Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cannondale EVO road bike - first impressions

I finally got my new Cannondale EVO road bike built up.

Cannondale EVO team edition frame and fork
Dura Ace - 7900 brakes and derailleurs
KMC X10-SL chain
Dura Ace 7900 pedals
HED Ardennes HR wheels
Specialized Romin PRO saddle
Specialized Classic carbon bars
FSA K-Force light seatpost
FSA SLK stem
Garmin 500

It replaces my Cannondale Super Six which probably has about 30,000km on it. To say that this bike is wicked is an understatement. All of the reviews that you have read are correct. This bike is very good. 

My first impressions from one single ride are below....

There are now smooth roads everywhere. The thinline and SAVE seatstays and chainstays just purely eliminate road feedback. I've been on my Flash 26/29 since Jan 2010 and you just forget how good this stuff really is. I mean, the stocker super six hi mod is no slouch in the comfort stakes, but the EVO is on another level.

Stiffness is way better than the 'old' supersix. This is noticable in sprints and out of the saddle hill work. Less flex = more forward progress with less power loss. That's a no brainer.

The geometry is standard Cannondale - you can feel safe taking both your hands off the bars going downhill at 80km/hr (relatively) - no speed wobbles, just confidence inspiring stuff.

I actually believe that the EVO does descend better than the super six. This is down to the road feedback suppression - you get less feedback that your mental state has to deal with so you go faster. Less buzz through the bars and the saddle, so you keep pushing harder and faster until you actually get some feedback - by this stage you look down at the speedo and you are 3-5km/hr faster swooping downhill.

Cornering is sexy. When I leave home I have 2 left handers (my favorite type) going downhill in the first 200m. I had Bon Jovi rocking through the headphones and I could still hear myself say 'Whoa!'. Going down Stromlo (road) it just is a bunch of turns left and right. A couple of them are the sorts of corners where you might dab the brakes a smidgen just before the corners. On the EVO I swear I was pedalling in more to the corner, and not even getting my fingers closer to the brakes - there are some new benchmarks to be set.

I did 6 stromlo climbs this morning, - standard Tuesday ride - the number changes but the style doesn't - seated big chainring grinders at Threshold - fun stuff. The conditions were not 'fast' conditions - ie it was cold and a bit still, and the air was a bit dry. But pleasingly, the last one was the fastest (and they are within 10% of each other - this is standard) - I think what is happening here is that I am not getting accumulated fatigue through the body over the course of the total time going up and down the hill. It is really subtle, but as a racer I am happy to grab a bunch of 1-2% gains here and there - there are no more 10% gains to be made by me legally. This is exactly why the Flash is a weapon off road - less acumulated fatigue.

So with 3 hours and 90kms done on the first ride - I really love this bike. I have got to be one of the luckiest guys in the world. This is living the dream!!


Martin said...

Hi James

Thx for the quick review - makes me happy that I am getting my own Supersix Evo this week...

James Downing said...

you will not go wrong with this bike. You will be the weakest link!!

Anonymous said...

Never left a post before but as i have a Cannondale EVO dura ace which i love to bits i think its time. Well, just been beasting myself daily on it and what a bike! Digging in out of the saddle on punchy climbs is where its at for me. Every ride is the last 10k of a Northern Classic, right on the bubble. Happy days. Beautiful bike