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New gravel and CX race bikes from Cannondale

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

New gravel and CX race bikes from Cannondale

Old 08-24-21, 02:32 PM
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New gravel and CX race bikes from Cannondale

Cannondale is doing some interesting marketing/positioning here. They've announced an all-new Supersix Evo CX cyclocross race bike and a Supersix Evo SE gravel race bike. They're the same frame - just with different builds. They're marketing this bike as an extension of the SuperSix Evo road race bike. It has the same aero tube shaping and dropped seat stays as the road version, but fits 45mm tires. Cannondale claims this frame is just as fast as the road version. The only obvious difference is that the cabling is not fully integrated, and this bike still uses a standard stem/headset setup with cables entering the frame on the downtube (and fork for front brake line). It sounds like they'll still sell the Topstone (for adventure gravel) and the aluminum CAADX as an entry level option, but the carbon SuperX cyclocross race bike is dead (or replaced by the SuperSix Evo CX/SE... I guess).

Frame weight seems to be about the same as the outgoing SuperX- 1400g for frame/fork, which is reasonably light. The geometry is very similar as well - 71 degree HTA and short chain stays. It still has the proprietary "AI offset" which means any new wheelsets have to be re-dished at the rear to fit. This isn't as big of a deal as some people make it out to be, but annoying if you want to swap wheels between this and a non- Cannondale AI bike. Worth noting that 45mm tire clearance on a 2x bike with relatively short chainstays is pretty impressive and seems to be a benefit of the AI nonsense. I think the outgoing SuperX is officially limited to 40mm tires, though I've seen photos of people exceeding that.

SuperSix Evo CX: SRAM Force 1x11 mechanical, DT Swiss R470 wheels/formula hubs and 33mm tires = $4000
SuperSix Evo SE: SRAM Rival AXS 2x12, DT Swiss Spline 1600 wheels (with 350 hubs) and 40mm tires = $5000

Both bikes come with carbon seat posts, alloy bars and pretty standard other stuff. Notably the CX version does not come with the Hollowgram crank, but instead the "Cannondale 1" crank, which I think is just the old SI solid forged version of the Hollowgram. For $4k I'd expect to get the HG crank.

I love this green/mint green paint job:






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Old 08-24-21, 02:40 PM
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Also notable is the lack of Shimano offerings here. Parts shortage?

A $3500 GRX 1x or 2x mechanical version seems like a no-brainer.
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Old 08-24-21, 03:13 PM
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Funny you mention lack of Shimano because for 2 of the bikes I thought- wow thats a great looking bike, except for the goofy big SRAM derailleurs. Give me wires over that every day of the week.

A race oriented frame that can fit 45s is really neat progression.
The Topstone has quickly gone from an interesting new option with good value, to well spec'd and improved, to jumped the shark with suspension everywhere and little value at the lower end.
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Old 08-24-21, 03:31 PM
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Why bother advertising them as two different models if they're the same frame? A CX race bike isn't really the same as a gravel race bike and its silly to try and make them the same. A CX bike is meant to be ridden for 45-90 min for most races so losing a little comfort to have a road race geometry with a taller BB for clearance isn't a big deal. That same geometry would seem to start to get uncomfortable over the 2+ hours of many gravel races which often seem to start at 30 miles with 50 and 70 miles or more being common. The need for a more comfortable endurance geometry for better positioning seems more realistic.
I'd sooner do a gravel race on my MTB with cross tires on it than my cross bike with the same tires.
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Old 08-24-21, 04:44 PM
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Cannondale Supersix Evo CX frame geometey


Giant Revolt Advanced gravel bike frame geometry



In the largest size(what I pay attention to), the new Cannondale is quite close in geometry to the Giant Revolt, which is a common gravel bike.
The Cannondale has 2mm less bottom bracket drop(so negligible), same wheelbase length, same head tube angle, basically the same stack height, and slightly less reach. The Cannondale does have 8mm less trail than the Giant, but the Trek Checkpoint has 2mm less than the Cannondale so it is obviously still squarely in a common range.



Neither geometry would work for me, but if the Giant option fits so many, maybe this Cdale will too.

