FIRST LOOK | Cannondale Topstone Review
"Nothing is Impassable"
With the new Cannondale Topstone, the ride never stops where the road ends… the ride is just getting started. Equipped with all new Kingpin suspension, a well thought out geometry and the option of a Lefty fork, the Cannondale Topstone will effortlessly take you out on adventures you never knew you could do on a drop-bar gravel bike.
After being completely reconstructed for 2022, the new generation of Cannondale Topstone has more options than ever to choose from when it comes to the specification as a consequence of new technology. In this blog, we will discuss some of the key features of the new Topstone and how this progressive gravel bike will take you further than ever before.
Comfortable & Controllable Suspension
The focal point of the Topstone gravel bike is definitely the Kingpin suspension on the rear which provides immense comfort by diffusing and absorbing bumps travelling up the rear of the bike. However, the Kingpin suspension has been intelligently designed to use a bushing which is lightweight and doesn’t have complications of bearings, shocks and links. With a shock, transferring power to the rear wheel can often be hindered as power gets absorbed by the shock. With the Kingpin, you’ve unlimited traction and power at your wheels so you can crack on with your ride.
At the front, you have a choice of fork depending on which spec of Topstone you opt for. Recently designed around 700c wheels with room for upto 45mm tyres, the Lefty Oliver fork gives the rider 30mm of confidence inspiring travel so you can really start to push the boundaries on the trail. On other models of the Topstone, a rigid carbon fork is equipped which provides immense agility in the corners yet stability on the straights when paired with Cannondales slack head angle and long offset fork geometry.
Making the Topstone #Grav ready
In the modern day of gravel riding, a dropper post is a pretty nifty necessity for when the going gets tough. The Topstone is built to take a 27.2mm, internally routed dropper post which will come in handy on the rougher sections where you need to get out the saddle and pick your route wisely. Paired with precise yet agile steering, getting down a descent or over a rock filled garden has never been easier on a drop-bar bike.
As the Lefty fork has been adapted to fit a 700c wheel, the new Topstone can be equipped with both 650b and 700c wheels making it more versatile than ever before. This has been achieved by dropping the chainstay. When running a 650b wheel, riders have the option to fit a 2.1 inch tyre with the option to still run a mudguard and have enough clearance. If you opt for a 700c set up, you can run a 45mm tyre and still have 6mm of clearance either side. Across the fleet of Topstones, the wheelsets are standard fitting (non-Ai) which allows for easy and trouble-free interchangeability.
For the Topstones that don’t come with the SmartSense system as standard, you will have the option of fitting a luggage strap where the power pack would usually sit and this is so you can carry around a few spares on your ride without having to worry about damaging the paintwork on your bike. Alongside this, Cannondale have gone all out when it comes to luggage mounting on the Topstone for those who plan on doing mega bikepacking trips this Summer.
As for the rest of the specification, the Topstone series has been equipped with Gravel derived drivetrains which gives you plenty of gears to play with and ratios to get you across a vast variety of landscapes. Wide handlebars have been fitted for comfort and immense control over the front end.
As seen on the recently released Synapse, the Topstone is also equipped to fit Cannondale’s new SmartSense system which is a series of technology around the bike that work together to give you the perfect ride. At the top end of the SmartSense package, riders will have both front and rear lights, a rear facing radar, a power pack, a wheel sensor and the Cannondale app.
The in-built light, built in conjunction with Lezyne, provides 350 lumens up front and 25 Lumens at the rear. However, the rear light includes ambient light sensors that get brighter when the radar detects a car approaching. As well as this, there is also a “brake alert” function that detects when a bike is decelerating under braking and again it will make the rear light a touch brighter to alert other road users.
For the radar system, it uses the Garmin Varia system which can detect cars from up to 140 metres away and alerts you of their presence using a visual system on the cockpit and by an audible alert. Riders can also link their Garmin or Wahoo GPS computers upto the radar system where they will get the same alerts as well as if a car is approaching too fast or too close.