The 695g Frame
Hearken the coming of 2012 with the faster and lighter Cannondale Supersix EVO.
2011 has barely through with its 3rd quarter but everyone in the cycling world is already looking forward to what 2012 has to offer. Cannondale answered that call with their newly reworked Supersix EVO,also known as the 695g Frame. The all-carbon roadster takes all the best facets of its previous incarnation the Supersix Hi-Mod and makes it lighter, stiffer and smoother. While all these sound all too familiar in the realm of road bikes, what the engineers over at Cannondale did and how they made it happen makes all the difference.
First thing you’ll notice about the upgraded frame is itsincredible stiffness. Ultralight road bikes are a dime and a dozen in themarket today, but when it’s married with torsional stiffness, somethingexceptional emerges. Despite its smaller head tube and reduction in tubediameters as well as the chipping away of mass at supposed reinforced areas,the Supersix EVO stays locked on to whatever line you’ve decided to set itupon.
If anything, the reduced tube sizes along with the Speed Save fork allows for a more aerodynamic design. Inspired by F1 racing technology, the trimmed fork aids in improving traction and handling. It may sacrifice a tad bit of the rider’s comfort, but makes up for it on speed on the road.
So how did they manage to achieve such stability on such afeatherweight? The answer lies in the selection of the tube shapes, the newBallistic Carbon material as well as the reworked carbon layup technique underthe supervision of industry renowned carbon engineer Peter Denk.
A big part that contributes to the stiffness is the rear triangle that’s been moulded as a single continuous fibre structure, with an ideal mix of standard, high and ultra-high mod carbon for optimum stiffness. Its Thinline Technology keeps the seatstays and chainstays slim and gets rid of any unnecessary weight while retaining maximum lateral bending resistance. This minimal weight principle is applied to the Delta seat tube as well, taking it from the CAAD10 to keep weight low and stiffness high; this translates to impressive pedalling efficiency.
There’s a slight feeling of sluggishness at lower speeds that may lead you to an initial impression that you’re not going as fast as you ought to be. Alas, it is after all the first impression; once you get up to cadence, the bike’s resistance to bending kicks in when you put the power to the pedal. This is also where the F1 technology pays off; the Speed Save fork offers you bucket loads of control over your path. When it comes to road bikes,a big role that they play is to give you the confidence to pick up your speed and allow your human engine to put its best foot forward (no pun intended). On this aspect, the EVO’s stiff rear end and the reassuring front end allows you to really put out your best performance.
Despite its claims for a buttery ride though, you can’t help but feel it’s not as comfortable as it should be. But what you’ll realize at the end of the ride is that where you would usually feel spent on other road bikes of this caliber, you find that the moderate comfort actually results in a less tiring ride as the frame absorbs all the bumps instead of deflecting you off your line. So this way you are actually going faster in a straight line instead of being forced to make subtle maneuvers to get around disturbances on the road; as Cannondale would sum it up, this is the EVO’s ‘micro-suspension’at work.
Roadies can rejoice at the heralding of a steadfastcontender come 2012. The Cannondale Supersix EVO is a lighter upgrade to analready superlight bike, and the introduction of new carbon technologies andweight-saving concepts shows proves to be more than just a superficialimprovement.
It may be marked with a flawed initial ride, but stick to it and you will see that the facets to the bike that you may not be accustomed to are the very things that prove to be beneficial to your performance on the road at high speeds. Get the bike set up right, and you’ll be leaving others in the dust as you whiz away with superior control and stability.
For more info on the Cannondale Supersix EVO 2012, visit www.cannasia.com
The Marin Mount Vision XM7 brings you thebest of Californian mountain biking with crisp climbing capabilities and supple suspension proficiency.
Words by J.T. | Images by Rodalink
Marin Bikes was established in 1986 in San Anselmo,California and its offices lie in the shadow of Mt. Tamalpais, commonly referred to as the birthplace of mountain biking and still at the heart of the sport.
Frame & Components
The Mount Vision XM7 that we tested comes kitted with a Rockshox Revelation RLT fork, Fox Float RP2 shock, a mix of Shimano Deore and SLX drivetrain componentry, Avid Elixir 5 brakes, and Alex EN24 rims shod with WTB Wolverine 2.2 tires*. This bike has a few well-thought out features, suchas cable routing for telescoping seat posts, a tapered head tube, bent top tube for lower stand over height and the new Y-shaped upper linkage that offers better clearance over previous years’ models.
It sports the revised Quad Link II, where the bike’s rear swingarm "floats" or rotates from a constantly moving pivot point in space. This allows the designers to fine tune the rear wheel's axle path and leverage ratio for better square-bump compliance and maintain traction underpedaling forces. The XM7 boasts 140mm (5.5in) of travel which puts it squarely in the trail bike/all-mountain category. Total bike weight without pedals is13.68kg for a Medium.
Initial ride impressions were good, with chassis stiffness and climbing ability being the standout features. The Quad II linkage works as advertised, stiffening up under hard pedalling, yet still reacting to small bumps on the trail. Climbing technical switchbacks at Ketam mountain bike park was a cinch, aided by the generous top tube and stem. We rarely felt the need to turn on Pro Pedal, except on long asphalt climbs.
The 140mm travel Rockshox Revelation RLT comes with the new 15mm standard Maxle Light, opening up new possibilities for 15mm wheel sets, where previously Rockshox stood by the 20mm standard.Despite the difference in axle size, we never felt the fork lacking in stiffness, and it tracked beautifully through rocky and off-camber sections.The Dual Air system on the fork also allowed us to fine tune the negative spring to our liking, which means a very supple first few inches of travel. As with the Pro Pedal at the back, we rarely used the Motion Control Floodgate compression lockout.
One thing that did bother us though was the tire’s lack of cornering grip. While it was very fast-rolling, the lack of aggressive side knobs caused our reviewer to taste Pulau Ubin soil on more than one occasion when tackling flat corners at speed. We would change the tires out to something a little more aggressive, especially for a bike of this category and travel – a Maxxis High Roller or Ardent in 2.1 (or 2.3 if you can bear with the added rolling weight) flavor comes to mind.
There was also some squealing from the rear brake which went away after the first few rides, only to haunt us again, especially after going through wet muddy trails. These minor niggles aside, though, the bike performs adequately. Shifting was the usual Shimano-standard reliability, if a little lacking in precision and positive “clicks” compared to XT or XTR. The cockpit is an own-brand affair, with an FSA stem for some variety. The deceptively thin WTB Silverado saddle, however, proved to be a very comfortable perch – our tester had his adjusted perfectly level and loved it.
All in all, the XM7 proved to be a reliable, stiff climber with adequate suspension, let down by some rather lacklustre rubber. With a tire change and properly set-up suspension, this bike should be ready to rip on our local trails and go head to head with far more glamorous brands that cost just as much for the frame alone.
*International specs. May differ from US specs as shown on Marin’s website
For more information on the Marin Mount Vision XM7, visit sg.rodalink.com