Cannondale is no stranger to the booming market of gravel bikes, having introduced its slightly-odd Slate a couple of years ago. For 2018, Cannondale has further expanded its gravel and go-anywhere road range, adding gravel versions of its Synapse endurance road bike, and its CAADX and SuperX cyclocross race bikes. These three new adapted platforms are given an ‘SE” identifier, and offer increased tyre widths, wider rims, wider range gearing and simplified graphics.
Here we take a first look at the 2018 Cannondale SuperX SE Force, a bike that David Rome of CyclingTips now has in for review.
“The SuperX SE is a gravel build on Cannondale’s pro-level cyclocross frameset. Wider tyres (37mm), wider rims and wider-range gearing turn an already proven cyclocross platform into a bike that’s designed to go further. The wider rubber should only serve to make this bike even more capable off-road,” explains Rome.
The SuperX frameset is made with Cannondale’s ‘BallisTec’ reinforced carbon fibre, and features absolutely massive tube junctions designed to resist the most ambitious power bursts, while the uninterrupted seatstays are designed to soothe the terrain. The frame uses 12mm thru-axles front and rear, with a BB30 bottom bracket playing host to Cannondale’s own Hollowgram SI cranks.
This bike features SRAM Force 1 HRD, a 1x-specific groupset designed for road, gravel and cyclocross use. The gearing sees a 40T SpideRing front chainring, that seamlessly connects to the Cannondale crank without bolts, and a wide-range 11-42T cassette. As an added touch, the frame features a removeable front derailleur mount for a cleaner look in this 1x configuration.
Also belonging to SRAM are the Force hydraulic disc brakes in a flat mount configuration. The SuperX SE is using 160mm rotors front and rear.
The rolling stock of this bike comes from WTB, a company with its roots firmly in mountain biking, and more recently, blazing success in the gravel market with a hugely popular tyre range. The aluminium KOM rims feature a wide 23mm internal width and are tubeless-ready. These are matched with WTB’s Riddler 37c tubeless-ready tyres, in a stylish gumwall colour.
All up, Rome’s 54cm test sample weighs in at 8.45kg without pedals, a respectable number for a bike that’s designed to take a beating off-road.
“The testing period has only just begun, and I anticipate this bike’s racing roots to show through in its personality. It looks to be a bike that’s equally ready for a gravel competition or just a big day out exploring new roads,” tells Rome.
“And while it has little to do with how the bike may ride, I’m already a fan of the paint. That lush coating of orange certainly makes this bike pop,” ended Rome.