Last edited by mstateglfr; 08-24-21 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 08-25-21, 02:16 AM
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I've been saying for a couple of years that manufactures are slowly merging the two. Old school CX geometry with really high bottom brackets are pretty rare now, they've been getting lower and lower with the gravel bike fad going on. They don't want to have to spend the money to produce two different frames. I personally don't like it. As a former owner of a Diverge I prefer CX geometry to gravel.
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Old 08-25-21, 05:10 AM
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Just like anything else, if you want a niche geometry, you're going to have to go find a niche product. Everyone else, even most CX racers, want a lower bb nowadays.

Not that I would ever intentionally offset a bb, but the AI nonsense doesn't seem like that big of a deal. The NDS spokes will be a little tighter, which is good, and it takes no more than a few minutes to re-dish a wheel.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
Why bother advertising them as two different models if they're the same frame? A CX race bike isn't really the same as a gravel race bike and its silly to try and make them the same. A CX bike is meant to be ridden for 45-90 min for most races so losing a little comfort to have a road race geometry with a taller BB for clearance isn't a big deal. That same geometry would seem to start to get uncomfortable over the 2+ hours of many gravel races which often seem to start at 30 miles with 50 and 70 miles or more being common. The need for a more comfortable endurance geometry for better positioning seems more realistic.
I'd sooner do a gravel race on my MTB with cross tires on it than my cross bike with the same tires.
Good question, but it seems like Cannondale completely disagrees with this take that CX bikes donít make good gravel bikes - at least for the pointy end of gravel racing. I doubt you will see any of the top gravel racers on a Topstone, but theyíre still selling it if you prefer that.

Also worth noting that the outgoing SuperX (same geometry as this new bike) was the winning bike at DK200 for both men and women in 2018. So, it also made for a pretty good gravel race bike.
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Old 08-25-21, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
I've been saying for a couple of years that manufactures are slowly merging the two. Old school CX geometry with really high bottom brackets are pretty rare now, they've been getting lower and lower with the gravel bike fad going on. They don't want to have to spend the money to produce two different frames. I personally don't like it. As a former owner of a Diverge I prefer CX geometry to gravel.
Cannondale is still selling the Topstone though. So, this doesnít seem to have anything to do with consolidating models.

They basically made a new carbon CX race bike and are selling it with a 2x and gravel tires, alongside a 1x with CX tires.

If anything, this is a sign that gravel race bikes are becoming more like modern CX bikes, and not the other way around. The fact that this bike matches the CX geometry Cannondale developed back in 2017 for the SuperX seems to back that up.

I get that CX geometry has changed over the past 10 years, but I havenít ever heard anyone complain that the SuperX geometry was too gravel, and wasnít well suited for CX racing. Stephen Hyde won 3 CX national championships on it.
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Old 08-25-21, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
If anything, this is a sign that gravel race bikes are becoming more like modern CX bikes, and not the other way around.
The geometry doesn't look like it. Bottom brackets are getting lower and lower.
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Old 08-25-21, 09:44 AM
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Long and low there with the geomtery
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Old 08-25-21, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
Also worth noting that the outgoing SuperX (same geometry as this new bike) was the winning bike at DK200 for both men and women in 2018. So, it also made for a pretty good gravel race bike.
True but didn't Lael Wilcox win this years XL version on a MTB? I just know that even with its nice steel frame I wouldn't want to ride 5+ hours on my cross bike the way I would my gravel or MTB and I've done 4+ hours of actual MTB trail with the hardtail. I was also once told I could ride the great divide tour on my cross bike, I'm not masochistic enough to try and will, after this summer's adventures, be building 27.5" wheels for the gravel so I can go with 2.3" tires.
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Old 08-25-21, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
The geometry doesn't look like it. Bottom brackets are getting lower and lower.
Your contention seems to be that manufacturers are watering down CX race bikes to satisfy the gravel racing market, but the 2017-2021 SuperX was never marketed as a gravel race bike. It has always been marketed as a pure CX race bike sold alongside other gravel bikes. It does have lower/longer geometry than a ďtraditionalĒ CX bike, but I donít buy that this was the result of a compromise to gravelize the bike or to consolidate frame manufacturing.

