Cyclocross

Tested: Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO CX – Bicycling

Takeaway: Cannondale took the geometry of its excellent Super X cyclocross bike and merged it with the aerodynamics and looks of the SuperSix Evo road bike, mixed in 45mm of tire clearance to make a bike that can win a nine-hour gravel race or a sixty-minute cross race.

    • It’s basically a SuperSix Evo with wide tires—which is awesome.
    • Ai rear dropout spacing means you cannot share wheels between other non-Ai spaced road, gravel, and cyclocross bikes.
    • Force CX1 mechanical feels dated, but it’s the perfect groupset for cyclocross racers looking to balance cost and performance.

    Dan Chabanov

    NOTE: The bike was photographed without stock wheels because I wanted to test the full tubular cyclocross feeling. Sorry! – D.C.

    Price: $4,000
    Weight: 18.5lbs (claimed)


    Cannondale SuperSix EVO CX Build Details

    Style: Cyclocross or Gravel Race Bike
    Wheel Size: 700c
    Fork: SuperSix Evo CX Carbon, SAVE, integrated crown race, 12x100mm Speed Release thru-axle, flat mount disc, internal routing, 1-⅛” to 1-½”, 55mm offset
    Frame: SuperSix Evo CX Carbon, internal cable routing w/ Switchplate, 12x142mm Speed Release thru-axle, SAVE, PF30-83 Ai, flat mount disc, integrated seatpost binder
    Drivetrain: Sram Force 1, 11-speed
    Cranks: Cannondale 1, BB30a, OPI SpideRing
    Cassette: SRAM PG-1170, 11-36T, 11-speed
    Brakes: SRAM Force 1 Hydraulic Disc, 160mm (front)/140mm (rear) Centerline rotors
    Wheels: Front: Formula CL-712 Hub, 12x100mm thru-axle/Rear: Formula RXC-400, 12x142mm DT Swiss R470 DB Tubeless Ready Rims, 28 hole
    Tires: Vittoria Terreno Mix TNT, 700 x 33c, Tubeless Ready
    Saddle: Fizik New Aliante R5, 150mm wide, S-alloy rails
    Seatpost: HollowGram 27 SL KNOT, Carbon, 2 bolt clamp, 330mm, 0mm offset all sizes
    Handlebar: Cannondale 2, 6061 alloy, Compact
    Stem: Cannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 7º


    Cannondale’s cyclocross bike, the Super X, has been so good for so long that it backed Cannondale into a corner. Cannondale could either keep making the same fantastic cross bike at the risk of having it look increasingly dated, or it could change it and potentially mess with a really good thing. Looking at the new SuperSix EVO CX, you might assume that Cannondale has chosen the latter but put the geometry charts side by side, and you would be hard-pressed to spot the difference. It took me a while to find it—it’s the seat tube angle. On the new bike, it’s around 1º slacker. Other than that, it’s the same Super X we know and love, even if from a distance, you could confuse it for the SuperSix EVO road bike.

    Dan Chabanov

    A big part of the Super X redesign was prompted by the explosion of gravel racing, at which the previous bike was quite successful (see Ted King winning Unbound Gravel on a SuperX in 2018). While the aerodynamic tube shapes lifted from the EVO road platform will not hurt the bike’s cyclocross performance, they will certainly help more significantly in gravel racing, where riders often spend many miles fighting the wind alone or in small groups. The increased tire clearance (up from 40mm to 45mm) might, again, be aimed at the gravel racing crowd while also resulting in added mud clearance (13mm per side with UCI legal 33mm tires) for the cyclocrossers.

    Dan Chabanov

    Dan Chabanov

    It’s hard to make a bike that’s good at two different things. Especially when those two things are as different as a 60-minute cross race and a 200-mile gravel race. Winning both was something the previous Super X was no stranger to, and the new SuperSix EVO CX only improves on that formula.


    Bike Family

    Currently, Cannondale is offering the new bike in two versions, a CX variant (that we tested) and an SE build aimed towards gravel riders or anyone looking for a fast bike with ample tire clearance. The CX version will retail for $4,000 with a SRAM Force CX1 drivetrain. While an 11-speed mechanical groupset might seem dated, Force CX1 has been a reliable performer. By choosing it here, Cannondale helps ensure broader compatibility for racers potentially upgrading from the older Super X.

    Dan Chabanov

    The SE build (priced at $5,000) features a 2x SRAM Rival AXS 12-speed drivetrain and wider, 40c Vittoria Terreno Dry tires. Essentially Cannondale is saying, “If your main focus is gravel, then the SE is for you and cyclocross friends; you’ll want the CX version.” Both use the same frameset, so with some slight parts modifications and tire changes, you could easily use the CX build to ride gravel or vice versa.


