Just when you think you can’t get any lighter and still be practical, Cannondale goes and unveils their 2012 SuperSix Evo, a 695g frame that uses a new carbon molding technique developed by their director of technology, Peter Denk.
Denk, who first applied his carbon wizardry on the mountain bike side of things with the recent Flash and Jekyll models, created a new construction and layup method that let them drop some serious weight while giving it higher impact resistance and fatigue strength than their CAAD9 aluminum road frame (verified by independent testing at the Zedler Fahrradtechnik in Germany). The testing showed it to have the highest stiffness to weight ratio of similarly lightweight frames from Specialized, Storck, Trek, Canyon, Cervelo and others.
So, it’s light and strong, but is it fast? Jump past the break for more pics and info…
In order to drop weight, Denk used a new EPS core (same foam as in your bike helmet) with a detailed layup schedule to eliminate any extra or misplaced material. Unlike most carbon frames, the 2012 SuperSix Evo forgoes bonded-in dropouts and forms the entire rear triangle as a single piece. This allows them to use continuous fibers throughout, which saves weight and increases strength. How? The continuous fibers make it stronger and the tubes can be thinner because they’re not reinforced to accept bonded in pieces. Cannondale says the average dropout weighs about 34g; these new ones come in at 17g.
The frame incorporates a new version of their SAVE stays called Speed SAVE MicroSuspension. Borrowing principles from F1 racing (which, unrelated but worth mentioning is going green for 2013 w/ 4-cylinder turbo hybrids!!!) where suspension is more for traction than comfort, the Speed SAVE stays allow for a bit of vertical flex to help keep the wheel on the ground. The compliance comes from a flattened central section on the chainstays and seatstays. The fork is also designed with Speed SAVE by giving it a longer, shallower curve from crown to dropout, allowing for more fore-aft flex (the axle is setback a bit to keep racey handling, though…most visible on the Team model at top). Cannondale says the result is better traction and power transfer on rough roads, and we say it may make it one of the more comfortable race bikes out there.
But is it fast? Given the trending toward aero designs on race bikes, Cannondale’s response is a bit different. Whereas the Specialized Venge and Scott Foil use shaped tubes to create a specifically aerodynamic shape, the Cannondale SuperSix Evo simply slims down it’s frontal profile by using smaller diameter tubes.
The headtube skips the fatter 1.5″ lower for a 1.25″ taper. The downtube has been slimmed down 20% and the fork by 11% over the 2011 model.
The 2012 Cannondale SuperSix Evo makes its professional debut beneath the Liquigas-Cannondale team at the 2011 Giro d’Italia, which starts Saturday, May 7.
As for you, there will be several models available. Not shown is the SuperSix Evo Ultimate, which gets the virtually unpainted 695g frame, DT Swiss RRC carbon tubular wheels, Zero G brakes and SRAM Red to come in at an amazingly light 10.8lbs (4.9kg)!
- Team – Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR, SRAM Red – 727g frame (same frame, but painted) – 14.11lbs (6.4kg)
- Di2 – Mavic Wheels – 727g frame – 14.11lbs (6.4kg)
- Dura-Ace – Mavic Wheels – 750g frame (same frame, different paint)
- SRAM Red – Ksryium Elite wheels – 750g frame
The SRAM Red model is the “entry level” model and will be around €4,300. No word on pricing for the rest yet.
Think this is as light as it gets? At 695g for the frame, it already bests Cervelo’s R5ca by a gram wresting the lightest production frame title. But Cannondale produced a 630g (1.388lb) 56cm prototype that passed all of their in-house and independent strength testing. You may see it in the future as a special edition, we would never rule something like that out, but for now, Cannondale says it would simply be too expensive.
Hmmm, I wonder if the winner of their Tour de France contest gets one of these new ones?