This new bike has the same bb drop and geometry as that 2017-2021 SuperX. It will continue to be a fantastic, fast and agile CX race bike as a result. The fact that this geometry is also proving to be successful for gravel racing doesnít necessarily mean that it was watered down to achieve that.
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Old 08-25-21, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
True but didn't Lael Wilcox win this years XL version on a MTB? I just know that even with its nice steel frame I wouldn't want to ride 5+ hours on my cross bike the way I would my gravel or MTB and I've done 4+ hours of actual MTB trail with the hardtail. I was also once told I could ride the great divide tour on my cross bike, I'm not masochistic enough to try and will, after this summer's adventures, be building 27.5" wheels for the gravel so I can go with 2.3" tires.
I fully agree that these new bikes from Cannondale - or any race bike really - are probably not the optimal choice for an ultra endurance gravel race (her finishing time was 27hrs), or for long distance/cross country touring.

The new SuperSix Evo CX and SE donít even have mounts for racks or fenders.
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Old 08-25-21, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
Why bother advertising them as two different models if they're the same frame? A CX race bike isn't really the same as a gravel race bike and its silly to try and make them the same. A CX bike is meant to be ridden for 45-90 min for most races so losing a little comfort to have a road race geometry with a taller BB for clearance isn't a big deal. That same geometry would seem to start to get uncomfortable over the 2+ hours of many gravel races which often seem to start at 30 miles with 50 and 70 miles or more being common. The need for a more comfortable endurance geometry for better positioning seems more realistic.
I'd sooner do a gravel race on my MTB with cross tires on it than my cross bike with the same tires.
As someone who races both, I'd like to know why you say this?

It sounds like you are saying CX is like a road race bike, while Gravel is like an endurance bike?
I mean, I only have one bike for both - I'm not gonna get a gravel race bike and a CX bike. There is no reason why a competitive CX bike can't be comfortable for a 2-4 hour race.

While a traditional CX bike seems to have a pretty low stack, I can't see how this makes the bike faster. Ever ridden on grass? Realistically its unusual that I'm going over 10mph - unless its down hill and that tends to be more single track than the tuck and go straight type of a road bike. I'm thinking a more relaxed stack would work great in both disciplines (especially since you can adjust handlebar height).

Personally, the 70mm BB drop is great. I hate pedal strike, don't have any advantage of going lower (for Gravel), and don't really need it higher either (CX).

However, I can see a longer wheelbase (and trail) being good for an endurance gravel bike, but I don't need it or want it (unless I'm doing 8+ hours in the saddle or backpacking). A gravel bike does benefit from high speed stability, while a CX bike needs to do a tight fast 180 degree turn.

I think its a little odd they have a slack head tube angle and a large fork offset. Why not tighten up the head tube angle and use a normal fork?
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Old 08-25-21, 10:35 AM
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Good lord- gravel geometry isnt monolithic. Neither is cx geometry.
The big 3- Giant, Specialized, and Trek- all have pretty different geometry for their gravel bikes. bb drop is different, trail is different, stack height is different, etc.

I for one welcome a lot of different geometry since that means we all get to pick a bike that fits us best for how we intend to use it.
In a gravel race a few weeks ago, I rode alongside someone my height and his bars were an inch lower than mine as well as out probably 2cm further. He clearly wants a bike with less stack height and more reach than mine, and that is even more clear when my bb drop is taken into account, so its really probably 1.5" of bar drop more than mine and I have 8cm of saddle to bar drop as it is.
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Old 08-25-21, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58
As someone who races both, I'd like to know why you say this?

