An evolution of the species
The all-new Topstone Carbon distills all Cannondale’s experience of making fast race bikes, comfortable endurance bikes and ultra-light dual suspension mountain bikes into the most off-road capable, and on-road comfortable, all-road bike ever made.
Designed for maximum fun in places most gravel bikes would fear to tread, or maximum comfort over more everyday terrain.
KingPin Suspension – Revolutionary, super-light suspension that lets you ride harder on dirt and more smoothly on pavement. Better control. Better traction. Better comfort. Nothing sacrificed.
Big Tire Clearance – The new Cannondale Topstone Carbon comes as standard with big 700x37c tires for grip and comfort, but has room for up to 40mm tyres with tons of clearance.
Easy Internal Cable Routing – With Cannondale’s DirectLine cable routing, an internal tube guides the cable and housing through the frame, from entry to exit for headache-free maintenance.
Carry That Gear – Plenty of places to store gear and water, with a multi-position mount on the downtube, and more on the top tube, seat tube, and under the down tube.
Keep Dry – The Topstone Carbon is fully mudguard ready.
Speed Release Equipped – Speed Release thru-axles offer the stiffness and solid feel of a thru-axle, with the easy use of a quick release axle.
And these features aren’t marketing gimmicks; they really work. We have been blown away by the Topstone Carbon – and we are aren’t the only ones! Read on for just a selection of the outstanding reviews that have greeted this seriously impressive new bike.
“…Obviously the first thing I did once I’d clipped in was to bounce around like Tigger to assess how effective the Kingpin suspension was at soaking up rear end strikes.
The movement is immediately palpable. When you push down on the saddle – either on the bike or off – you can visibly see the tubes flexing. Riding, then, the cushioning effect is really noticeable, and the Topstone Carbon felt like it handled the chatter of a trail or dirt road with a deft efficiency, undoubtedly smoothing out the ride.
The handling felt close to a cyclocross race bike, definitely not languid and slow to respond. But where a cyclocross bike might feel sketchy and quickly out of its depth on a rough mountain bike trail I found the Topstone Carbon was much more adept and surprisingly capable in varied terrains.
Hopping rocks, locking the rear wheel and skidding through tight switchbacks on singletrack trails, the Topstone Carbon encourages a playful riding style. I could confidently make quick direction changes and switch lines in wooded singletrack with ease. Even on steeper descents the Topstone Carbon maintained its balance and poise well.
My lasting impression from my first ride is this: I felt like if I’d started a ride with a group of road buddies I’d be able to hang with them on the Topstone Carbon, but, if half way round I caught sight of some fun trails and fancied a change of scene the Topstone Carbon would also take me home off road with not a second thought.”
Gran Fondo Cycling Magazine:
“The look of the brand new Cannondale Topstone Carbon is refreshingly different compared to many of its competitors. The oversized seat tube and raised front triangle make it stand out from the crowd. At first glance, the look of the design doesn’t suggest that this gravel bike offers up to 30 mm “travel” at the rear end – the KingPin system is seamlessly integrated.
…the Topstone accelerates willingly from a standstill and out of corners. The suspension system has no noticeable effect on the stiffness around the bottom bracket. Once you’ve got going, the bike efficiently carries speed. It reveals its true strengths especially on fine-grained gravel surfaces, compact forest soils and broken roads, with the frame’s compliance allowing the rider to keep a smooth pedal stroke.”
“It’s clear the bike and the geometry works well on the road, But you want to know what it’s like off the road, don’t you? Once we are diverted off into the woods for our first taste of dirt, the Topstone Carbon feels agile and nimble in the twisting, overgrown singletrack that follows. The bike easily changes direction, arcing from one apex to another.
The freshly graded dirt roads have a surface akin to snowboarding fresh powder, is how Ted King described it in our pre-ride briefing. He wasn’t wrong! The Topstone feels right at home though, It’s stable at higher speeds and feels efficient on the climbs with no flex detectable from the backend at all. Out of the saddle and it’s responsive and eager to make speedy progress, and again no flex can be felt at all. The SAVE handlebar is an ergonomic shape with a hint of vertical flex that helps dissipate some of the vibrations.
At the end of the planned route, a couple of us went and rode some cheeky mountain bike trails, properly twisty with lots of rocks and roots. Terrain where a lightweight 29er full-susser would revel. However, despite being on the ‘wrong’ bike, we were both blown away with how well the Topstone Carbon handled itself, the bike letting us whoop and holler through the woods all smiles and laughter.”
“The Kingpin suspension design is clearly effective, not only taking the edge off bigger hits, but also smoothing out mellower terrain. In general, it offers a noticeably smooth, comfortable, and composed ride that’s well suited to the bike’s go-anywhere, do-anything mission.
Some might lament the subtly sped-up handling on the Topstone Carbon relative to the aluminum Topstone (and many other gravel bikes, for that matter), but I actually prefer it for its more sporting feel. The bike is still pretty stable overall, but there’s a degree of quickness when you want it that I sometimes find lacking in the category.”
“Riding the Topstone Carbon over the rough and cracked tarmac and plentiful gravel roads around Stowe in Vermont at the launch event last week gave us a good scope as to the Topstone’s capabilities.
While many superlatives came and swirled around our heads during the ride, the most obvious one rang out clear and loud; this bike is sublimely smooth. Now this can often be attributed to tyre and wheel setup but in this case it was obvious that something good was going on with the frame. In all honesty I don’t think I’ve ridden a frame that felt quite as comfortable without there being a blatantly obvious disadvantage.
As a whole the Topstone is looking to be a juicy prospect for any rider looking for the one-bike-to-do-it-all quiver killer. The fact that all models share the same frame is also a complete bonus.”
“The minute you get on board Cannondale’s new Topstone you start to experience the smoothness of the leaf-sprung shockless rear end.
I have to admit, I was expecting a mild-amount of bobbing from the rear-end when pedalling seated, especially when climbing, but the Topstone’s back-end was remarkably free of bounce under normal conditions.
When my test loop quickly switched from tarmac to dirt, and the ruts, holes and ridges grew in size, then the Topstone’s back-end started to become active with a brilliant ability to squash and smooth truly poor surfaces with ease.
The steering response hits the sweet spot of balance between agility and stability, and a long, twisting dirt descent on the Topstone was one of the big highlights of my first ride out on the new bike, feeling confident to push the speed up as the bike feels wonderfully planted with the excellent tyres biting on loose surfaces.
My first impressions are very, very positive, and the way in which the Topstone impressed both on- and off-road, feeling Synapse-like on the road (which in my opinion is one of the best endurance bikes available) and up with the best of the current gravel machines around.”
For full information on the Cannondale Topstone Carbon, and for more detail of the individual models: >> range details