Cannondale have always had a habit of doing things slightly differently, with the effect of making their bikes stand out from the crowd. The System Six is their no holds-barred race bike, and it certainly makes a visual statement.
“This is not a fashion statement. It wasn’t conceived to please the crowd. It wasn’t designed to confer status. It was meticulously crafted by a team of performance obsessed engineers to achieve a single, specific objective. Victory.”
So, designed for victory apparently… Well, looking at the design of the frame, it’s not hard to see how much effort the designers have put into extracting as much performance out of the double diamond design, with some quite notable design features.
At the heart is a carbon/aluminium frame. The front end (head tube, top tube and down tube) is made from high modulus uni-directional carbon, with a unique lay-up process, which is then grafted to a CAAD9 aluminium rear triangle (bottom bracket, seat and chain stays). This is opposite to the more usual alu front/carbon rear approach, but Cannondale state this design helped them to better achieve their goals of an extremely light and stiff frameset. A 56cm frame will bring the scales sliding round to 1,115g, despite having tubes bigger than anything you’ve seen before.
Large head tubes have always been a Cannondale speciality. The System Integrated front end is the name given to the fork/steerer tube, head tube and stem combination, which have been designed as one, with the result being a lighter and stiffer assembly than the more traditional alternatives. The steerer tube, for example, is 1.5” diameter at the crown and tapers to a 1 1/8” when it reaches the stem.
We’re going to put a Ultegra equipped bike through it’s paces for a while, to see how it performs. We’ll take through in some hilly and fast training rides and the odd winter race, to see how it fares in a range of situations. Watch this space.
Visit Cannondale.com for more info.