It sounds like you are saying CX is like a road race bike, while Gravel is like an endurance bike?
I mean, I only have one bike for both - I'm not gonna get a gravel race bike and a CX bike. There is no reason why a competitive CX bike can't be comfortable for a 2-4 hour race.
I used a gravel bike one season for a cross bike, there was obvious issues while navigating some of the tighter areas where the course was meant to wind back and forth in short tight areas, the gravel bike had to go slower to get around the bends and every course seems to have a section of these to really separate out who can handle their bike and who can't. My cross bike does have a further drop to the bars than my gravel bike which works fine for a bike I have to get off and on and for which I'm not riding that long. It is the same drop as my road bike which is fine for 4-5 hours on the road but would get rough on the shoulders with the same amount of time over dirt and gravel. My gravel bike is more upright and with its wider stance feels more stable over the gravel that the cross bike isn't designed for. The cross is meant to move faster on dirt, grass, and mud but yes, the gravel is much more an endurance and 3 hours over dirt and gravel to cover 50 miles is much more endurance than the same 50 miles on pavement.
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Old 08-26-21, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
I used a gravel bike one season for a cross bike, there was obvious issues while navigating some of the tighter areas where the course was meant to wind back and forth in short tight areas, the gravel bike had to go slower to get around the bends and every course seems to have a section of these to really separate out who can handle their bike and who can't. My cross bike does have a further drop to the bars than my gravel bike which works fine for a bike I have to get off and on and for which I'm not riding that long. It is the same drop as my road bike which is fine for 4-5 hours on the road but would get rough on the shoulders with the same amount of time over dirt and gravel. My gravel bike is more upright and with its wider stance feels more stable over the gravel that the cross bike isn't designed for. The cross is meant to move faster on dirt, grass, and mud but yes, the gravel is much more an endurance and 3 hours over dirt and gravel to cover 50 miles is much more endurance than the same 50 miles on pavement.
This all depends on the type of gravel bike. A more race-oriented gravel bike will perform much more like a CX bike. There are several examples of top CX racers running gravel bikes, including the Cervelo Aspero, Santa Cruz Stigmata, Pivot Vault and Orbea Terra. https://www.cxmagazine.com/bike-prof...locross-gravel

More to the point of this thread, Cannondale apparently sees no difference between CX and Gravel when it comes to high level racing geometry and frame design. This is backed up by results from recent years of gravel racing, where Cannondale endorsed athletes won several high-profile gravel races on the same SuperX that was used by pro UCI CX racers. They've doubled down on this with their new bike. Ted King already raced one of these new bikes this year at Unbound, and has noted in the past his preference for racing the SuperX for gravel, rather than Cannondale's gravel bike (which he has raced in the past, even with a Lefty fork).

Here's a quote from earlier this year:
ďIím running a Cannondale SuperX in most of my gravel races," King told Bike Perfect. "The Topstone is an incredible rig too, but I tend to opt for that on rides geared more towards exploration. If speed is on the line, Iím generally going with the SuperX." https://www.bikeperfect.com/features...l-bike-gallery

I wouldn't expect the new SuperSix Evo SE to be that good for long adventures into the back-country and assume many recreational riders may find them uncomfortably compromised and stiff for that use. This is why Cannondale is still selling the Topstone alongside it.
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Old 08-26-21, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la

More to the point of this thread, Cannondale apparently sees no difference between CX and Gravel when it comes to high level racing geometry and frame design. This is backed up by results from recent years of gravel racing, where Cannondale endorsed athletes won several high-profile gravel races on the same SuperX that was used by pro UCI CX racers. They've doubled down on this with their new bike. Ted King already raced one of these new bikes this year at Unbound, and has noted in the past his preference for racing the SuperX for gravel, rather than Cannondale's gravel bike (which he has raced in the past, even with a Lefty fork).

Here's a quote from earlier this year:
ďIím running a Cannondale SuperX in most of my gravel races," King told Bike Perfect. "The Topstone is an incredible rig too, but I tend to opt for that on rides geared more towards exploration. If speed is on the line, Iím generally going with the SuperX." https://www.bikeperfect.com/features...l-bike-gallery
I'm going to guess that at the top end they spend hours more daily than I can on a bike, have more strength and flexibility, and will finish things like Kanza/Unbound hours faster than me (I'd like to do it next year and just hope to finish), so are in less need of the more relaxed geometry. Over 30-50 miles I've averaged about 14-18mph on the gravel depending on if its unpaved rail trail or real gravel with hills and how big the hills are, for 100 miles I'm down to 12-14mph and I'm hopeful to be able to maintain that for longer. They're averaging more like 18-20 for the whole distance and that has to make a difference in what geometry matters.
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Old 08-26-21, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
I'm going to guess that at the top end they spend hours more daily than I can on a bike, have more strength and flexibility, and will finish things like Kanza/Unbound hours faster than me (I'd like to do it next year and just hope to finish), so are in less need of the more relaxed geometry. Over 30-50 miles I've averaged about 14-18mph on the gravel depending on if its unpaved rail trail or real gravel with hills and how big the hills are, for 100 miles I'm down to 12-14mph and I'm hopeful to be able to maintain that for longer. They're averaging more like 18-20 for the whole distance and that has to make a difference in what geometry matters.
Yup. Those racers are absolute beasts and ride at speeds most of us mortals will never achieve. This is also why we're starting to see aero tube shaping on these bikes, even though most of us will never ride a gravel or CX bike at speeds where this matters, there's little downside (other than cost).

