Welcome to RBA
's second installment from the 2012 Press Camp. Our coverage continues with some new bikes and parts from Cannondale
, who continues to maintain a big presence at Bike PressCamp. This year, apart from providing attendees with an enormous demo fleet of road and mountain bikes, the Connecticut-based brand unveiled two buzz-worthy bikes, as well as an all-new crank that epitomizes the bike industry's "lighter and stiffer" philosophy.
Press Camp Report # 1
CANNONDALE UNVEILS 2013 SUPERX CYCLOCROSS BIKE
What do you get when you combine Cannondale's bike-making prowess with input from a multi-time national cyclocross champion? The new, 2013 SuperX cyclocross race bike, of course! Designed in conjunction with American cyclocross legend and all-around nice guy, Tim Johnson, the SuperX is a carbon fiber 'cross racer released last year. And after Johnson put in some extensive test work with disc brakes, Cannondale saw fit to bequeath the 2013 SuperX with mechanical disc brakes from Avid (don't forget that Avid is poised to release a hydraulic disc later in the summer). The top-of-the-line SuperX will be built with a mix of SRAM's new Red shifters, brakes and derailleurs, an FSA SL-K crankset and a set of Stan's newest Alpha 340 disc wheels mounted with Schwalbe tires.
And like some other high-end bikes in Cannondale's catalog, the SuperX Disc features some sweet custom, bright green graphic details on many of the parts. Retail price is set at $6100. The SuperX with also be available in other build options that include Shimano Ultegra Di2, mechanical Ultegra and SRAM Rival.
The Cannondale SuperX Hi-MOD Disc cyclocross bike's most significant new features are the radial mount disc brakes from Avid. Six frame sizes will be available.
The new SuperX features a mixed drivetrain with new SRAM Red shifters and derailleurs, along with a custom-colored SL-K crankset from FSA with 46/36 chainrings.
Cannondale brought in some technology from its high-end road bikes when designing the SuperX. The brand's signature Speed Save tube shapes and carbon lay-ups are intended to provide a significantly more compliant ride. Both the chainstays and seatstays are quite flat, allowing them to deflect plenty of road chatter (and in the SuperX's case, plenty of 'cross race course chatter).
The custom colors continue with a bright green and black saddle from Fizik. This is the Tundra 2, one of Fizik's popular designs originally intended for mountain bike use.
CANNONDALE'S TOP RACE BIKE, NOW AVAILABLE IN A WOMEN'S VERSION
Since its release back in May 2011, Cannondale's SuperSix EVO has become a tried-and-true race bike, thanks to such pro riders as Liquigas' Peter Sagan, winner of five stages at this year's Amgen Tour of California. We even chose the SuperSix EVO as one of RBA's "bikes of the year" back in our 2011-12 Editor's Choice issue [RBA, January 2012]. Now, Cannondale has created a SuperSix EVO for the better half. The brand-new SuperSix EVo Women's race bike features all of the same technologies as the standard EVO, with some modified geometry, carbon lay-ups and components to benefit the female contingent of racers.
The SuperSix EVO Women's fork is similar to the one found on the standard EVO, but with some slight variances in offset and rake. This new design is intended to provide the bike with a bit more stable handling and confident handling. The dropouts can still be considered "offset," but only just so, and are not nearly as set far back as those found on the standard EVO.
While all of the EVO Women's models will feature women's specific components, the top-of-the-line EVO Women's Hi-MOD will come with a Fizik Arione Donna saddle. This design is actually very similar to the Fizik Arione Versus saddle, with a fair amount of padding and a pressure relief channel that runs down the center.
Aside from the bikes, Cannondale's biggest unveiling at Bike PressCamp came in the form of a radical new crank. Dubbed the Hollowgram SiSL2, the new design is said to be the lightest and stiffest mass-produced crank ever. As with previous Hollowgram crankarms, the new SiSL2 version features two halves that are CNC-machined as one piece, then bonded together, albeit with less material in the final product compared to previous renditions.
No doubt the real eye-catcher of the set is the new "Spidering" chainring design. The two chainrings feature 10 arms in a radial pattern and are actually a one-piece, 3D-forged design, which eliminates bolts and superfluous material. Cannondale claims the design prevents most any amount of deflection, resulting in an ultra-stiff chainring. The new crankset will be available in both Standard (53/39) and Compact (50/34) gearing, in crankarm lengths from 165mm to 175mm, and will come on several build options of the 2013 men's EVO model, as well. Claimed weight for the crank? Cannondale says 483 grams (with chainrings and spindle).
FIRST RIDE: CANNONDALE WOMEN'S SUPERSIX EVO - During my time at Bike PressCamp, I had the opportunity to ride the all-new Cannondale SuperSix EVO Women's race bike. My demo model wasn't one of the new bike's three production builds, but because I've thoroughly enjoyed some time on the standard (i.e. Men's) EVO, I was excited to see how the new Women's model differed. The demo bike featured a mix drivetrain of SRAM Force shifters and derailleurs, along with a new rendition of Cannondale's Si crankarms mated to FSA chainrings (NOT the new SiSL2 setup also unveiled at PressCamp, although certain EVO Women's builds will feature this).
Because Bike PressCamp takes place in Park City, Utah, there's no shortage of beautiful scenery and plenty of steep climbs. I had the pleasure of riding a 30-mile loop around Park City with Cannondale's Women's product manager, Lyriel Jordan, along with a pair of fit and feisty female journalists. I had ridden a Men's EVO the day before, so its characteristics were fresh in my mind. And while a single ride doesn't constitute a thorough test, I can say that my first impressions of the Women's model are positive. Similar to the men's version, the EVO Women's bike provided a stiff yet compliant ride. The steering was light, as a race bike's should be, but perhaps a touch more stable than the men's model.
Be sure to look for more information on Cannondale's 2013 line in an upcoming issue of Road Bike Action magazine, and check back here soon for more coverage of Bike PressCamp!