Capability and Affordability with the Cannondale Topstone All Road

A few years ago, the disparity between road bikes, disc road bikes, and all-road bikes was very high. It was hard to find a disc road bike or all-road that had hydraulic brakes, clearance for 42mm tires, and extra bottle bosses for under $3,000. In the last year, the amount of all-road models on the market has increased drastically, which is great for the consumer! Bigger brands who typically address racing have looked to expand into all-road, gravel, and adventure platforms. Even Cannondale has thrown their hat in the ring with the affordable Topstone. I can’t help but think about how a bike like this would have blown the market apart a few years ago but how does it stack up against the already hefty list of options out there?

Affordability

With bikes breaching the $10,000 mark in Cannondale’s catalog, suddenly a $2,100 complete with a SRAM Apex 1 kit and hydro brakes look affordable. Yet within that pricepoint, many brands have similar bikes, made from either aluminum or steel. The trippy part is, typically the $2,100 option is the lowest end model, with a mix of parts. The Topstone turns that upside down with the $2,100 model being the highest end under the name, with a complete SRAM Apex 1 kit, and includes a dropper post. The lowest end Topstone comes in at $1,050 with a Sora kit. In between is a Topstone 105 kit for $1,750. I had reverse sticker shock when I saw these prices and after I rode the Topstone for a few weeks, I was in even more shock!

Identity Crisis

Don’t take this is a necessarily negative thing but the Topstone is in the midst of an identity crisis. Typically, when a bike is marketed as an adventure or gravel bike, it will clear a large tire size. Large, by today’s standards, usually falls around 45mm for 700c wheels or 47mm for 650b. The Topstone has clearance for 42mm tires. In my opinion, this one detail made me scratch my head a bit. With an aluminum frame, would a 42mm tire soften the ride enough? Also, why does Cannondale call a 42mm a “high volume” tire? In 2012 or 2013, this would for sure be the case, but in 2019, high volume usually denotes a tire in the mid to upper 40’s, not the lowest end.

That said, the Topstone does have extra bottle bosses, rack mounts, fender mounts. You name it! With a geometry that’s tuned for off-road riding, with a head angle of 71º, a seat angle of 73.1º, 6.5 trail, and a bottom bracket drop of 7.5, it looks good on paper too. The geometry numbers are there, resulting in a snappy and responsive feel. That combined with the 40mm WTB Nanos provided a ride quality where if I turned off my preconceived notions of what “high volume” means, I barely noticed the frame material or the seemingly small rubber.

On paper, the Topstone can be a head-scratcher, but the ride quality quickly proves that yes, a 40mm tire really is enough for dirt road riding. If you want to push its capabilities, even more, there’s a dropper post.

Dropper like it Hot

Last week, I was hanging out in a bike shop, where the mechanic was building a popular company’s disc road bike, setting up the dropper post. It took him all afternoon to get it set up, since the setup specs weren’t consistent, and other parts of the system weren’t working as delivered. This happens, but after a day’s worth of work, he hit the dropper lever to see the saddle drop a measly 2cm. We both laughed and lamented the attempt by this company to make a “rowdy road bike.”

So when I showed him the Topstone, I expected a cynical comment. Yet with its +/-2.5″ of dropper travel, the Topstone’s post makes more sense, when compared. I’ve seen a number of dropper posts on stock bikes, but the Topstone’s dropper is hardly an attempt, it’s one of the best integrations I’ve seen and it’s so simple. With a cable lever mounted below the left brake lever, it takes a bit to get used to, but functions without error. It just takes a bit to get used to the presence of something in that space under the brake lever.

+/-2.5″ isn’t a lot of travel for a dropper post, if it were a mountain bike, but on a road bike, that puts the saddle just enough out of the way to help with steep and technical descents. Plus, remember, this a $2,100 bike, so getting an added bonus like a dropper is a hat tip in the right direction. Still, it does feel a little weird to have a dropper on a bike with a 40mm tire.

Ride Quality

While I’ve only ridden this bike on mixed terrain road rides, the Topstone clearly has capabilities for lightweight tours or bikepacking trips. In the past, I’ve been turned off to aluminum as a frame material, but modern aluminum, with the right tire combo, results in a pleasant ride. To be honest, I tried to force myself to feel the chatter of aluminum, on washboard descents and was pleasantly surprised at the ride quality. The tires weren’t even set up tubeless! Now, this isn’t a steel versus aluminum issue, because most production steel bikes are over-engineered to pass safety standards. This results in heavy tubing that rides completely differently than a handmade steel frame, using lighter-weight tubing.

