Cannondale unveiled the brand new SuperSix Evo right before the Tour de France, so this was our first chance to get a proper close look at the new race bike for the EF Education First squad.
This actual bike belongs to Alberto Bettiol, the surprise winner of this year’s Tour of Flanders cobbled classic. No cobbles in this year’s race, and he’ll likely be playing domestique duties for GC hopeful Tejay van Garderen.
You’ll know if you read my first look story from the launch that the SuperSix Evo has undergone a major redesign. Out goes the traditional appearance and in comes an aero optimised frame with a truncated profile down tube and dropped stays, which also serve to increase the comfort, in tandem with a new seatpost and increased tyre clearance.
The Evo can be had with disc or rim brakes. Looking around the EF Education First team trucks, we saw a fairly even split between the two braking systems. There were also SystemSix aero bikes racked up as well, so clearly the rider can choose not just the frame but also the brakes.
Alberto Bettiol stands 5’11” and chooses to ride a 54cm frame. That’s in keeping with the trend for pros to ride a size smaller frame to get the lower stack they want, and then fit a long stem and slide the saddle back on the rails to get the desired reach. I’m the same height as Bettiol and ride a 56cm Cannondale. His saddle height is 75cm, from bottom bracket to saddle top, which is half a centimetre lower than my saddle height.
The frame is dressed up with a selection of components from different brands. There are Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifters, brakes and derailleurs,
Cannondale’s own Hollowgram SiSL2 crankset is fitted with FSA chainrings, with Bettiol choosing a 53/38t combination paired to an 11-30t cassette. That smaller chainring and wider range cassette are unusual but we did spot a few pro bikes with similar setups. Why? It’s clearly aimed at providing slightly easier gears for the tough stages in this year’s Tour.
Power2Max provide the power meter and you can see the large rubber cover that protects the battery.
FSA’s Vision brand supplies handlebars and stems for the team, and the rider is able to choose from a wide range of options. Bettiol’s bike was fitted with an SL-K stem and carbon fibre K-Force handlebar, the former measuring 13cm long and the latter 42cm wide measured centre-to-centre.
Vision also provides the Metron carbon fibre tubular wheels fitted with Vittoria Corsa 26mm wide tyres.
Integration was a key part of new SuperSix Evo, with the company designing a two-piece handlebar and stem that routes all cables and hoses into the new enlarged head tube. But the switch to rim brakes and also Vision handlebar and stem makes this internal routing redundant, so Cannondale plugs the hole with a plastic cover.
EF Education First is sponsored by Prologo and Bettiol opts for a Nago Evo with unique 3D polymer 'volcanoes' that aim to improve grip and apparently also improve airflow and cooling.
Notice how the saddle is pushed right back on the rails? That is something noticed on a lot of pro bikes at this year’s Tour, and evidence of a rider stepping down to a smaller frame size. You can also see the two marks applied by the team mechanic to ensure the fit measurements are perfect.
I asked Bettiol about his new Cannondale SuperSix Evo, joking that he would let him win Flanders by an even bigger margin next year, and he told me it felt faster and stiffer than the old bike, but interestingly he felt the old bike was comfier. That surprised me because improved comfort was one of the key aims with the new bike.
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.