The Cannondale SuperSix EVO typically speaking, has been an award winner from its inception. Phrases like “sharp handling”, “ideal ride comfort and quality”, and “exceptional balance for a race bike” are thrown around regularly, and while those qualities are backed up on the road, the SuperSix EVO has always remained a bit traditional. The new 2020 Cannondale SuperSix EVO road bike brings the brand’s race road bike firmly to the front of the pack, blending low weight, vastly improved aerodynamics, and typical Cannondale innovation to the race bike market.
Plenty of race bikes have been released in recent weeks. While all of them are all slightly different, a large majority of them are starting to tackle aerodynamics, and why wouldn’t they? The UCI weight minimum means that a frame only needs to be 700-800 grams, which the Cannondale handily did nearly a decade ago with the Cannondale SuperSix Nano (665 grams in 56 cm). This affords Cannondale the ability to combine lighter carbon tubing with truncated airfoils that offer the same weight, better stiffness while reducing drag compared to the characteristic round tubing of every previous SuperSix EVO.
No expense was spared in the effort to improve aerodynamics. The obvious move was to route cables internally and to create a spot for a downtube junction box, much like the Synapse and SystemSix. The headtube now features a deeper headtube section that has an opening to route cabling internally for minimum drag. Top-spec models with the HollowGram KNOT stem feature fully internal cable routing, while other models have an adaptor to keep everything in place. The fork tapers into the downtube to smooth airflow, while dropped chainstays do the same around the rear end of the bike.
Paired with the KNOT stem is the HollowGram SAVE SystemBar, also found on Cannondale’s other drop bar bikes. The carbon handlebar and semi-integrated alloy stem give the bike a tidy, integrated look that improves aerodynamics substantially, and is easy to service should adjustments be necessary. Unlike other integrated aero bars, the SystemBar offers up to 8-degrees of pitch adjustment and 6 mm of deflection that eats up road vibrations.
Higher spec models also receive HollowGram 45 KNOT wheels, which are based on the design of the HollowGram wheels on the SystemSix. Cannondale says that the wheelset maintains aero efficiency, even with tires that utilize the 30c max tire clearance of the new frameset. Its just 3.2 watts slower than the HollowGram 64 KNOT, but still 2.6 watts faster than a Zipp 303 NSW at 48 kilometers per hour with the same tire.
The results are in the numbers: overall drag decreases by a substantial 30 watts, or 30% compared to the outgoing SuperSix EVO, with better aerodynamics than basically every major competitor on the market at up to +/- 20-degrees yaw. Cannondale says this is the fastest lightweight road bike on the market, as a combination of the integrated front end (the bars save 9.1 W alone!), aero tubing, and new HollowGram wheels help the bike out drastically. Cannondale also claims that air resistance accounts for half of total riding resistance at even 9 mph, so the new EVO should offer marginal gains even as you trudge up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Handling was a serious point of strength for the previous SuperSix EVO, and Cannondale went to great lengths to ensure the bike wasn’t only good in a straight line, but good at speed on the descents or in a crit. Most handling-specific numbers don’t change a ton, but reach and stack numbers are now geared toward fitting a wider range of riders (read: shorter stack, taller reach). Riders looking for Cannondale's most-aggressive race bike can still get pretty darn close on their fit, though the SystemSix is now the brand's most aggressive bike.
I’ve always dug the SuperSix EVO for it's handling and firm-but-not-stiff ride balance on the road, something that is readily apparent once you pointed it at a windy descent. The handling was razor-sharp, which tended to scare off the average weekend warrior who ended up going for something like Cannondale Synapse instead. Cannondale’s newest SuperSix EVO isn’t quite like the previous model, and it's not only that the bike swaps traditional round tubes than before.
Cannondale wanted a race bike and they definitely delivered with this bike. To cut to the chase, the SuperSix feels light on it's feet, it dives into corners with only the slightest suggestion of turn-in, and it doesn’t beat you up on a long ride. It climbs at least as well as the previous SuperSix EVO as well, with the HollowGram KNOT wheels playing a big role in how responsive the bike feels. The ride quality itself is still impressive, as the gains in stiffness have done nothing to worsen how the bike rides over chip seal.
The old SuperSix EVO sat right on the border of stable and too twitchy. Cannondale backed off from its edginess of the new bike, and the SuperSix EVO now errs on the side of stability. Part of that has to do with the HollowGram SAVE SystemBar. The setup is a worthwhile addition to the bike; it smooths out vibrations on the road but it also settles down the front end really nicely at speed, making it easy to place the bike exactly where you'd want it.
I would go as far as to say that it is easier than ever to get the most out of the SuperSix EVO. The bike requires less effort to ride quickly, thanks in part to both to improved aerodynamics as well as a front end that is slightly less twitchy. It still urges you forward in a way that a good road bike should, it's just the bike feels more mature.
Does that make the new bike better or worse than before? That remains to be seen. Some might be disappointed by the SuperSix EVO's change in looks or change in geometry, but there is no disputing that the new bike is functionally better in just about every other way. If you’re looking for one of the very best race road bikes on the market, Cannondale’s newest road bike fits the bill as one of the best road bikes on the market, and one plenty of people will come to love.
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