This is the bike industry though. Specialized markets the S-Works Roubaix with 28mm tires as the ideal machine for smashing the famed cobbles of Ardennes forest and puts all their pros on it. For those of us not being paid to ride, a gravel or cx bike makes a lot more sense for those roads and might even be the faster option for our speeds.
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Old 08-26-21, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
Why bother advertising them as two different models if they're the same frame? A CX race bike isn't really the same as a gravel race bike and its silly to try and make them the same. A CX bike is meant to be ridden for 45-90 min for most races so losing a little comfort to have a road race geometry with a taller BB for clearance isn't a big deal. That same geometry would seem to start to get uncomfortable over the 2+ hours of many gravel races which often seem to start at 30 miles with 50 and 70 miles or more being common. The need for a more comfortable endurance geometry for better positioning seems more realistic.
I'd sooner do a gravel race on my MTB with cross tires on it than my cross bike with the same tires.
WELL SAID! Back when gravel started getting popular some brands were caught with a big trend and nothing to market so some started to rebrand cross framed bikes as gravel bikes. That generally lasted about two or three years until they could retool and strat making purpose-built gravel frames. Let's see how long this lasts with Cannondale... A cyclocross frame just is not much fun to ride all day compared to a typical gravel frame....
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Old 08-27-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee
WELL SAID! Back when gravel started getting popular some brands were caught with a big trend and nothing to market so some started to rebrand cross framed bikes as gravel bikes. That generally lasted about two or three years until they could retool and strat making purpose-built gravel frames. Let's see how long this lasts with Cannondale... A cyclocross frame just is not much fun to ride all day compared to a typical gravel frame....
Its as if you didnt look at the geometry and compare it to widely available and popular gravel bike geometries.
Cdale still has the Topstone- so they are basically segmenting the gravel market to offer multiple options to best suit what the consumer wants.
Oh the horror!**
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Old 08-27-21, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee
WELL SAID! Back when gravel started getting popular some brands were caught with a big trend and nothing to market so some started to rebrand cross framed bikes as gravel bikes. That generally lasted about two or three years until they could retool and strat making purpose-built gravel frames. Let's see how long this lasts with Cannondale... A cyclocross frame just is not much fun to ride all day compared to a typical gravel frame....
Cannondale isn't new to this or doing anything to avoid "retooling". They have been selling a purpose-built gravel bike since 2015 when they introduced the Slate. They released the Topstone in 2019 and continue to sell two different versions of it (carbon and alloy) in a full range of builds. Cannondale is deeply invested in racing all disciplines, but specifically has deep roots in CX and gravel, and has been on the cutting edge of product development for both.

This new SuperSix Evo SE isn't positioned as a "fun to ride all day" gravel bike. It's an uncompromising race bike. Ted King rode it to a 4th place finish at this year's Unbound so clearly it works for that purpose.
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Old 08-30-21, 01:46 PM
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still racing my 2013 cannondale supersix which was the first year they made a disc cx bike for both gravel and CX. Tried a topstone and the bike just feels boring. People have been riding CX bikes on gravel long before it was even a thing
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Old 09-02-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth
Why bother advertising them as two different models if they're the same frame? A CX race bike isn't really the same as a gravel race bike and its silly to try and make them the same. A CX bike is meant to be ridden for 45-90 min for most races so losing a little comfort to have a road race geometry with a taller BB for clearance isn't a big deal. That same geometry would seem to start to get uncomfortable over the 2+ hours of many gravel races which often seem to start at 30 miles with 50 and 70 miles or more being common. The need for a more comfortable endurance geometry for better positioning seems more realistic.
I'd sooner do a gravel race on my MTB with cross tires on it than my cross bike with the same tires.
Seriously? I ride my CX bike everywhere for loads of amount of time with no problem. Do you have a terrible back or two broken wrists?
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