Production steel and handmade steel are two different ride qualities and you can’t get handmade lightweight steel for this price point. In my experience with the Topstone or other production steel bikes, I really can’t tell the difference, until you pick it up. The Topstone weighs around 23lbs for the size large I reviewed, with the dropper and it rides like a 23lb bike. It has a carbon fork and alloy components. Other than the fork, there isn’t a lick of carbon componentry on it. You could easily shave even more weight off it with carbon wheels and a carbon cockpit or cranks. That’s impressive and puts this bike up a few notches in the desirability category. Honestly, the Topstone performed as well as other bikes I’ve ridden in this realm, carbon, steel, whatever.

Take Away

When you compare the Topstone on paper to competitor’s offerings, it looks a little under-equipped with its 42mm tire clearance. Most all-road bikes fit a 45mm tire and in aluminum, it would be easy to max out the clearance a little more. For what you get however, the Topstone is a great value. If you’re a roadie who wants to dip their toes in dirt a bit, the Topstone provides a familiar ride, in an affordable platform. Or if you’re a mountain biker, looking to get into gravel riding, the dropper post will add a familiar feel on descents. With build options ranging from $1,050 to $2,100, the Topstone hits a variety of budgets, on a capable platform that rides like a rocket and won’t break your back on a hike a bike.

See more information on the Topstone and its available build kits at Cannondale.

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  • planning_nerd

    Frame looks similar to a CAAD until you see the lumpy misshapen seat cluster.

    I so want to like this bike but the workmanship is poor. Pass.

    • That’s jus the aero shaped top tube intersecting with the seat tube cluster. All their bikes are like that. The welds on this thing are exceptional, I don’t know what you’re talking about. A well respected aluminum welder who works on $100,000 trophy trucks came into the shop and was nerding out on the craftsmanship of this bike.

      • planning_nerd

        go look at the seat cluster on a CAAD, seriously.

        • I have. I don’t see the difference. There were Synapse Alloy and CAADs in the bike shop the other day. They all have the same detailing… and are all within the same pricepoint. I’m not sure where you’re getting this “poor” workmanship thing from. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          I honestly don’t want to argue this matter. It’s not my bike. I have nothing invested in it, or this review, but I do try to be fair and I don’t see your critique as being fair. BUT it’s your opinion and I respect it.

          • planning_nerd

            the welds on the CAAD are honed with a rotary tool after welding to make them smooth. cannondale is famous for this. the topstone doesn’t have this..

          • Oh the welds? I thought you were talking about the tubing intersections and mitres? Who cares about ground smooth welds? Well, you do. I don’t. When you said misshapen, that leads me to think about construction, not finishing. One is a “performance” road bike with 25mm tires and one is an all-road bike with 40mm. Within Cannondale’s spectrum, it’s apples to oranges IMO. They probably sell way more CAADs than Topstones too, which could be the reason for the ground down welds and extra finishing. Plus roadies tend to be a bit more finicky…

          • planning_nerd

            Absolutely I care….as do most old school cannondale fans. that’s not who this bike is for, I get it. its just disappointing.

          • planning_nerd

            apparently cannondale ditched the smooth weld treatment on their low end alu frames a few years ago

            https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=93188

          • The fact that it’s an article on Weight Weenies completely solidifies my point about who this bike is for and who the CAAD is for. BTW, they never ground their welds, IIRC. It’s a different technique.

          • planning_nerd

            I didn’t say grind, I said hone, they use a rotary flex hone tool. This distinction matters.

            The guy in the thread mistakenly says they ‘sand down’ the welds.

          • Jared Jerome

            I think you need to let this go. You don’t like the way the welds look, we get it.

          • Francisco Alvarez

            I can’t believe this went on for so long! The comments are like something straight out of BR!

          • Tons of discussions go on like this on bike reviews here on the Radavist. ;-)

          • Phil Rooney

            Cannondale isn’t famous for that. They have never filed or ground welds, your information is wrong. They’re smooth right off the torch, double pass welded using more of a puddle weld technique.

          • I was gonna say, I didn’t think they ever ground them down.

          • Linh Nguyen

            Cannondale did used to sand their welds down as a signature finish to their aluminum bikes. The marketing stated that this was to eliminate “stress risers” that could exist when the welds were not smooth. It might have started as a puddle but they definitely enhanced it even more. Haters would say it was to blend in all the filler from bad miters. They haven’t done this since they stopped making bikes in Pennsylvania years ago and this is a completely different company altogether the way I see it.

