With the completely revamped Cannondale Topstone Carbon gravel bike, the bike brand from the USA claim to have found the magic formula: a full-suspension gravel all-round bike that cuts a fine figure in any situation and on any surface. Can this be true?
“We designed the Topstone Carbon as a tool that does it all,” said Nina Baum, Cannondale Product Manager. “Whether it’s the local singletrack, jumping into your first gravel race, or that overnight bikepacking trip turned transcontinental ride, the Topstone begs its rider for new challenges.” With the brand new and completely redesigned Topstone Carbon gravel bike, Cannondale promises us nothing less than a top-class gravel all-rounder and, in the course of this, on closer inspection, it actually presents two bikes at once.
The brand new Topstone Carbon will be available in sizes ranging from XS to XL. The first model is basically an evolution of its predecessor and additionally uses Cannondale’s proprietary SmartSense system. The second model, the Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty and the Topstone Carbon 2 Lefty, is equipped with the Lefty Oliver fork. SmartSense – as already presented on the new Cannondale Synapse (see review) – will be used on the carbon models 1 RLE, 2 L and 3 L. The Topstone will cost between € 2,949 and € 8,999 at the time of its launch, depending on the model. We have summarised the most important information and details for you here.
The models of the Cannondale Topstone Carbon 2022
The Cannondale Topstone Carbon 2022 will be launched in the EU in seven variants – all of them feature the updated carbon frame. In addition, there are five more Topstone models that use the existing frame. The entry into the new Cannondale Topstone Carbon 2022 world is the Topstone Carbon 4, which costs € 2,949. The flagship of the new Cannondale gravel bikes is now the Topstone Carbon 1 RLE. The initialisms in the Topstone Carbon name stand for radar, light and electronic shifting. So an RLE model features all of these. You can find the new models of the Cannondale Topstone Carbon in the table below.
|Model||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 RLE||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 2 Lefty||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 2 L||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 3 L||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 3||Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4|
|Drivetrain||SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 1×12||SRAM Force eTap AXS 1×12||Shimano GRX 810 1×11||Shimano GRX 810 2×11||Shimano GRX 600 2×11||Shimano GRX 600 2×11||Shimano GRX 400 2×10|
|Wheels||HollowGram 22, Carbon||HollowGram 22, Carbon||WTB KOM Light i23 TCS||WTB KOM Light i23 TCS||WTB ST i23 TCS||WTB ST i23 TCS||WTB ST i23 TCS|
|Tires||WTB Raddler TCS Light, 700 x 44C||WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 45C||WTB Raddler TCS Light, 700 x 44C||WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 45C||WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 45C||WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 45C||WTB Riddler Comp, 700 x 45C|
|Extras||Lefty Oliver-Gabel, StrapRack Werkzeughalter||SmartSense mit Licht, Radar||Lefty Oliver-Gabel, StrapRack Werkzeughalter||SmartSense mit Licht||SmartSense mit Licht||StrapRack Werkzeughalter||StrapRack Werkzeughalter|
|Price||€ 8,999||€ 8,999||€ 5,199||€ 5,199||€ 3,399||€ 3,399||€ 2,949|
Cannondale present a model range that – admittedly – seems complex at first glance, but is ultimately somewhat easy to get a grip on. With models 1 and 2, you have the choice between the rowdy performance of the Lefty Oliver fork or the added safety of SmartSense. Model 3 is available with or without SmartSense lighting. And model 4 is SmartSense-ready for future upgrades. Easy, right?
The specifications: what makes the new Topstone Carbon special?
Like its predecessor (see review), the new Topstone Carbon 2022 is equipped with the in-house KingPin suspension. It has been fundamentally revised, is more streamlined now and is supposed to be more durable, and at the same time 100 g lighter than the first generation. But what is KingPin anyway? With up to 30 mm of travel, the KingPin system is supposed to be the key to more comfort and traction. Due to the special carbon layup in the top tube and seat tube, the front triangle flexes under load. The seat and chain stays react in the same way due to their increased vertical compliance, with a joint integrated into the seat tube serving as a pivot point. The adjustment of the tube dimensions for each frame size – Proportional Response in Cannondale’s own words – promises optimal performance of the maintenance-free system for riders of different sizes.
Another key feature of the new gravel bike is the compatibility of the Lefty Oliver suspension fork with 700C wheels. Unlike the new fork, the predecessor (see review) could only be combined with 650B wheels. Overall, a lot has changed in terms of tire clearance. The gravel bike is approved for tires up to 45 mm in width and can even accommodate tires up to 27.5″ x 2.1″ to allow for even more flexibility in making the configuration all yours.
The Topstone Carbon is equipped with SmartSense, an intelligent light and radar system from Cannondale that actively communicates with the rider, the bike and the environment and it is powered by one battery. The system is designed to improve both rider’s perception and bike’s visibility. In European countries, SmartSense is sold with StVZO-compliant lights, which makes them road legal in Germany. All Topstone Carbon bikes are SmartSense ready and also prepared for the use of a dropper seat post.
Geometry of the new Cannondale gravel bike
Cannondale has adjusted the geometry of the new Topstone Carbon to accommodate the wider tyres and keep the handling at its usual intuitive level. Additional geometry changes include a lower standover height and a lower bottom bracket height. Both are intended to provide even more confidence. The geometry of the Topstone Carbon can be found in the table below.
|Top tube||533 mm||544 mm||557 mm||572 mm||587 mm|
|Seat tube||410 mm||458 mm||505 mm||553 mm||590 mm|
|Head tube||105 mm||123 mm||150 mm||177 mm||205 mm|
|Chainstay||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,010 mm||1,013 mm||1,029 mm||1,044 mm||1,061 mm|
|Reach||371 mm||377 mm||383 mm||390 mm||397 mm|
|Stack||534 mm||551 mm||574 mm||600 mm||624 mm|
Our opinion on the new Cannondale Topstone Carbon 2022
Cannondale finally provide their gravel all-rounder with the eagerly awaited update: more tire clearance! With the release of the Oliver suspension fork for 700C wheels, the range of use is further increased. Another reason to be excited about this launch is the implementation of the SmartSense system. For us, the new Topstone Carbon is a very promising all-round gravel concept – on paper – and we can hardly wait for the first test!
For more information head over to cannondale.com
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Words: Photos: Cannondale