Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cannondale Supersix 3: First Ride Report

Picked up the new bike from Mineola Bike yesterday afternoon in the middle of a freak October snow storm. In the shop, on the trainer during the BG Fit with Barry, watching the snow and rain pelting outside, I didn't expect to be out on the road with the bike for at least another week. This morning, woke up early to icy roads and high winds. MBC group ride cancelled. Went back for a few more minutes of sleep, then out for a 2.5 mile run with Linda. Sunny, clear blue skies, and the roads starting to clear, I decided to get kitted up for the inaugural ride on the Supersix. I was anxious to see how it handled, see how "smooth" a carbon ride really is, and especially to see how I would feel in a completely new riding position. Here are my impressions after one 40 mile ride.

Frame/Fork: 2012 Cannondale Supersix 3 Ultegra. 54 cm carbon versus my old 56 cm aluminum. Ride quality is superb! The carbon really does soak up the road vibrations. BB30 bottom bracket is really stiff. Very noticeable when standing to climb, no shimmy in the cranks or rear wheel.. Shaped tubes are bigger than steel and aluminum (especially the HUGE downtube) but overall I think the bike has good lines.

Groupset: Tried and true Shimano Ultegra 6700 10 speed. Full groupset (including chain) except for the crank. Shift levers and hoods are differently shaped than the 105 9 speed I am used to but still comfortable. Smooth operating and shifting as expected. Cassette is Ultegra 12-25. I may switch to a cassette with 11 for racing next spring since I am running a compact 50/34 crank. Need to work out the gear inches compared to what I could get on the triple to make sure I can get up big hills of the Highlander. Just need time in the saddle to get used to 2x10 gears instead of 3x9.

Crank/Pedals: FSA SL-K 50/34 compact carbon crank. Was concerned about possible flex in the carbon arms but sure felt stiff enough to me. BB30 system has many theoretical benefits: lighter (hollow spindle, no external cups), stiff 30 mm diameter hollow spindle, more widely spaced bearings, low Q factor. I had no problems so I guess it is doing its job! Bearings seem more exposed than on some other systems so will keep an eye on them. Should be easy to replace in a few years if needed. Went with Shimano R-540 pedals. These are the low end of Shimano's road race line but I've used them for years with ZERO problems. Also, same ones on the Specialized so no issues in switching bikes and using the same shoes. Not light but durable, dependable, and good value for the price.

Saddle: Fizik Arione with magnesium rails. Basically the same saddle I've used the last 3 years and have been happy with. Seems less padded than my old Arione and lacks the brushed leather center strip. Was fine after one ride. I think it should break in a little more after some more rides. Has the same integrated saddle bag clip system as my other Fizik, which is a plus.

Bars/Stem/Seatpost: Aluminum bars (44 cm) and stem (100 mm). As per my BG fit, recommendation was for 42 cm bars and 90 mm stem. I felt fine with the current setup and think I will keep it as is. Especially when riding in the drops, I don't want the bars any closer. Carbon seatpost, no issues. BG fit says I could be a little more forward in my saddle position but I am already as far forward as the seatpost allows and I'm happy where it is. Sometimes I feel like I would like the saddle further back but I think I need a few more rides to decide.

Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium Equipe came with the bike and seem to be a solid set of training wheels. Low end of the Ksyrium line, aluminum rims, bladed straight-pull spokes. The wheels are on the heavy side, but hopefully should be durable enough for LI roads. I might try switching in my Easton Circuits at some point if they are compatible with 10 speed cassette. Race wheels will have to wait a while, I've blown the bike budget for now.

Overall ride impression, very positive (of course). Very smooth ride. Like buttah! The bike feels light and launches when standing on the pedals. I could not discern any "bounce" in the carbon seat stays. I was warned about this possibility for heavier riders but I could not feel anything, maybe was an issue for pre-2012 models. Riding on the hoods, very comfortable in my new position. Not stretched out as much when reaching for the shift levers. Took longer to get used to lower position in the drops but by the end of the ride it was feeling very comfortable. Cleat position changed significantly. Finally, my feet are pointed straight and knees feel okay. Will take some miles for the muscles to acclimate, I didn't feel like I had 100% power but it may have been the wind on the ride today. Will be interesting to see how I feel on the next group ride. I SHOULD be in a more efficient pedaling stance so we will see how things feel after a few more rides. Plenty of gearing to get myself over the LI-style "hills".

Bike looks killer and the ride is great. Looking forward to putting the miles on!