The current-generation Cannondale SuperSix EVO is quite possibly one of the most awarded race bikes on the market. Launched in 2012, it has been piloted by some of the top cyclists in the sport — including perennial green jersey champion, Peter Sagan. So, when the opportunity to review one came my way, I was eager to see if I felt just as enamored by the EVO as others have been. As luck would have it, Cannondale launched the 2016 SuperSix EVO in the middle of my testing, so if you are looking at the current EVO for a screaming deal at your local shop, read on.
2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO Hi-Mod Features:
- Hi-Mod carbon fiber for an ultralight and stiff frame
- BallisTec layup for added strength
- Speed SAVE micro-suspension rear stays and fork
- BB30 bottom bracket
- External cable routing for derailleur cables, internal rear brake cable
- Tapered head tube for stiffness
- Aggressive geometry to satisfy the most demanding riders
- Frame Weight: 860 grams (weighed, 56cm)
- Complete Weight: 14.1 lbs (as shown)
- Price: $3500 (frame only)
All-out speed (with comfort and fun)
I was able to build the EVO up with a full SRAM Force 22 kit, Ritchey WCS cockpit and ultra-fast Zipp 202 Firecrest clinchers. The resulting package is barely over 14 lbs and gives the EVO the ability to shine in the mountains. Cannondale has chosen to stick with external cable routing (for both the current and upcoming 2016 models), with the exception of the rear brake cable. Sticking to their guns that maintenance is easier with no aerodynamic tradeoff, Cannondale stands with the Focus Izalco as one of the few bikes that buck the internal cable routing trend. I can respect that, but do like the looks of internal cables.
The EVO means business and has made its name on some of the most demanding courses in the world. As such, this is a purebred race bike with aggressive geometry and an ultra-stiff chassis. But, Cannondale utilizes their SAVE technology that gives this race machine a hefty amount of energy-saving and fatigue-reducing comfort. Micro-suspension is completely legit as this bike really does smooth out road chatter at all speeds.
Because the geometry is racy, I knew I’d have to go with a zero setback post and a few spacers under the stem. Some will scoff at the stack of spacers, but I know my fit and the EVO delivers for less aggressive riding positions just as well as those who get super-low in the cockpit. Steering precision and front end stiffness remained solid under all conditions throughout my testing. I will say that the topcap did slowly wiggle loose during my testing — not something I’ve seen to this extent before. A bit of carbon paste and re-torquing has taken care of things.
Since my build was entirely custom, I opted for a full Ritchey WCS Carbon cockpit — including a C260 stem and Evo Curve bars. That combination is wicked-stiff laterally while reducing chatter.
Riding the EVO with a set of Zipp 202’s is like a the one-two punch of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. They are both great individually, but when paired together, something magic happens. Certainly, the 202’s will turn just about any bike into a dream machine, but the EVO stands alone and will perform just as admirably with a lesser set of hoops.
Bring on the mountains
My first ride on the EVO included a good little climb called South Suncrest. This 1,100 ft. climb isn’t too steep with 5% average grade over the course of about 4 miles. It’s a classic around here and perfect for breaking in this climbing machine. Everything just clicked for me as I made my way up the mountain. Once to the top, with an admirable time, I turned around and hussled the descent.
While my first descent on this bike resulted in my second best time, I’ll be straight up with you that my cockpit needed some tweaking before I achieved 100% confidence. After getting things dialed further over the course of my testing, I’ve become much more comfortable on the descents.
I’ll tab the EVO as a moderately-quick handler. It’s not twitchy at high speeds and responds really well, but doesn’t whip around quite as adeptly as the Orbea Orca I’ve been testing alongside the EVO.
I don’t shy away from mountainous terrain and have plenty at my disposal. My favorite climb is up the American Fork Alpine Loop to the summit, which is a continuous 3000 ft. climb that averages 5% gradient over 11 miles. It is a long grinder with some punchy sections. The EVO has made that climb many times this summer and every time it has responded well, both in and out of the saddle, and has adeptly handled the sinuous descent through quaking aspens and mature evergreens. This really is one fantastic ride.
Rounding things out
I’ll put the EVO in an elite category for ride quality. As far as all-rounders go, this bike has just the right mix of comfort, power and handling. For me, though, I wish it had a sloping top tube with just a little taller head tube (maybe 10-15mm) to allow me to reduce the spacers slightly.
Internet pundits and online forum addicts are always quick to dump on BB30 bottom brackets. But, after 500 miles, I’ve got no complaints and no squeaks whatsoever. Perhaps my local shop, Timpanogos Cyclery, knows just how to install them because I’ve had zero issues and nothing but smooth spinning.
Tire clearance is a bit of a challenge with this frame. Yes, it can take 25mm rubber, but not all 25mm rubber. I initially set it up with a pair of Continental GP4000S tires, but the rear tire rubbed slightly. I then swapped those for a pair of Zipp Tangente Course 25mm tires and have had no rubbing and no issues whatsoever. So, choose your tires wisely or just stick with 23mm.
- Excellent compliance
- Deceptively stiff bottom bracket (looks underbuilt, but is obviously not)
- Adept handling
- Climbs like a beast
- External cable routing simplifies maintenance
- Hi-Mod frameset is very light
- Relatively inexpensive for a top-shelf frameset
- Step on it and it goes
- Not all 25mm tires will clear the chainstay (Continental Grand Prix 4000S do not clear, but Zipp Tangente 25s do)
- Not the snappiest of color schemes (kind of true with all Cannondale models though)
- BB30 can be tricky to set up, but I’ve had no problems
- Geometry is pretty racy — good for some riders, but bad for others
The Bottom Line: 2015 Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod
With a stocked trophy case of awards already, the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod has lived up to the hype. I’ll echo what others have said as the EVO has spanked everything I’ve thrown its way. Long alpine ascents and descents are just what this bike was made for, but it’s also wicked-fast on long, flat terrain. If you’ve looking at a 2015 EVO for a killer deal at your local shop, you won’t be disappointed.
Buy Now: Visit Your Local Cannondale Dealer
The 2015 Cannonade SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod remains one of the best all-rounders in the peloton. It is feathery, fast and smooth. Climb all day and descend with confidence -- just be prepared for an aggressive fit.
- Ride Quality
- Pedaling Efficiency