We test the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2021, the lightest and fastest road bike ever?
The Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod was one of the most acclaimed road bikes by amateurs and pros alike, so when it was updated in 2020 many held their breath until they could ride it. But Cannondale has once again hit the nail on the head with an update that combines all the current trends without losing its personality. The brand itself defines the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2021 as the lightest and fastest road bike ever, and we tested it to see if it was true.
A new design for the Cannondale SuperSix EVO
Based on the SuperSix concept and building on the strengths of its SystemSix and Synapse models, Cannondale developed a BallisTec Hi-MOD carbon frame that stands out for its sophisticated construction featuring a combination of high-strength and high-stiffness fibres. The result is the highest possible lightness and reactivity without compromising on strength.
The idea was clear, keep all the good features and incorporate new trends. The thin, teardrop-shaped tubes characteristic of previous SuperSix models are gone in favour of more aerodynamic D-shaped profiles, with lower weight and similar stiffness that reduce wind resistance by around 30%.
At first glance we can see more modern lines, combining more robust and voluminous tubes at the front with thinner and more stylised ones in the area of the chainstays and seat stays. Here we can see that it takes references from the other models, adopting a wider and taller head tube which, despite needing more material, achieves a more aerodynamic shape.
The increased width at the front is also due to cable integration, the brake hoses and cables from the Dura-Ace Di2 groupset are routed through a channel, and to prevent twisting or pinching the handlebars are limited in their rotation. At first glance, this limitation seems excessive, but it actually allows you to turn easily in any rail and the steering movement is well articulated throughout its angle of action. This complete cable routing is only found on models equipped with electronic groupsets, as for mechanical groupsets both the front and rear derailleur cables enter the frame through the top of the down tube, leaving only the brake hoses completely hidden. This, according to the manufacturer, is to ensure smooth operation of the mechanical groupsets.
The top tube is slightly inclined, increasing the sloping and going from thicker to thinner. At the rear is the discreetly concealed seatpost clamp, which is operated from the bottom of the tube and works well even at low torques.
It has a very stiff bottom bracket, but don't be fooled by the fact that it's not very bulky, it's really stiff.
The rear end is of particular importance. The low chainstays, built to allow a certain amount of flex, are an essential part of the bike when it comes to filtering out irregularities in the terrain. They act as a micro-suspension providing extra comfort, something that is appreciated in such racing bikes. The seat stays have a low line, a concept adopted from the SystemSix. The result is a very compact rear end.
Another change is reflected in the fork, with a flatter profile, following the aerodynamic lines of the rest of the frame. It incorporates SAVE vibration absorption technology which, like the rear end, filters out minor road irregularities. The internal routing of the brake hose is also present here and it is fitted with a flat mount caliper.
Both frame and fork are equipped with Speed Release axles, designed in-house and which combine the stiffness advantages of a conventional thru axle and the speed of wheel removal of a traditional quick release, allowing faster and easier wheel changes. A perhaps more race-oriented feature, but it's not a bad thing if it makes the operation easier.
All this results in the lightest disc brake frame ever built by the brand and not only that, the aerodynamics have been improved to the point that it is able to save 30 watts at a speed of 48.3 km/h compared to the previous version.
Cannondale offers the rider the possibility to view part of the features of this frame on the View App, cable routing, assembly, mechanical manuals... All you need to do is download the free App to your mobile phone and scan the hexagonal code on the top tube of the frame.
Own components for greater comfort
This masterpiece has been equipped with the brand's own components, which are integrated with the frame's operation to further enhance its aerodynamic characteristics and comfort in running order.
Firstly, the stylish HollowGram SAVE handlebar-power set with a flattened profile to reduce wind resistance while absorbing impacts for greater comfort. Although referred to as a handlebar-stem set, it is a two-piece design with the possibility of interchangeability depending on the rider's needs, with different handlebar sizes and stem lengths. There is also the possibility of adjusting the inclination up to 8º, for those who are looking for a more racing position.
