Since it’s launch back in 2011, Cannondale’s Supersix carbon women’s road bike has gained legions of fans, scoring consistently highly when put through its paces in numerous publications.
Though lightweight, stiff and well regarded, the barrier to many has always been the price and the lack of a women’s specific model. So this year, Cannondale have launched the more moderately priced and better value Supersix Evo, with both men’s and women’s road bike models coming in well under £2000.
The new women’s road bike machine features the same ‘BallisTec’ carbon and tube shapes as it’s pricier sibling, with a large down tube, ultra skinny seat stays and a tapered head tube.
It’s very lightweight, coming in at just 900g, which makes it one of the lightest women’s road bike frames on the market. A 30mm press-fit bottom bracket adds stiffness and a tapered steerer tube gives good handling.
The bike is available in one colour; black with aquamarine and white highlights and it looks suitably smart. It’s available in five sizes, from 44 – 56 cm, so there should be one to suit most of us.
In order to keep the price down, the women’s road bike makes use of a more economical mixed Shimano 105 and Shimano Tiagra groupset, external cable routing and a compact FSA Gossamer crank. Shimano R501s wheels are cheap and cheerful but perfectly fine for winter training and getting the miles in.
The compact chainset is made up of a 105 derailleur up front with the 10-speed 12-28 rear cassette coming courtesy of Shimano’s cheaper Tiagra range. It did feel a bit clunky when sweeping across and shifting down more than one gear at a time.
But on the plus side, the gear shifters and brake levers are Shimano 105 and operate smoothly. The reach adjust shims are a nice touch, bringing the levers within reach of small hands.
Geometry is female specific, with our shorter reach taken into consideration and sizes based on the front-end stack height. I’m about 5’7″ and went for the 52cm, which fitted me very well. Stand over height is lower than the men’s version.
A fairly short head-tube makes for a race-ready position and all though the geometry is geared towards racing, the riding position didn’t feel that aggressive, in fact it felt incredibly comfortable and I was perfectly content riding for many hours.
The women’s road bike felt balanced and extremely stable, whichever position I chose to ride in. It was pretty amazing really; when switching between riding on the hoods and the drops, I found I could hover in any position and still feel perfectly balanced and at ease. Stand-up sprinting on the drops felt particularly good.
The Speed Save fork makes use of the BallisTec carbon as well, with directional lay-up and off set dropouts helping to absorb shock and the tapered steerer building in strength and stiffness.
The fork comes in two different rakes, based on frame size, which helps stop toe overlap on wheel. I felt that the fork added a little comfort, which coupled with the SPEED SAVE Micro-Suspension Rear Stays ’ flex zones help deliver a smooth ride.
It’s such an effortless ride I regularly found myself tanking along without realising how fast I was going. Clearly the women’s road bike combination of well thought out geometry and cleverly laid carbon enhances the performance of this machine in a subtle yet very effective way.
The bike was like a stealth speed machine, an unassuming, laid back winner who surprises you at the finishing line. Sometimes I wished it felt as fast as it actually was; I could be going hell for leather and it seemed like a walk in the park.
The finishing kit comes courtesy of Cannondale’s own C3 range. The bars are Cannondale’s women’s specific ‘compact wing bars’ with a narrow profile and shallow drop. Cannondale’s C3 alloy stem and seatpost and a women’s Ergo saddle complete the look that all do their respective jobs well.
– Easy to ride
– Sneakily fast
– Not really a con, but, I did sometimes wish it actually felt faster!
Cannondale have made a very bold claim with this bike, calling it ‘the most advanced women’s road race machine ever made.’ While I can’t truly verify this claim, I certainly found it felt suitably fast and thoroughly enjoyed putting it through it’s paces whenever it stopped raining for more than two minutes.
What Cannondale say about the Supersix Evo Women’s 105 Women’s Road Bike:
THE MOST ADVANCED WOMEN’S ROAD RACE MACHINE EVER MADE.
The best bike in the world, re-engineered for women. With its women’s specific geometry and sublime balance of feathery weight and unmatched stiffness, strength and comfort, the SuperSix EVO Women’s is ready for racers small to tall.
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