Building your own bike: Cannondale Evo SuperSix

David Arthur goes in search of the perfect bike by building one from scratch

by David Arthur   July 31, 2012  

There's nothing quite like the enjoyment of building your own bicycle. Sure, rolling out of the bike shop on a brand new bike is pretty immense, but for ultimate satisfaction you can't beat building one yourself.

Because you see, building your own bicycle opens up a world of possibilities. You are free to build your dream bike, and that is the reason so many people are fond of going down this route. Pick every single part, piece it together with a measured and considered approach, and slowly your perfect bike starts to take shape. And, when it's finished, you've got a completely custom bike that is unique. Now, who doesn't want some of that?

I must confess, I love building my own bikes. I've built a fair few road and mountain bikes up from a pile of parts over the years, and I'm about to embark on another. I just can't help myself. The driving force behind this latest project it to build a race bike; one stiff and responsive enough for crit and road racing. But it also needs to be good for long rides, so lightness is a key factor (I'm not so good on hills) to save me energy. And comfort is important too.

The frame I've chosen is the Cannondale Evo SuperSix. Lifting it out of its box, pulling aside the protective wrapper, its lack of weight is noticeable. And so it should be. This is one of the lightest production frames in the world. On my Park Tool scales, the 56cm frame (with the press-fit bearings installed) weighs 900g. The fork is 340g with the lower bearing race fitted. That's pretty damn light.

It's an elegant looking frame with traditional round tube profiles giving the Evo nice clean lines. I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of some of the funkier tube manipulation that occurs in many frames. Call me a traditionalist if you like. Cannondale are really pushing at the limits of carbon fibre technology (as we saw at their 2013 product launch). The frame is made from BallisTec carbon, with high modulus fibres, with three sections to create a lightweight and stiff monocoque.

There are no metal inserts at the BB30 bottom bracket. Instead, the cups are moulded carbon. It's the same at the head tube; the headset bearings drop directly into the carbon cups. The slim chainstays are among the skinniest I've seen this side of a Cervelo R3, and should give the frame the desired comfort.

It should be a light bike once it's built. Considering that a sub-5kg bike with top-end parts is achievable, I'm hoping my more modest build, while not being in the eye-popping arena of low weight, should still be reasonable.

Watch out for my next update soon as I start the build...

www.cannondale.com

13 user comments

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Great idea for a blog and I will look forward to the instalments. I was idly thinking yesterday of attempting something like this in the future but don't currently have the skills (or the necessary tools). You might well inspire me to leap into (in)action. Big Grin

posted by Sadly Biggins [261 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 15:13

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you're doing it wrong, you need to start with a wheel
Smile

posted by VecchioJo [736 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 15:34

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That's a sweet looking frame David, love the black and white contrast. You going to keep the monochrome look or thinking of injecting some colour?

You're so right VecchioJo, my TT bike came about after buying a carbon rim I liked the look of Big Grin

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posted by stuke [300 posts]
2nd August 2012 - 21:20

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Thanks Sadly, happy to inspire you. You can build a bike with the most basic tools, the usual hurdle for me is a headset press, which luckily I managed to borrow from a friend. Most bike shops will usually do the trickier jobs, for a small fee or bag of donuts!

Think I'll keep with the black and white theme to start with Stuke, but I'll see hot it looks. What sort of colour would you suggest, and where?

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1379 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 10:05

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David Arthur wrote:

Think I'll keep with the black and white theme to start with Stuke, but I'll see hot it looks. What sort of colour would you suggest, and where?

I'd keep the black and white as much as possible to if it was mine - the black on black FFWD wheels as seen on the Van Nick Aquilo would look spot on as well Big Grin

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posted by stuke [300 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 10:29

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Get thee to www.daveyatescycles.co.uk and build the frame too Smile

posted by steff [81 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 10:29

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David Arthur wrote:

Think I'll keep with the black and white theme to start with Stuke, but I'll see hot it looks. What sort of colour would you suggest, and where?

In principle I like the mono look a well, but once I'd finished I'd be hankering after some colour instead. So, in the interest of being able to swap it out for a different colour with (relative) ease, Fizik saddles currently come bundled (I think) with LizardSkins bar tape - how about picking a colour from those then adding matching bottle cages?