Through this assembly begins the routing of all the cables, which are fed through an opening in the front of the stem to reach the frame through profiled spacers, all for minimum aerodynamic drag.
As far as comfort is concerned, the use of the KNOT 27 seatpost stands out. This, combined with the SAVE system present in the chainstays, gives an approximate flexibility of 18%, improving the rolling quality. Something that is to be welcomed especially on secondary roads where the asphalt is more deteriorated. It is fitted with a Prologo Dimension Nack NDR saddle with carbon rails.
HollowGram wheels, part of its new personality
When looking to improve the rolling surface of a climbing bike, one of the resources used is to mount a set of wheels with a higher profile. In this case, KNOT 45 profile carbon rims have been used, accompanied by Formula hubs.
The performance of the wheels is sensational, improving aerodynamics at high speeds without penalising too much on steep climbs and behaving very decently when the wind blows sideways.
These 45 mm profile rims bring some of the new personality to the SuperSix Evo, improving one of the weak points of the previous model.
Thanks to the mounting change to disc brakes, it has been possible to use wider tyres, in this case Vittoria Corsa in 25c width, which although they have offered an outstanding performance in the test, it would also be possible to mount 30c tyres without any problem as they have a generous wheel arch and that would improve even more the comfort for the rider.
Riding with the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2021
A few months ago we tested the electric version, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Neo 1. This time we have tested the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod 2021, nothing more and nothing less than the top of the range model, similar to the one used by the riders of the Cannondale-Education First team.
We started by making the pertinent adjustments before going out on the road. As it comes out of the box, the HollowGram SAVE handlebar and stem set is much higher than you expect, partly because of the spacers and also due to the geometry change that places the head tube higher, but this set has a detail that in other models of handlebars with stem we do not find and that is that it allows you to remove spacers from below and place the usual rings at the top of the tube, so you can try different positions before cutting the fork tube.
Once the measurements have been adjusted, we set off for a ride, and in a matter of seconds you can feel its race-oriented character. Aerodynamic position and a smooth ride that makes the speed increase in a vertiginous way. This alone shows the new personality, the improvement on flat terrain compared to the previous model is abysmal.
In our case it is difficult to quantify the amount, but seeing the speeds we are moving at is enough to know that the work done in this aspect has paid off. When we stand up on the pedals when we reach any small hill, we feel the stiffness of the assembly, especially the bottom bracket area, transmitting all the force of each of our pedal strokes to the rear axle and allowing us to maintain our speed.
On long uphill climbs and mountain passes it still maintains its climbing spirit, the one that has made this model so famous. It is true that the inclusion of the disc brakes and the wheels with profile have made it gain a few grams on the scales, stopping at 7.35 kg.
A very competitive weight as far as frames for disc brakes are concerned, but far from the previous SuperSix. Nevertheless, its behaviour on climbs is faultless. Its down tube with 73.7º in the case of the test unit, leads us to a somewhat backward position, so we opted to move the saddle forward to gain in power transmission, it is a bike that invites us to climb sitting down.
When the slopes approach or enter the 2-figure range and it's time to get out of the saddle to push, the increased sloping makes it agile and lets us dance on the bike to get the most out of it. The stiffness of the rear end, provided by low seat stays and shorter chainstays of just 408mm, also helps to improve climbing performance.
When going downhill, it is best felt on descents with fast curves. The wide, high 71.2° steering head angle gives the bike a sense of poise at all times and a confidence that makes you release the brakes. On the other hand, it is a little slower to react in twisty curves. The Dura-Ace calipers and levers brake incredibly well, allowing us to delay the moment of applying the brake lever as much as possible.
On roads with more deteriorated asphalt where irregularities abound, such as secondary and mountain roads, it is another of the points in which it stands out. The SAVE absorption system present in the fork, rear axle, seatpost and handlebars, as well as the thicker tyres, minimise some of these irregularities, gaining in comfort. This is a point that is taken into account by the brand, as the increased comfort means that we can give the best of ourselves for longer.
