First Ride: Cannondale Topstone

Nestled into the natural beauty of Stow, Vermont, the Trapp Family (think “Sound of Music”) emigrated from Austria and built a lodge that has expanded over the years into a world-class cross-country ski and mountain bike resort. A few miles away, Cannondale athlete and ambassador Ted King and his wife Laura have a country house where our first ride on the new Cannondale Topstone began. The Vermont gravel scene is well known to New Englanders and we were excited to check out the terrain as well as the all-new Topstone.

By Brad Roe, with images by Meg McMahon

This revolutionary design from Cannondale is defined by the Kingpin suspension in the rear triangle. Billed as the first full-frame leaf-spring system, the design focuses 30mm of travel at the saddle and rear axle area to create a fully active bump-absorption system. The Kingpin suspension is maintenance-free and was designed to feel as if you are riding a 9mm-wider tire. Featuring the same stack-and-reach progression as the Synapse platform, the Topstone was created for maximum off-road capability coupled with on-road performance and comfort.

Topstone Carbon – Force eTap

NOTABLES

The Topstone continues Cannondale’s history of creating surprising and innovative bikes that soon become prototypical “Cannondale” and add to its pattern of being a freethinking company willing to take risks to be at the front. Here’s what we liked about our first experience with the Topstone:

  • Dialed endurance fit
  • The first full-frame leaf-spring design in a gravel/all-road bike

  • Travel is focused at the saddle and rear axle, so utilized when in the saddle
  • Direct-line cable routing

  • Dropper-post-ready 27.2mm seat tube
  • 700×40 or 650Bx48 tires

  • Mounts for three 24-ounce water bottles

  • Front-mount, fenders and short-mount options on top tube

  • Speed-release thru-axles

OPTIONS

The Topstone will be available in five sizes and in four models: XS (48cm), S (51cm), M (55cm), L (58cm) and XL (61cm). The four model options are a Force eTap AXS ($6,500), Ultegra RX ($4,000), Ultegra RX 2 ($3,250), 105 ($2,700) and a Women’s Ultegra RX 2 ($3,250).

Ultegra RX Version

STAYING CONNECTED

Cannondale also debuted its new app at the Topstone launch. This exciting new product begins with a wheel sensor (created with Garmin and available as an aftermarket product in August) and provides riders with speed, distance and time. It is BLE and ANT+ compatible (battery lasts for one year of riding) and allows you to log rides with your phone on or off. You can chart how much gas you saved. Your role in reducing CO2 emissions allows you to be part of a Cannondale community to see how riding is reducing environmental impact. The app also features bike-health reminders, fit settings, part specific-and-curated videos and manuals to help you with personal maintenance. Tech X-Ray (augmented reality) is also available in the app.

THE FIRST RIDE

After a few hours on the Topstone on the dreamy Vermont gravel roads (which are endless), our initial impressions were that the Kingpin suspension provides significant bump absorption and comfort without hampering the on-road speed or capability of the bike. The stack-and-reach progression felt spot on and the bike handled really well on more technical and rough sections. This bike is fun! Riding gravel is fun and we are thrilled that brands like Cannondale are pushing the design limits and creating unique designs to increase our ability to explore known and unknown roads and expand our riding experiences. We have a Topstone on the way into our service course and we will work on a full review in the upcoming issue of PELOTON.

Find out more at Cannondale.com

Also Check Out: Hammering Copper: Born to Ride