got out of the saddle and accelerated. It definitely feels like it climbs faster than pure aero models and the stiffness of the front end of the bike really helps with this. 

However, where Cannondale has done well to achieve stiffness for getting out of the saddle, it hasn’t compromised on handling or compliance either. The roads around Girona had some residual water on them which made some shady corners a little bit sketchy, but I was able to have real confidence in the SuperSix that it would respond quickly to any small adjustments I needed to make going into a corner. While it’s fast to help you correct your line if you need to, the SuperSix doesn’t have the twitchy, nervous feel that some bikes do, instead it feels reliable. For me, when a bike is able to give additional peace of mind while railing descents and corners, it’s a real plus.

Without my own wind tunnel facility, I can’t comment on the improved aerodynamic claims that Cannondale makes about the new bike, but it certainly felt fast on the flat roads and on descents. Even hitting high speeds, there was no risk of speed-wobbling and it felt like a solid and trustworthy companion throughout the ride. The Spanish roads are relatively smooth with far fewer potholes than we are lucky enough to have in the UK, but there were a a few bumpy, cobbled sections on our ride that the bike did well to dampen out, while at the same time, the bike offered plenty of feedback.

The wind conditions were pretty stable on our ride, so it’s hard to know how the bike and the HollowGram 50 R-S wheelset would handle in crosswinds, but over the two and a half hour ride we did, the wheels gave me no reason to doubt, they felt secure throughout while also responding well to accelerations. 

I haven’t ridden any of the other SuperSix Evo iterations, but what strikes me most about this bike is how it has a traditional lightweight feel, combined with great handling and steering characteristics as well as sturdiness on the flat. This, alongside Cannondale’s claims of its aerodynamic properties make it a real all-rounder and the varied range of specification and pricing options mean that pro-level feel of this bike isn’t out of reach for a consumer either.

Shop now