    What’s New And What Stays The Same

    The headline-grabber on the new SuperSix Evo CX is the redesigned frame and fork. While the previous Super X fork could be described as slender, the new fork looks stout, with a massive crown and fork legs set wide enough apart to safely clear a 45mm tire.

    Dan Chabanov

    The new frame borrows almost everything from Cannondale’s Evo road frame. With truncated aero tubing throughout the main triangle, dropped seat stays, and the same D-shaped HollowGram KNOT seatpost from the road version of the EVO (replacing the previously round, 25.4mm diameter seatpost used on the Super X). Additionally, there is now a third bottle cage bolt on the down tube, allowing riders to run a single water bottle lower on the frame. Presumably, this would help with aerodynamics, but it has the added benefit of letting me cleanly shoulder the bike with a bottle cage attached.

    Dan Chabanov

    Other frame standards remain the same as the outgoing Super X, with a BB30a bottom bracket and Ai offset rear wheel spacing. Because it’s Cannondale, I know my lament for the lack of an English threaded bottom bracket will fall on deaf ears, but it’s worth noting. Talking about the Ai offset part, Cannondale says that shifting the rear hub and drivetrain 6mm to the right allows for super short chainstays without any of the usual compromises. Cannondale also claims that Ai offset results in a rear wheel that is dramatically stiffer due to even spoke tension and angles on both sides. I can’t confirm these claimed benefits in practice based on my experience testing many different cyclocross bikes. So fundamentally, my experience with Ai offset comes down to it being a weird standard that keeps riders from swapping wheels between bikes that should all be interchangeable.

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    On the other hand, existing Super X owners will be able to keep using their existing quiver of Ai spaced cyclocross wheels. But new customers could potentially be passing over the SuperSix EVO CX / SE in favor of a bike that allows them to easily use all the road wheels they already own without having to re-dish them to Ai offset. This is a bit of a shame because it’s a really, really good bike.

    Dan Chabanov

    The SRAM Force CX1 drivetrain that Cannondale chose to use on the EVO CX really needs no introduction. It’s a reliable performer with good ergonomics. It’s honestly perfect on a cyclocross bike that will get raced, even if it feels like SRAM has abandoned its mechanical drivetrains in favor of ones that go beep boop. The only part of the bike that I could really complain about are the stock wheels, which aren’t bad, just decisively average— with no-frills hubs and spokes laced up to DT Swiss rims—, but which easily set up tubeless. They make for an excellent training wheelset for more experienced cyclocross racers or a great starting point set for folks looking to try cross racing out for the first time.


    Ride Impressions

    While riding over to my usual cyclocross practice spot, I had to keep reminding myself that I was on a cross bike. It was intuitive and responsive in the same way I would expect a well-designed road bike to be. To understand what makes the EVO CX a standout, you’ll need to push it at race pace for a few laps. Sprinting out of turns, it responds immediately to pedal input thanks to the short chainstays (which carry over from the Super X). Flowing through corners at speed, it’s remarkable how well the front end holds a line. The steering is smooth, precise, and reliable without being twitchy or prone to oversteer.

    Dan Chabanov

    On steep, gnarly, and rough terrain, the bike shines even brighter. This is where the long-proven slack front end and short reach of the Super X can be felt. Other cross bikes (like the Canyon Inflite) put more weight over the front wheel, limiting your ability to shift your weight back, making steep descents feel unnerving. The EVO CX might not magically turn you into a downhill champ. Still, its combination of shorter reach and lower bottom bracket can help tackle steep descents more comfortably and hopefully avoid a few trips over the bars.

    Dan Chabanov

    Given that the EVO CX will also be Cannondale’s new gravel race platform, I also did a bit of mixed terrain riding on it as well. Like most cyclocross bikes, the EVO was perfect as a fast gravel bike once larger tires were fitted. It’s very well suited to riders looking for a similar ride experience to their road racing bikes, just with big tires. There aren’t any bag or fender mounts on the EVO, and all of the compliance comes from tire pressure or rider skill. The things that make the EVO an excellent cyclocross bike also make it a great “fast” gravel bike. It’s efficient under hard pedaling and a rocket both up and downhill.

    Dan Chabanov

    It’s worth mentioning that the EVO CX is by no means a “quiver killer.” It’s a cyclocross bike that’s got tire clearance to spare and whose predecessor was used to win arguably the most prestigious gravel race (Unbound Gravel) in 2018. If your version of gravel is more about getting out there, exploring, camping, and being able to tackle whatever terrain you happen to find, I would urge you to look elsewhere (such as Cannondale’s Topstone Lefty). But if your version of gravel is a road race on dirt, this is probably the right gravel bike for you. If you race cyclocross, this is definitely the right bike for you.

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