I'll be interested to see how you find the frame - I like them, but have been put off slightly by tales of the evo being so stiff as to eliminate comfort.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2890 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 12:32

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Agree with the others that this is a great idea for a blog - thanks for sharing David! I've recently finished my third self-build (bikes, not frames, sadly) and really enjoy the process, from choosing the parts to having them arrive bit-by-bit and then putting it all together for the first ride.

Amazing frame here too. Keep us posted - looking forward to the next instalment!

posted by step-hent [644 posts]
3rd August 2012 - 15:13

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Warning - Shameless Plug Alert!
At Velotech Cycling we run courses in just this area - we put a lot of time into not only the "how" but equally importantly the "why", which helps if riders are considering doing more of their own repair work as well as the initial build - it's hugely helpful in diagnosing the "real" problem that you need to repair, as opposed to what you may "think" it is ...

We can offer courses in everything from basic wheel building through to frame preparation and both general mechanics as well as manufacturer-specific courses for both the public and the cycle trade.

Thinks - *wink* - it might make a fun installment in your blog, David ...

This week I have mostly been riding a Mondiale in Deda V107 with Campagnolo Super Record 11 ...

posted by velotech_cycling [73 posts]
4th August 2012 - 12:17

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Yep its great building your own bike! Must dust off the Raleigh 531c framed bike I built back in the early 90s for a bit of retro road riding, well if I can still cope with downtube shifters and toe straps that is!

posted by davkt [32 posts]
4th August 2012 - 12:50

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GREAT LOOKING FRAME. HAVE A READ OF ROB PENN'S BOOK, 'ITS ALL ABOUT THE BIKE' ON HOW BUILDING A BIKE CAN BE ALL CONSUMING. MATT ROBERTS OF VEKTAVELOSPORT IN STOKE ON TRENT WAS A MAJOR PLAYER IN HIS PROJECT.

GOOD LUCK!!!

Dave

posted by RALPH 98 [7 posts]
14th August 2012 - 13:43

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Hi!

I am looking for help with the right frame sizing. I am thinking of buying a cannondale supersix.

I am considering buying a supersix 2011 size 56 on Shimano 105. I am 185 cm tall, leg length (from crotch to floor) – 88 cm, weight 80 kg. At this time I am using Koga Gentslux size 58 on Ultegra. I would be very grateful for a helping advice weather it is worth to consider a smaller frame (by 2 cm) because the bike is on a considerable sale. I feel good with the current size of my Koga but had to adjust the saddle by putting it a couple of centimeters forward since the top tube was too long for my liking. I never had a carbon frame before, I ride about 2500 km. / year on road – mostly training for MTB, never did road racing but I thought about a solid frame with solid components.

Thanks in advance.

Paweł

posted by Pawel Surmacz [2 posts]
15th August 2012 - 13:22

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Pawel Surmacz wrote:
Hi!

I am looking for help with the right frame sizing. I am thinking of buying a cannondale supersix.

I am considering buying a supersix 2011 size 56 on Shimano 105. I am 185 cm tall, leg length (from crotch to floor) – 88 cm, weight 80 kg. At this time I am using Koga Gentslux size 58 on Ultegra. I would be very grateful for a helping advice weather it is worth to consider a smaller frame (by 2 cm) because the bike is on a considerable sale. I feel good with the current size of my Koga but had to adjust the saddle by putting it a couple of centimeters forward since the top tube was too long for my liking. I never had a carbon frame before, I ride about 2500 km. / year on road – mostly training for MTB, never did road racing but I thought about a solid frame with solid components.

Thanks in advance.

Paweł

Hi Pawel,
I am a shorter than you at 175cm but my leg length is the same. I built a bike using the Evo frame above and I have the 54cm. It is comfortable for me but on the large side of what is acceptable. I could easily have had the 52cm instead. I think a 56cm may be too big for you. The only way to find out is to go to a LBS that sells cannondale and try one out. Otherwise its a lot of money to spend on a bike that might not fit you.

Cheers
Carl

posted by carlgrz [51 posts]
21st August 2012 - 9:59

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