Smooth. That one word can sum up my first three rides on my new incognito racing machine. Over the past three days I have been able to put about 100 miles on the bike, ranging from easy, leisurely riding to fast, intense criterium racing.
Before I delve into the details I’ll offer a short backstory. Prior to receiving my new Cannondale Supersix EVO Red with ENVE SES 6.7 clincher wheels, I was riding a 2007 Orbea Onix equipped with Sram Rival drivetrain and various upgrades that typically accompany a bike that is six years old. Throughout those six years it has treated me wonderfully even though I offered it a lot of abuse in return. It has endured multiple crashes but always came out looking better than me. 35,000 miles later though, it began to show its age, and coupled with the wonderful cycling disease called upgraditis, I decided to take the plunge.
My first two rides on Friday and Saturday were difficult. I was coming off of six days of riding and probably needed a day off but how can one let a brand new bike sit in the corner just staring at me, teasing me? Of course I gave in. I just told myself to keep the rides short and relatively easy so I could be as fresh as possible for Sunday’s race. By taking it easier and slower I was able to pay closer attention to the smaller details and feelings.
The first difference I noticed (or should I say great improvement?) was the experience offered by the Sram Red components. Having used Sram previously I thought I knew what to expect but now everything happened so much smoother, quicker, and with less effort. The most remarkable improvement came from the buttery smooth and fast yaw front derailleur. Combine this with the highly-adjustable shifters and their short, responsive throws and you come away with an awesome drivetrain.
The second difference I felt was the Supersix EVO’s ability to offer a less-jarring ride over rough roads. This became apparent riding on Lakeshore Drive north of Highland, adjacent to Concordia College. This section of road have become quite bumpy and torn up over the past few years due to the continual construction at Concordia. In the past I often found myself avoiding this section of road altogether, often resorting to roads with more traffic. My first trip over this road on my Supersix EVO was quite different. I’m not going to lie, it still felt bumpy, but it wasn’t jarring anymore. The road is bearably to me again. I am no bicycle frame engineer but I believe this can be credited to Cannondale’s SPEED SAVE fork and micro-suspension rear stays.
Finally, I just had to take the Supersix EVO up Beach Drive. For those unfamiliar, Beach Drive is a short, punchy climb with a 6.5% average gradient over 0.3 miles. Even though I purposely withheld any taxing efforts, I could still feel the difference from my Orbea. The Supersix EVO felt snappier and more responsive to quick jumps out of the saddle. There was no longer a lag or lull in response time. Again, if I were to guess, I would say this is the result of the much wider BB30 bottom bracket, Sram Red carbon crank, and the bike weighing 2.5 pounds less than my Orbea. Whatever the cause is I’ll take it.
Come Sunday, to say I was excited to race Wheels on Willy in Madison would be an understatement. I was also hesitant. Did I really want to risk putting my brand new, 3-day old bike, in harm’s way of a Cat 4/5 crit race? Good or bad, that hesitation was short-lived. The Supersix EVO just felt great throughout the entire race. Smooth, exceptionally fast, and fun to ride. I even won my first ever prime! Hopefully this is the start to a long and successful history with my Supersix EVO.
I don’t mean to sound like an advert found in a cycling magazine but I honestly have not found one criticism yet after my first three days. Combine the Supersix EVO Red with a Retul biking fitting from Nick at Belgianwerkx and I would bet everyone would be in the same position I am right now: quite happy and very satisfied.
Jadon is a Cat 4/5 road racer for Belgianwerkx who is returning to competition after a few years away from the race scene with a focus on criteriums and road races. In 2013 he is learning the nuances of crit racing having previously focused most of his racing on hill climb events in his former home of Colorado.