Staff Ride: Matt’s Cannondale Topstone Carbon Ultegra RX
“One bike to do it all! Pretty much sums up my Cannondale Topstone! It sounds a bit cliché but it is true.
I have been riding my Topstone for 6 months now. It has been my ‘do everything’ bike. Commuter bike, road bike and gravel/adventure/cross bike (whatever you want to call it!) and it always brings a big smile to my face.
Cannondale are often known for doing something a bit outside the box and their Kingpin Rear Suspension design is no exception, it instantly grabbed my attention, in the same way as the iconic Lefty suspension fork. I live in Cheshire, where the road surface is particularly bad with crater sized potholes and rough tarmac, but it also has many bridleways and green lanes. Perfect! The level of compliance that the bike gives you is fantastic, it tracks the ground well and it doesn’t really add weight as its operation is based around the engineered flex in the carbon frame. Kingpin is only active when the saddle is weighted, so when you stand on the pedals for that bit of extra ‘oomph’ at the end of the climb, there is no efficiency lost through the suspension ‘bob’.
When I got my Topstone I instantly fell in love, it is so comfortable on even the roughest of roads. When commuting to work via the Cheshire back lanes, I no longer feel like I’ve been shaken to pieces by the time I arrive. The Topstone floats through the worst roads and tracks. The Kingpin suspension and wide 38c tyres are to thank for that. Taking to the off-road byways and bridleways it coped very well, despite being on dropped handlebars and feeling like I was on a ‘road bike’ it descends with confidence due to the wider bars and longer wheelbase but also still allows you to be precise on the more technical climbs.
When it gets really muddy there is plenty of frame clearance and the stock 38c WTB tyres shed the mud quickly. On the road the WTB Riddler tyres roll exceptionally well and I can comfortably keep up with people on their road bikes. The Ultegra RX groupset shifts quickly and smoothly with no excessive clunking. The Ultegra RX rear mech doesn’t slap around when off-road thanks to the borrowed mountain bike technology, the clutch mech.
Keeping the bike nice and quiet through all conditions. The Cannondale Spidering is light and just looks great! Even with the stock 46t front chainring I can comfortably average 20mph along the flat when in the smaller cassette sprockets. And when on steep long off-road climbs the 30t chainring gives the gearing that is ready for anything.
I enjoy riding my Topstone so much; using it to ride to work, going on some longer gravel rides into the Peak District along gravel sections on the Manifold Trail, Tissington Trail, sections of the Pennine Bridleway and through welsh forests. My favourite thing is that it has enabled me to explore new routes straight from my door by combining multi-surface routes that previously on a road bike just weren’t possible.
I can’t wait to continue riding this bike in 2020 and maybe try my hand at some bike packing/touring… Watch this space…
I absolutely love how the Topstone adds that extra dimension to road riding, bored of the tarmac? Dive off down a byway. Sick of traffic? Choose the less travelled, quieter back lanes. Need a super comfortable winter road bike? Then this bike is perfect”. – MATT DULEY