Cannondale has launched its new Topstone, making some key changes to its current best gravel bike in order to make it capable of dealing with the increasingly rough nature of gravel and adventure riding we are seeing.
We have already had a glimpse of the bike in person as Cannondale had it on show at Core Bike 2022 although they wouldn't let us snap any pictures. At first glance, it doesn't look like a whole lot has changed with Cannondale's full-suspension gravel format. However, Cannondale says the Topstone Carbon has had a 'complete refresh'.
The 30mm of suspension at the rear remains the same however the Kingpin system, which uses flex in the rear triangle to offer compliance, has been refined. While Cannondale doesn't provide specifics, it claims to have streamlined the system reducing the weight by 100g and improving durability presumably in regards to the pivot connection between the seat stays and seat tube.
The previous Topstone Carbon was somewhat limited by the wheel and tire options. Previously only the carbon forked bikes came with 700c wheels, with the Lefty Oliver forked bikes coming with 650b. The Lefty Oliver tire clearance has now been increased so all Topstone Carbon bikes will come with 700c wheels and enough space to clear a 45mm tire. If you prefer 650b, tire clearance has also grown to a chunky 2.1in.
Geometry has been tweaked in order to add stability and control by lowering standover and bottom bracket height. The Topstone still features Cannondale's Proportional Response size-specific construction which should maintain the same ride-feel across all frame sizes.
Interestingly Cannondale has opted to forego the Ai spacing which is featured on many of its other bikes. Instead they have opted to use dropped seat stays to achieve the desired tire clearances on the TopStone Carbon. It also simplifies replacing rear wheels in an adventure scenario as well as they don't need to be re-dished to account for the Ai offset.
Cannondale has also added its SmartSense technology to the TopStone which was debuted on the recently released Synapse road bike. The system is designed to help keep riders safer on the road and features lights and radar which are run from a single frame-mounted battery. All Topstone Carbon frames are compatible with the system and it is fitted as standard on the Topstone Carbon 1 RLE, 2L, and 3L. If you don't wish to run the SmartSense system, the mounting point can be repurposed as a place to strap a spare tube or tools.
Cannondale Topstone Carbon builds and pricing
There are nine models to choose from that span a broad range of use cases. The Topstone 1 and 2 come in both Lefty and RLE rigid carbon fork options with the Topstone 2L featuring the SmartSense system. The Lefty models are all specced as 1x drivetrains whereas the RLE bikes all get a double.
Following that there is the Topstone 3L with a carbon fork and SmartSense system, the 3 without the SmartSense as well as 650b versions of those two bikes. Lastly, the base Topstone 4 comes with a carbon fork and without SmartSense. These models are only available with 2x drivetrains.
Five sizes, from XS to XL, are available and builds range from $3,200/£2,800 to $7,800/£8,000. Full details on pricing and specs can be found on Cannondale.com. (opens in new tab)