There is little to add about the drivetrain. The Dura-Ace Di2 groupset shifts with outstanding precision and with a 52-36T chainring gearing and 11-30T cassette gearing it adapts to any trail profile you might encounter. This set-up includes the HollowGram SiSL2 aluminium crankset. The only thing missing is a power meter, a bike of this level deserves to come with one as standard.
Finally, as in all the medium-high range, there is also a sensor on the front wheel, developed in collaboration with Garmin, which allows us to link it with our Smartphone to obtain precise information on speed, time, route and distance. Nowadays, any cyclist considering the acquisition of this type of bicycle is normal to have a cyclocomputer that can provide a greater amount of data, but on the other hand we have the option to register our bicycle to obtain maintenance reminders, information about the suspensions, etc. It allows us to record up to 30 routes or training sessions before it is necessary to synchronise it with the App.
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura-Ace Di2 offers a total redesign of what was the previous model, a correct way of expressing what evolution is all about, keeping the goodness of its predecessor and adding all the technology and development of all the other models to improve the weak points and adapt it to the new market trends.
A bike suitable for everyone, from those who simply want to enjoy the sport to those who are immersed in the world of competition.
It stands out for its top-level structural and dynamic solutions. It is now faster on the flat thanks to aerodynamic improvements. It maintains its good stiffness values with the use of Hi-MOD carbon and although it is a few grams heavier with the change to disc brakes, it is well worth it for the improvement in braking and fixing of the wheels that make the SAVE technology more palpable, giving values of comfort that invite you to spend more time on it.
The integration of the components is simply brilliant. The clever cable routing provides easy maintenance and smoothness of use, as well as clean lines thanks to the concealment of all cables. True, this is only achieved on models equipped with electronic shifting, as for mechanical groupsets the shifting cables are routed differently for smoother operation.
In short, its responsiveness, manoeuvrability and comfort make it much more versatile and faster on all types of terrain.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura-Ace Di2 2021 Specifications
- Frame: BallisTec Hi-MOD Carbon, integrated cable routing w/ Switchplate, 12x142 Speed Release thru-axle, SAVE, PF30a, flat mount disc, integrated seat binder
- Fork: BallisTec Hi-MOD Carbon, SAVE, integrated crown race, 12x100mm Speed Release thru-axle, flat mount disc, internal routing
- Headset: Integrated, 1-1/8" - 1-1/4" (44-54cm), 1-1/8" - 1-3/8" (56-62cm)
- Front Hub: Formula, 12x100
- Rear Hub: Formula, 12x142
- Rims: HollowGram 45 KNØT SL, Carbon, 20h front, 24h rear, 45mm deep, 21mm IW, tubeless ready
- Spokes: DT Swiss Aerolite, straight-pull
- Tires: Vittoria Corsa, 700 x 25c
- Bottom Bracket: Cannondale Alloy PressFit30
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-speed
- Crank: HollowGram SiSL2, BB30a, OPI SpideRing, 52/36
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, braze-on
- Rear Cogs: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-30, 11-speed
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 11-speed
- Brake Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace Di2 hydraulic disc, 160/140mm RT900 rotors
- Grips: Cannondale Bar Tape, 3.5mm
- Handlebar: HollowGram SAVE SystemBar, Carbon, 8 deg. pitch adjust
- Saddle: Prologo Dimension Nack NDR, carbon rails
- Seatpost: HollowGram 27 SL KNØT, Carbon, 2 bolt clamp, 330mm, 0mm offset (44-48cm), 15mm offset (51-62cm)
- Stem: HollowGram KNØT, Alloy w/ cable cover, -6°
- Wheel Sensor: Cannondale Wheel Sensor
- PRICE: 11.199 €