The new Cannondale System Six is beautiful. It’s Formula One. They didn’t just dabble in the Aero concept, they went balls deep. In particular, the truncated head tube has a little nuance above the fork crown, designed to reduce drag. The seat mast is compressed, the bars and stem have integrated cable/wire routing and the wheels are super deep and wide. The rim profile is wider than the tire, designed to keep airflow attached to the rim and leave a smooth wake.
Cannondale claims some generous watt savings, thanks to the frame shape, but it comes at a 400 gram penalty in weight. The whole package remains efficient on climbs up to 7%, beyond that, not so great. Dammit!! Why can’t they make a race bike that does everything?? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ease up on the deep rims? They don’t climb well.
If you live in a hilly, mountainous area, this isn’t a good choice. The rest of the terrain begs for a bike like this. One has to wonder, what is the actual penalty on steeper gradient climbs, like 15%? Is it horrible? If you have ever climbed on a deep section carbon wheel, you know it blows. The wheels feel dead, sluggish and heavy. Deep section wheels may not convert into big time losses but it’s the way they feel, that is the problem.
The Hi Mod frame at top level is equipped with Dura Ace Di2. The next level down is Ultegra Di2. If you want cable actuated shifting, then no Hi Mod for you. The standard carbon features Dura Ace hydro disc with mech shifting and still costs $5k, not a bad deal. Standard carbon will flex a little more than Hi Mod, in the BB shell, Head tube and the other areas where the carbon layup isn’t fortified.
If you own this bike, there’s no club cruising allowed. No helmet mirrors, no bar end mirrors or frame mounted hand pumps. No Made in Taiwan stickers, no Iphone on the handlebars, no low socks, no John Lennon glasses, there is a dress code for this bike and you better be fast. If you aren’t fast you better be training because the System Six isn’t made for posers. If you can afford it, please adhere to the dress code and proper rules of conduct. The Six is so hot, it should come with a contract and waiver of liability. If it doesn’t make you drool, you aren’t paying attention.
Have a look at some other Aero Road models below ↓↓
BMC Team Machine SLR01
↓↓ Below, 2019 Specialized Venge ↓↓
Canyon AEROAD CF SLX Disc 9.0 ↓LTD↓
Aero road is here to stay. The industry has formed a base around the wind tunnel data, it’s undeniable. Carbon technology is always progressing. We have come a long way since Columbus tubing. It will be exciting to see the next few years and how this concept evolves and applies to all disciplines.