          • Yeah, the “sanding” is with an emory cloth. It doesn’t shape the welding location, it just removes any burrs, etc.

          • AdamBike99

            In 2007, I was fortunate enough to stand in a welding stall with one of C’dale’s welders at their Bedford, PA manufacturing facility. I can confirm the TIG/MIG hybrid method (the wire feeder was in his other hand just like a single wire would be held during typical TIG welding) and they definitely utilized double pass welding techniques to flow out the “stack of dimes” into a more fluid form (like a fillet brazed steel bike) at tube junctions. The welder spoke to me about it when I asked specifically about this technique and he also said they do not file/grind/sand their welds. I also got to break a frame in their warranty/testing lab! 8-)

          • Linh Nguyen

            I 100% believe you but 2007 was not that long ago in my book. I am going back to the late 80s and early 90s where Cannondale catalogs depicted a workers hand sanding down welds. This was before the CAAD numbering convention even started. It would not surprised me if it changed as it was more expensive (or just marketing fluff).

          • Linh Nguyen

            Not to add to this too much because I don’t think it even matters quality wise but I just found this old thread from MTBR. You really have to be an old geek to care but it was a thing.

            https://forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retro-classic/old-cannondale-welds-what-228638.html

            Cannondale was THE brand for me in the 90s so I admit to following changes a little too closely.

          • Lance Biddle

            This Cannondale magazine from 1987 mentions the treatment of welds. Check out page 4-5 “So we hired frame finishers to meticulously sand every weld on every bike.”

          • Sanding welds is common. It removes burs, etc. So is sand blasting. Especially if you’re painting the bikes (sanding removes oils, etc) but grinding the welds to a smooth finish is not.

        • m burdge

          If you are looking at value for dollar, a slightly gobby but solid weld isn’t a big deal really. those stack of dimes welds on a Potts are no good to you if you will never be able to afford it. The TIG welds on my Surly are merely serviceable, but I spent a decade on that thing having a blast. It’s a means/ends distinction: Are elegant welds the means of your enjoyment, or the end? If the end–the objective–is to have pretty welds, get yourself some wall hooks for a handbuilt bike and nerd out. But if what you want is to go places and have fun doing it, who cares if the welds look like toothpaste? (even though they don’t on this bike)

    • AaronBenjamin

      Cannondale has been making aluminum bikes for a very, very long time and I feel they know what they are doing. If the end result is ugly to you, nobody is forcing you to ride them.

  • m burdge

    I appreciate you featuring more affordable bikes in the lineup. More folks on versatile bikes is always a good thing, and highlighting good examples of journeyman equipment promotes inclusion in bike cultures. And as much as I love handmade bikes, a big part of the social power of bikes is the affordable, democratic nature of a mass-produced machine that is available for many. I look forward to more galleries of well-put together examples of affordable production-based bicycles.

    • For sure! This bike surprised me too.

    • Definitely check out Fairdale’s Weekender and Weekender Nomad. There are fantastic do-almost everything bikes with good componentry and good price points.

      • Yes they are.

      • m burdge

        cool. I was able to build myself a new bike last year, and I got a Black Mountain MCD, which ticks all the boxes for style, craftsmanship, and relative affordability.

        • I love those Black Mountains. Solid bikes!

  • Zen Turtle

    How is this different than a low end Synapse? I could get 30c/38c combo on it.
    And for 1k more you can get a Thesis OB1 full carbon, with carbon wheels and dropper.

    • The Synapse is a road geometry with less clearance and a bit tighter overall. It doesn’t have rack or fender mounts, nor the extra bottle bosses. It’s 105 with a double versus Apex 1x too. When it comes down to pricepoint, $1,000 is a lot of money… The difference between $2,100 and $3,100 puts you in Sequoia Expert and Trek Checkpoint territory.

  • tylerphinton

    Cannondale’s official – and I’m guessing conservative – stated 700c tire clearance for this frame is 42mm. From your experience, do you think there’s room for more? Maybe 45s?

    • Nah, their official is 40mm tire clearance. I asked to be 100% sure. You could probably fit some 42mm models in there, but there’s not much room for error in terms of mud or wheel true.

      • tylerphinton

        That’s lame then that their website says it has clearance up to 42mm wide.

  • Owen P

    Wow, the tire clearance is disappointing. My 8 year old caadx had more clearance. Hopefully they’ll change it soon cause otherwise it’s a sweet bike

  • m burdge

    “It has a carbon fork and alloy components. There isn’t a lick of carbon on it.” ummm…

    • Sorry! I’ll fix that.

