Cannondale is one of the most desirable and popular road bike brands and if you're in the market for a new bike, its bikes are worth considering, with models covering the full spectrum of riding from racing to touring. Here's a complete overview of the key models in the 2017 range.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod
Cannondale’s flagship carbon fibre race bike has been critically acclaimed bike since it was first launched in 2011. The SuperSix Evo is now in its second generation. Visually it's very similar to the previous bike, but the changes included refined tube shapes, including an aerodynamic down tube, a skinnier fork and narrower 25.4mm seatpost. These improvements benefit stiffness, weight and comfort of the latest Evo.
There are 11 models in the SuperSix Evo range. Five of them are disc brake models and seven are the lighter Hi-Mod versions, which employ a high modulus carbon fibre in the layup. That save a bit of weight, offers slightly better ride refinement, but does mean a bigger price tag.
There are seven Hi-Mod models and four of them have disc brakes. The SuperSix Evo Disc Black Inc. is the range-topping model, and at £10,499.99 it’s one of the most expensive road bikes on the market. It gets that price due to a no-expense parts build including Enve wheels, seatpost, handlebar and stem and a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.
You can also buy the SuperSix Evo Black Inc. without disc brakes for £8,999, with a broadly similar build.
SRAM’s eTap is popular this year and for £6,399.99 Cannondale offers the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod RED Etap. The build is completed with Cannondale’s own wheels, which are tubeless compatible.
The most affordable disc-equipped model is the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod Disc Ultegra (£3,999).
Cannondale SuperSix Evo
The regular SuperSix Evo uses a carbon frame made without the high-modulus fibres, which keeps the cost a bit more modest but does mean a slight weight increase. The range covers a price frame from £1,799.99 up to £3,199.
The SuperSix Evo Ultegra Di2 costs £3,199 and gets Shimano’s second-tier electronic groupset with Mavic Aksium wheels and Cannondale finishing kit.
If you want disc brakes the SuperSix Evo Disc Ultegra £2,799 (a bike we’ve reviewed) gets a thru-axle fork and quick release rear dropout, with Shimano Ultegra brakes and mechs and Cannondale’s own Si crankset.
Coming in well under two grand is the SuperSix Evo 105 (£1,799.99) with the same frame as the other bikes here but with Shimano’s excellent 105 groupset.
Cannondale founded its reputation on aluminium, with Mario Cipollini winning four consecutive stages of the 1999 Tour de France aboard a CAD3 aluminium race bike. It's one of the few brands that still invests time and money in developing an aluminium road bikes, and following the success of the CAAD10, a firm road.cc favourite, it launched the CAAD12 to much fanfare. While it’s better in every department, it has the same tried-and-tested geometry that echoes the SuperSix Evo.
There are five models in the 2017 range priced from £1,399 right up to £3,699, and three of them come with disc brakes.
The range-topping CAAD12 Disc Dura-Ace (£3,699) shows that when you choose an aluminium frame you get a lot more equipment for the money. This bike is a case in point. A Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, 35mm deep carbon clincher tubeless-ready wheels with Schwalbe One 25mm tyres provides a good looking package.
The CAAD12 Ultegra (£1,999) is the most expensive rim braked model in the range. An Ultegra mechanical groupset with Cannondale Hollowgram SI crankset and Mavic Aksium Elite wheels provides a race or sportive ready build.
Propping up the range is the CAAD12 105 (£1,399) and as the name suggests includes a Shimano 105 groupset and reliable Mavic Aksium wheels with matching Yksion Elite 25mm folding tyres.
Cannondale has dropped the old CAAD8 and CAAD10, but has introduced the new CAAD Optimo. It’s a new bike that borrows some of the new technology in the latest CAAD12 but is aimed at offering a slice of the race-bred performance at a more affordable price. Both bikes are built around disc brakes.
There are two models in this new range. The CAAD Optimo Disc Tiagra (£999.99) gets the ball rolling with a Shimano Tiagra groupset with an FSA crankset and Promax mechanical disc brakes.
For another £200 the CAAD Optimo Disc 105 (£1,199.99) upgrades the Tiagra parts to 105 level, and Promax brakes to TRP and lighter Maddux wheels.
The Synapse is Cannondale’s endurance and sportive road bike, the one to choose if you have long rides planned and want a bit more comfort than the SuperSix Evo race bike offers. It’s available with a carbon or aluminium frame, sharing the same key SAVE features aimed at reducing road vibrations, and available with disc or rim brakes.
The Synapse range includes 13 models and covers a price range from £699.99 with a Claris right up to the all-singing Hi-Mod Disc Black Inc. costing a cool £6,999.99.
