The Takeaway: With the SuperSix Evo, Cannondale gives riders a choice. The platform comes in two flavors: cyclocross and gravel. The bikes share the same frame and fork, with Cannondale selecting components to best suit the riding needs of each discipline. The SE gets wide tires and 2X drivetrain for fast gravel riding or gravel racing. The CX gets skinny knobbies and 1X for racing cyclocross. Pick the version which best suits your riding style and you will be impressed.
- Separate cyclocross or gravel specific models
- Exceptional handling in steep terrain
- Lots of mud/tire clearance
- Ai offset makes sharing rear wheels with other bikes difficult
Price: $4,000 (CX) / $5,150 (SE)
Weight: 18.5 lb (CX) / 19.5 lb (SE)
Same But Different
Cannondale’s previous cyclocross bike, the SuperX, was so good for so long that it backed the brand into a corner. Cannondale could either keep making the same fantastic 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 and SE, 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 bikes, it’s around 1-degree slacker. Other than that, it’s the same SuperX we know and love, even though from a distance, you could confuse it for the SuperSix Evo road bike.
A big part of the redesign was prompted by the explosion of gravel racing, at which the previous bike was quite successful. 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 races, 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 for the cyclocross racers. 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 to which the previous Super X was no stranger, and the new SuperSix Evo CX and SuperSix Evo SE only improve on that formula.
Riding over to my 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 chainstay length, which carries 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.
On steep and technical terrain, the bike shines even brighter. This is where the slack front end and short reach of the Super X can be felt. Other ’cross bikes put more weight over the front wheel, limiting your ability to shift your weight back, making steep descents feel unnerving. The SuperSix Evo CX might not magically turn you into a downhill champ, but the bike’s combination of shorter reach and lower bottom bracket can help you tackle steep descents more comfortably.
Given that the SuperSix Evo SE is Cannondale’s new gravel race platform, I did a bit of mixed-terrain riding on it. 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 SuperSix Evo SE, and all of the compliance comes from tire pressure or rider skill. The things that make the Evo CX an excellent cyclocross bike also make the Evo SE a great “fast” gravel bike. It’s efficient under hard pedaling and a rocket both up- and downhill.
It’s worth mentioning that the Evo SE and Evo CX are by no means “quiver killers.” They are bikes with tire clearance to spare and whose predecessor was used to win one of the most prestigious gravel races (Unbound Gravel) in 2018 as well as several cyclocross national championships. So, if your version of gravel is a road race on dirt, this is probably the right bike for you; and if you race cyclocross, this is also the right bike for you.
Choosing Between The Two
Figuring out which of the two versions of the new SuperSix Evo is right for you can feel like an exercise in splitting hairs. In theory, the SE build is more ideally suited to gravel while the CX, as the name implies, is meant for cyclocross. But the reality is that you could do both on either model with the right set of tires mounted. For example, while I raced quite a few cyclocross races on the CX, I also did the Vermont Overland Gravel race on it. For most, the choice will come down to 1x vs 2x and electronic vs mechanical.
Many riders prefer the simplicity and added chain retention of the 1x drivetrain for both gravel and cyclocross. While others find the superior range and smaller gear jumps of a 2x system to be superior. With the SuperSix Evo, you have the choice of both with one additional caveat, mechanical or electric. While the frameset is compatible with both types of shifting systems, riders looking for an electronic groupset will also be locked into a 2x setup. While those preferring a mechanical drivetrain can only choose the 1x option.
It is of course possible to change either bike from 1x to 2x and vise versa but this will require the purchase of additional parts and can be a costly swap. Price is likely the other main factor for riders choosing between these models. The SE with its electronic 2x drivetrain sells for $1,150 more than the CX.
Riders who want to focus primarily on CX, a notoriously gear intensive discipline that often requires many sets of wheels and tires, will likely be better served by the mechanical CX version. The extra money can be used for a second set of wheels and mud tires which will ultimately be more useful to them than an electronic drivetrain. The cheaper CX will also likely appeal to riders on a budget looking for the same excellent ride of the SuperSix Evo but at 1/5th less compared to the price SE version.
But, if electronic shifting or a 2x drivetrain is a must for you then the SE will happily fulfill those needs.