CAN­NON­DALE SYS­TEMSIX CAR­BON

£4999 › Can­non­dale de­buts its car­bon aero road ma­chine

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

The orig­i­nal Sys­temSix was one of Us out­fit Can­non­dale’s first for­ays into car­bon­fi­bre road bikes. Now, Can­non­dale has en­tered the highly com­pet­i­tive aero-road bike genre with the re­vival of its his­toric race bike name.

The main goal was to create a bike that was more aero­dy­namic, more of the time. Can­non­dale dis­cov­ered that for, say, a 75kg rider putting out 300 watts, the Sys­temSix will save you 30 watts of ef­fort over the com­pany’s Evo. In a 200m sprint at 60kph the Su­perSix would be 0.4 sec­onds faster – in dis­tance terms, four bike lengths. We’ve seen plenty of races won or lost by much less.

The car­bon Can­non­dale range splits into two. Those like the one tested use a mix of high-grade fi­bres while a smaller, pre­mium range of Hi-Mod bikes em­ploy more high­mod­u­lus fi­bres to add stiff­ness and re­duce weight. They’re aimed at elite rid­ers or those with deep pock­ets.

Our car­bon model comes with the al­ways-bril­liant Shi­mano 9170 Dura-Ace groupset with a speedori­en­tated 52/36, 11-28 gear­ing com­bi­na­tion. It’s one of the best me­chan­i­cal groupsets ever made: slick, ac­cu­rate and re­li­able with ex­cel­lent brakes to match.

Our bike re­ceives a bar and stem from Vi­sion. The Metron 4D Flat MAS bar would set you back close to £500 if bought sep­a­rately, with a £100 Tri­max OS stem, so it’s a pricey cock­pit. The bar’s a great shape, its an­gled-for­ward flat-top sec­tions of­fer­ing a broad hold and enough width to rest your fore­arms on if you want to ease into an aero tuck.

The anatomic drop is the same as Vi­sion’s other bars and one that we love. Its semi-com­pact shape of­fers a great in-the-drops feel and the flat­tened pro­file of the drop makes for a great hold.

Can­non­dale’s new wheels, the KNOT64s, are deep for a road wheel

You’d ex­pect chat­ter with this much aero shap­ing, but it kills road noise

at 64mm, but weigh an im­pres­sive­for-the-size 1600g a pair. The su­per-wide rim, in ex­cess of 30mm ex­ter­nally and 21mm wide in­ter­nally, wears a 23mm tyre. When mounted to the KNOT64 rims they come up to 25.8mm and the bike can han­dle up to a 30mm tyre. The wheels are clamped in place via a new type of thru-axle that, rather than hav­ing to be re­moved com­pletely, is re­tained in the wheel it­self.

Within a few miles the over­rid­ing feel­ing on the Sys­temSix is fa­mil­iar, like rid­ing the Evo, one of the besthandling race bikes ever. As soon as we got chance to throw the Sys­temSix around it felt just as ex­cit­ing as the Evo. There’s a bit of re­sis­tance from the deep wheels un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion but, once you’re up to speed, they hold on to it.

We ex­pected a bit of chat­ter and vi­bra­tion through a frame with this much aero shap­ing, and 23mm tyres, but the com­bi­na­tion of the clever frame con­struc­tion and Vit­to­ria Ru­bino tyres does an ad­mirable job of killing road noise.

The Sys­temSix is what an aero bike should be – bru­tally fast when you need it but al­ways nim­ble and sharp han­dling, tem­pered with a qual­ity of ride that won’t beat you up and sap your en­ergy. When a de­sign can pull off all of these traits you’re get­ting close to the per­fect all­rounder. It may be car­ry­ing a bit of ex­tra weight over some of its ri­vals but it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that in this guise, al­though ex­pen­sive, it’s half the cost of some of its ri­vals.

Be­low Vi­sion’s Metron 4D Flat MAS bar is at the heart of a lux­u­ri­ous cock­pit Bot­tom Our model was con­structed from high-grade car­bon fi­bre

HIGHS Sub­lime Evo­like han­dling, spell­bind­ing speed and smooth with it LOWS Deep-sec­tion wheels can be a bit pon­der­ous on climbs BUY IF You favour aero ben­e­fits over light weight but don’t want to com­pro­mise com­fort or han­dling The Sys­temSix is bru­tally fast when you need it but al­ways nim­ble and sharp han­dling

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