And that’s where we start. The Hi-Mod Disc Black Inc. (£6,999.99) features a top-end build of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with hydraulic disc brakes and Cannondale’s new Hollowgram HG SL carbon fibre tubeless-ready clincher wheels, and some very nice finishing kit.
The Synapse Carbon Disc 105 (£2,199.99) is the most affordable carbon version with disc brakes. It’s not the high-modulus carbon frame (more expensive carbon fibres shed a bit of frame weight) but it gets all the same distinctive tube shapes regardless, including that hole in the bottom of the seat tube and 25.4mm seatpost. As the name indicates, it’s built with Shimano 105 parts, including the gears and hydraulic disc brakes.
If you’re into disc brakes, your options are a little limited as Cannondale has slowly decreased the rim brake offering during the current Synapse’s lifespan, and indication of the demand for disc brakes on this style of bike. The Synapse Carbon 105 (£1,799.99) is your most expensive rim brake offering, with a Shimano 105 groupset with Cannondale Si chainset and Mavic Aksium wheels and tyres.
The Synapse Claris (£699.99) is your most affordable option, with an aluminium frame, carbon fork and a groupset comprising an FSA Vero chainset and Shimano Claris shifters and mechs.
The most interesting new bike launched in the last few years, the Slate is built around 650b wheels with 42mm tyres and a Lefty suspension fork providing 30mm of bump-absorbing travel. The Slate is the company’s response to the growing adventure bike market. It's designed to be fast on the road but tough enough to tackle dirt paths, gravel tracks and off-road trails.
What Cannondale has produced is an aluminium frame that borrows some tricks from the new CAAD12, with Flat Mount disc tabs, BB30A bottom bracket and fully internal cable and hose routeing. It rolls on 650b rims (slightly smaller than road bike 700c rims) with large volume 42mm tyres, which bring the outside measurement up to that of a 22mm tyre on a 700c rim. The idea is that you benefit from the bigger tyre, with an increased contact patch for more grip, plus extra cushioning for tackling bumpy terrain.
Another reason for going with this wheel size is that it has allowed Cannondale to keep the chainstay length short, so it has retained the desired road bike feel and handling. Stick a big tyre on a 700c rim and you need to lengthen the chainstays to make space for the wider and taller tyres, and that impacts the handling.
Supporting the front is a Lefty Oliver suspension fork. Cannondale has been speccing its mountain bikes with a Lefty suspension fork for over 10 years, and it has adapted the technology to the road. The fork produces just 30mm of suspension, the idea being to allow you to tackle rougher terrain in more comfort than you can on a bike with a rigid fork.
You have a choice of four models, three with the Lefty suspension fork and a fourth with a rigid Lefty fork. The cheapest is the Slate 105 (£2,699.99), with a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset, Cannondale Si BB30A chainset, Cannondale Slate 42mm tyres and Cannondale C3 finishing kit.
Middle of the range is the Slate Ultegra (£ 2,999.99) with, yes you guessed it, a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and Shimano’s R685 hydraulic disc brakes.
At the top is the Slate Force CX1 (£3,199.99), with SRAM’s CX1 single ring drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. It’s using the wide-range 10-42t cassette combined with a 44t chainring. Finishing kit is upgraded to Cannondale C1 Ultralight parts.
To make Slate ownership a little more affordable, Cannondale has introduced the Slate Apex (£1,699.99) which drops the expensive Lefty Oliver suspension fork for a rigid fork. It’s still a unique one-legged design, something Cannondale has been doing for many years, and a SRAM Apex 1x11 groupset provides the gearing and hydraulic brakes.
Cannondale got back into touring bikes last year with the introduction of the Touring range. There are three models to choose from and each is based around a smartformed 6061 aluminium frame with SAVE tube profiles designed to impart the Touring with a little more comfort. Frames are disc-specific and ready for mudguards and racks with loads of eyelets.
The Touring 2 (£1,099.99) we’ve actually tested on road.cc but it now comes with the addition of a rear rack, so you just need to add your own panniers and an adventure awaits you. A Shimano Sora drivetrain is combined with Promax mechanical disc brakes.
Another two hundred pounds gets you the Touring 1 (£1,299.99), with the same frame and fork and a lighter Shimano Tiagra groupset with SRAM BB7 mechanical disc brakes.
Topping out the range is the Touring Ultimate (£2,299.99). Again, it’s the same frame as used throughout this range but you get an 11-speed Shimano Ultegra groupset with RS785 hydraulic disc brakes and tough Schwalbe Marathon Plus SmartGuard tyres.
So that, ladies and gentleman, is the Cannondale road bike range, from pro-tested race bikes to endurance bikes, adventure and touring bikes, something for all tastes and riding styles.
Which one would will you choose?
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.