And just when you thought you’d found the ideal gravel bike, Cannondale launches its all-new Topstone Carbon Gravel. Oh well, n+1, isn't it?
The newest Topstone gravel bike from Connecticut-based Cannondale has been entirely redesigned and now features an improved geometry and enhanced Kingpin suspension.Related: Meet the new Cannondale Synapse
This sees Cannondale opt for a lower standover and bottom bracket height to give the rider a bit more comfort. It has also revisited the frame’s unique shock absorption system.
Already one of Cannondale’s lightest solutions, the new Kingpin suspension system is 100g lighter than its previous iteration. Working alongside either a rigid or suspension fork, it aims to provide better traction on rough surfaces and more confident cornering. To achieve this, it uses a smart thru-axle pivot in the seat tube that allows the back of the frame to flex, similar to how most mountain bike full-suspension systems function.
Related: Cannondale's new Supersix EVO is a fast bike for gravel and cyclo-cross racing If you do opt for suspension at both ends, you’ll also find yourself with a Lefty Oliver fork. Made famous via Cannondale’s other off-road models since 1999, the Lefty is a fork with just a single left leg. It may look disconcertingly like you’re missing half the fork, but it has proved an efficient and light design that still provides plenty of travel.
The Lefty models (Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty and Topstone Carbon 2) all come with 700c wheels as standard, while the system can accommodate tyres up to 45mm wide.Also, to make things easier from a customisation point of view, Cannondale has fitted the new Topstone with traditionally dished wheels and a threaded BSA bottom bracket. This means you can swap its wheelset and cranks more efficiently. And, since gravel is associated with bikepacking as well as racing, the Topstone can easily house Cannondale’s StrapRack to tackle any adventure.Related: EF - Nipp's Giro d'Italia Supersix; gallery
The Topstone Carbon now also features SmartSense. This is Cannondale’s system of lights and rear-facing radar that actively responds to the bike’s surroundings and communicates in real-time with the rider. A single battery powers the system, and when the radar detects vehicles coming from behind, it alerts you to their speed and distance.
At the same time, the front and rear lights automatically adjust to ensure you’re always visible on the road. Another integrated wheel sensor delivers accurate speed readings plus route and distance data. Registering the bike will also remind you of any required services through the free Cannondale app.Though not all models are fitted with the system (it will be featured on carbon models 1 RLE, 2 L, and 3 L), each is ready to accommodate it later, should you decide.
Last but not least, the Topstone bikes are also built to accept an internally-routed 27.2mm dropper seatpost. It's not a surprise on these kinds of bikes, but it is an element that many will start noticing and requesting following Matej Mohorič’s win at Milan-San Remo using a dropper.
The most capable gravel bike in Cannondale’s range, the new Topstone is sold as a bike that can take riders anywhere. Cannondale claims its new off-road machine will empower riders to push the boundaries between “impassable and fun”.“We designed the Topstone Carbon as a tool that does it all,” says Nina Baum, Cannondale Product Manager. “Whether it’s the local singletrack, jumping into your first gravel race, or that overnight bikepacking trip turned transcontinental ride, Topstone begs its rider for new challenges.”All Topstone Carbon models will be available in sizes XS-XL, with prices from £2,400 (700 U Topstone Crb 4 A8) to £7,750 (700 U Topstone Crb 1 RLE).