With the Tour de France a week away, I rode the new Cannondale SuperSix EVO, billed as the ‘fastest lightweight road bike,’ to see what it was all about. Here’s the verdict.

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Cannondale says the new SuperSix EVO is as light as the previous iteration but smoother and faster, saving a rider 30 watts at 30 mph.

Daniel McMahon

Just like that it’s Tour time, and, as with every Tour de France, new bikes are rolling out in the buildup to the Grand Départ.

That includes the Connecticut-based Cannondale, which on Friday unveiled the new SuperSix EVO, billed as the world’s “fastest lightweight road bike.” The riders on the US-registered EF Education First team are expected to race fresh EVOs at the Tour, which starts July 6 in Brussels. (They’ve actually been riding them in stealth mode for some time, in pro cycling’s open tech secret.)

Cannondale says the new bike is significantly faster and more comfortable than the previous iteration, which Business Insider reviewed in 2017. An all-rounder, the EVO slots in between Cannondale’s two other race bikes: the hyper-aero SystemSix, which debuted last summer and is the company’s fastest bike, used in flatter road races, and the compliant Synapse, its most forgiving ride, preferred in punishing events like the cobbled Paris-Roubaix.

This EVO is more integrated and aerodynamic than its predecessor.
Daniel McMahon

“We’ve hit a weight that’s the same or lighter than the previous bike, but we’ve added so many features,” Nathan Barry, a Cannondale design engineer, told Business Insider. “The drag at 30-mph race speed is 30 watts less drag than the old bike. It’s the same stiffness numbers and handling, but there’s bigger tire clearance, more integration, thru axles front and rear, internal cable routing, and more. It’s a perfectly rounded race bike.”

In addition to the more-aero tubes, the standout design feature with this EVO is the rear triangle and its dropped seat stays, which, according to the company, make for better aerodynamics — “because there’s just less stuff in the way of the wind” — and a more comfortable ride. It follows numerous brands that have incorporated dropped stays into their frame designs, notably Specialized with the Tarmac and BMC with the Teammachine.

EF riders have been racing the new EVO in stealth. Above, Michael Woods aboard a rim-brake version at a tune-up race ahead of the Tour.
Tim de Waele/Getty Images

“By having the seat stays into the seat tube, below the top tube, if you develop your layup correctly, it can allow the seat tube to flex, and that gives you some comfort in the saddle, which is restricted when you have the seat stays forming a perfect truss with the front triangle,” Barry said.

“The reason we’re seeing dropped rear stays across multiple brands is that it’s an engineering solution to a problem that multiple people are trying to solve. If your goal is more comfort and to reduce drag, that is a good way to further that to the back half of the bike.”

Another difference is the wider tire clearance. With the previous frame set, the EVO could run tires up to 28 mm wide, which was already generous, but the new bike can accept tires as wide as 30 mm and still have 6 mm of clearance around the tire, according to Cannondale. That’s welcome news, because generally a wider tire is not only more comfortable but also faster, as we learned at last year’s Tour.

A slide from Cannondale shows the new EVO to be the most aero in its class, beating its key rivals Specialized, Trek, BMC, and others.
Cannondale

Unlike with the disc-only SystemSix, riders interested in the new EVO can opt for discs or rim brakes. Cannondale says there’s no difference in stiffness or geometry between the two versions.

Also different from the older bike is that the new EVO is integrated, à la the SystemSix. Combined, the aero frame tubes, fork, wheels, seat post, handlebar, and stem make up Cannondale’s system-integrated design, which, the company says, saves a rider those 30 watts at 30 mph (48 km/h). Also impressive, the company says the new bike increases compliance by up to 18%.

Cannondale says the new EVO saves a rider 30 watts at 30 mph (48 km/h) over the previous version of the bike.
Cannondale

Cannondale has also launched a mobile app that pairs with an integrated wheel sensor to deliver speed, route, and distance, as well as other information about your bike, including the serial number and service reminders.

The new line begins with the SuperSix EVO Carbon 105, at $2,200, and runs all the way up to the SuperSix Hi-Mod Disc Dura-Ace Di2, at $11,500. You can get a built-in power meter in the crankset as well, for an additional charge. Cannondale said the new EVOs would start shipping immediately.

Last week, Cannondale sent Business Insider a SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Disc Ultegra Di2, a $7,750 bike (it has the same carbon frame set the pros are expected to race at the Tour). And while we had enough time for just a few rides, here are some initial impressions of the most talked-about new bike heading into the Tour.

This is a great-looking bike that handles beautifully and feels impossibly smooth on the road. Whereas the previous EVO we tested, in size 58 cm, weighed 18 pounds even, without pedals, our new EVO tipped the scales at just over 17.2, in 58 cm.


Daniel McMahon

It’s a clear departure from previous EVOs: This is more of an aero bike now, not that classic EVO you used to know. That’s good if you’re into the slippery aesthetic, but fans of the older look may not dig the wind-tunnel vibes, at least at first.


Daniel McMahon

For instance, this was the most recent EVO, before the launch of the new bike. It has a classic look compared with that of the new bike, which now looks a lot more like the SystemSix.


Cannondale

While the new EVO isn’t a true aero bike, like the SystemSix (below), it now has more in common looks-wise with the SystemSix than it does with the previous EVOs.


Cannondale

Here’s Tejay van Garderen racing on the new EVO in stealth mode this spring. Note that with his setup the EVO has a slightly more classic look. So you could configure the new EVO differently, depending on whether you want more of a speedster or a classic road bike.


Tim de Waele/Getty Images

As such, the new cockpit is fairly well integrated through bar and stem and comes with a nice out-of-the-way mount for our go-to Garmin computer.


Daniel McMahon

No matter which way you look at it, the new EVO oozes wind-cheating intention.


Daniel McMahon

There’s a stack of plastic spacers under the stem that remove easily. (Were this our bike for keeps, we’d pull another two spacers out and cut off the extra steerer tube for an even cleaner look.)


Daniel McMahon

There’s even more clearance for bigger tires now. You can run up to 30 mm-wide rubber and still have 6 mm of space around the tires, according to Cannondale. (Pictured are 25 mm Vittorias.)


Daniel McMahon

That’s a lot of room for wider tires in back too, should the desire hit you.


Daniel McMahon

With the rollout of the new EVO, Cannondale announced new wheels too, the HollowGram 45 mm-deep KNØTs.


Daniel McMahon

In addition to the powerful discs, our bike came with a wheel sensor that works with the Cannondale mobile app, which records your ride data in one place.


Daniel McMahon

Bottom line: This is a crazy-good road bike that even the most finicky roadies would love to have in their quiver.


Daniel McMahon

While our time with the new EVO before launch was very limited, we did get in a few rides, but we were left wanting more — a good sign. The bike does everything exceedingly well, beyond expectation even. The most notable strengths are, no surprise, superb handling and a velvety-smooth road feel. It’s the most comfortable performance road bike we’ve ridden. With the fresh six-point integration and aero design, the bike feels faster at speed, noticeably more so than the EVO we rode in 2017.

Downsides? There really isn’t one we could spot off the bat. Perhaps in a bike that costs over seven grand we’d like a 58 cm EVO that weighs less than 17 pounds, but with discs and a bigger frame that is most likely unrealistic at this stage. And some might at first lament the loss of the classic EVO look, but others will surely embrace the design innovation and the performance benefits it yields. As for us, we’ll keep pedaling. Check back for a long-term review.

Head to Cannondale.com for more information about the new EVO.

More:

Cannondale
SuperSix EVO
Tour de France
Bikes

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