My new ride: the Cannondale Supersix Evo lives and breathes

Ready for inspection. David puts the finishing touches to his SuperSix Evo

by David Arthur   August 24, 2012  

Here she is; isn't she a beauty? After much Allen key wielding and dirt on the fingernails and just a little bit of sweat, I've finally got the Cannondale SuperSix Evo finished.

It’s been a while since I last built a bike and, to be honest, I forget just how much fun the whole process is. From carefully sourcing all the right components to then seeing the bike slowly (very slowing, in this case) take shape, gives you such a good deal of satisfaction.

And, I’ve realised, an odd emotional attachment. Because you've built the bike up yourself from a pile of bits, you develop a stronger relationship with it. Even the nicest complete bike bought from a bike shop can't match the feeling you get when you build your own bike.

Which is probably part of the reason so many people do it. It's also because you've handled every part with your own fingers, oil and grease staining your hands as you carefully and lovingly fit every part in its right place. From fixing the rear derailleur in place, fitting the chain, threading the cables, cutting the outers to just the right length, wrapping the bar tape, you know your bike inside and out.

The Evo was an mostly an easy build, and is an example of how wonderfully simple modern road bikes have become. Bottom brackets are now so easy to install, the SRAM Press-Fit30 bottom bracket on the Evo comprises cartridge bearings encased in a resin shell. A headset press is used to slide them smoothly into the carbon bottom bracket. Most people won't have a headset press - I didn't - but I borrowed one from a friend (thanks Jon!).

This, and fitting the lower bearing race to the forks, are the only part in the bike build that require workshop tools that most (even not so well-equipped) home mechanics won't have. Most friendly bike shops will usually do the task in return for a small payment (donuts or cookies sometimes work).

As for the rest of the bike, the only tools I needed were a selection of Allen keys and a cable cutter. I used an old Park Tool set I bought yonks ago. I'd recommend investing in a set of quality cable cutters, it's a tool you'll get lots of use out of over the years (well, less so if you go electronic I suppose).

With the Evo built, all I need to do is actually ride it. I'll let you know how I get on. Oh, I should mention that the build as you see it in the photos isn't the final – I've pinched the wheels and tyres from another bike for now. And I'm not sure about the bottle cage.

The build in full:

  • Frame/fork: Cannondale Supersix Evo 56cm
  • Groupset: SRAM Force
  • Wheels: Shimano RS80
  • Tyres: Michelin PRO4 Endurance
  • Handlebars: Ritchey WCS Logic II handlebar
  • Stem: Ritchey WCS C260
  • Bar tape: Pro white tape
  • Seatpost: USE Alien carbon
  • Saddle: Prologo Scratch Nack
  • Pedals: Speedplay

So, what do you think?

7 user comments

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Looking good, for a high-end race bike it looks quite subdued, which is a good thing in my book.

I notice you didn't list a torque wrench as an essential tool? I would definitely recommend one on a bike replete with carbon bits and bobs.

I have my own build to do this weekend. I've refurbished a Surly Pacer frame, and will be building it up as a fast commuter/winter bike with mudguards, 25s and 105. If there's any cricket on the radio while I build it over copious amounts of tea I'll be in heaven.

posted by thereandbackagain [147 posts]
24th August 2012 - 9:15

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I've got well calibrated fingers!

That's a good point though, especially where carbon is concerned, using a torque wrench would be wise

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posted by David Arthur [1175 posts]
24th August 2012 - 9:55

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Lovely, hopefully you will get some dry weather this weekend to enjoy it! If it is of any help I've done the same as you with an Evo build and chose to use the Vincero magetic bottles, which retains the understated minimalist approach. I can recommend a set of Smart ENVE wheels too ....

Greg

posted by Sheol [5 posts]
24th August 2012 - 20:30

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Awesome!

As for using a torque wrench with carbon - I've noticed that you would normally feel the point where max torque has been reached, it's where you have to fore to bolt to turn instead of it just turning and while it is not sharp it's a very steep incline in force. I know this as I used a torque wrench afterwards and it was spot on.

Although sometimes it can be hard to judge in places like stems.

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posted by koko56 [297 posts]
25th August 2012 - 11:24

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Great looking machine, David.

You're running the same bar/shifter combo as I have on one of my bikes. Did you find that with the bars at the angle they're at, to get the brake hoods level, you had to clamp the shifter higher on the bar than the roughed up area intended for clamping?

Also, re the bottle cage, I recon the elite custom in black & white would be a perfect match!

posted by lows100 [21 posts]
28th August 2012 - 12:16

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Looking very good indeed. I wonder if you'll be able to offer opinions of how it rides objectively, or will you just be raving about it (as I would!) because you chose/built it and therefore it's ace?!

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2522 posts]
28th August 2012 - 15:10

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I love my Supersix Evo Team with the new spider rings. I had the SRAM Red swapped out when I ordered the bike for Campy SR and have had zero problems. Unfortunately I had horrible problems with the FSA K-Force stem and replaced it with a FSA OS99 CSI stem which is much stiffer and easier to adjust as it doesn't have the weird face plate bolts that face the rider rather than the road ahead. She rides beautifully and I couldn't be happier.

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posted by mike_ibcyclist [36 posts]
21st November 2012 - 21:35

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