    • AdamBike99

      Well, the fork didn’t taste like carbon…
      hahaha

  • CTDSAC

    2-1/2″ of saddle drop is plenty on a drop bar bike like this. I install a dropper on my Ritchey for Grinduro each year and it is a game changer for the 2 descending stages. However, if I drop the post down all the way (approx. 4″) it is way too low to be useful. I like to use my inner leg against the saddle to help steer and stabilize so I find myself only dropping a couple inches anyway. The 40mm rubber is plenty for almost everything these bikes will see, lean back, stay loose and send it. Just my $.02

    • Agreed! I am reviewing a bike with a full dropper and having the saddle down that low with dropbars is kind of unnecessary. You also lose the ability to lean on the saddle when cornering.

      • Terry Dean

        i’ve never used a dropper before, but can’t you kinda only half drop it? or is it up or down only?

        • Samuel Jackson

          most can be dropped incrementally

  • perpetualBeta

    Been riding the Topstone since October. Based on roaming around on Northern New England ST/dirt/roads for about 2000 km it has a smooth ride, similar to steel with a carbon fork. It has the new full carbon fork that is also used on the 2019 CAADX. It fits 45mm 700c tires d/o rim/tire combo. I have been riding the 105 version with 650bx47 SBH on carbon rims. Clearance all around 7mm or more. Weighs now 20 lbs with carbon hoops and different saddle. Did I mention BSA bb? That along with all the braze-on’s convinced me. Crank may be upgraded at some point. Hit me up with questions.

    • How wide are your 27.5 rims? Mine were too wide to text the 47mm tire out.

      • perpetualBeta

        Stan’s Valor Pro – 21.6 internal.

        As another data point for tire size: Enough clearance to run 700cc x 40 (stock Nano’s) with fenders.

        • Ah that would explain it. Mine are 27mm wide internal. Quite the difference. The 47mm tire I was trying (WTB Byway) wouldn’t fit.

          • perpetualBeta

            hmm. The 48 SBH measure 48 on my rims. As I have a lot of space around it, your WTB must be ginormous on those MTB rims. My frame is L.

            Only mentioning size as C’dales are known to have different clearances d/o size. E.g., my CAAD10 fits 30 tires vs a team mate can barely fit 25s in his.

          • Doug

            must mean they have multiple suppliers for their frame and forks for the same model.

      • perpetualBeta
        • Terry Dean

          rad bike, but i’d be nervous riding around with your skewer pointed forward like that on the front wheel!

    • Superpilot

      The 105 version is exactly the bike I have been looking at as my quiver killer – disced and fendered commuter, cross, rando, touring, gravel do-it all. Can you tell me what the range is on the gearing, is it enough for touring, and for road bunch rides in the rain? I pray they make it to my neck of the woods..

      • perpetualBeta

        46/30 x 11/34

    • Brett

      Any issue with bottom bracket height using 650bx47??

      • perpetualBeta

        No. Diameter of SBH on valor rims is 5mm less than the Nano’s on the stock rims, hence the bb drops by 2.5mm.
        Not noticeable.

        • Brett

          Awesome thanks for the info!

  • bicyclecrumbs

    in 1983 Cannondale made backpacks and the stitching was top notch, in 2019 how could the stitching not be the same?

  • Jaime Foriscot

    Do you noticed its a big bike talking about sizing? Here in Spain some people say that S size looks like a M etc.

    Also do you think its a light bike to make some road rides? It seems its a bit “muscle bike”, isn’t it?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Yeah, I was going to say this in the review but I feel like the geometry chart gets the idea across. I usually ride with a L or an XL or a 58cm. This felt like a big size large.

      In terms of being too much bike for a road ride, we still have to ride 7 miles or so to get to the dirt here in LA, so all bikes have to be able to pedal on paved roads and dirt. I don’t think it’s too much bike for road rides, even set up like this. It might not be good on rides where people attack and rip each other’s legs off but it works fine as a normal disc road bike.

      • Jaime Foriscot

        Thank you so much for your comments!
        I’ll just be carefull choosing the right size, as im always a M man (173cms height).

        • I always base my size off of reach. It’s the easiest IMO.

          • Jaime Foriscot

            At least my bike fiter recommends me a M, But getting short the reach with stem or bars. The down is in Spain there’s no more 105’s… Amazing. No more bikes and we are in january.

    • Chris Hayes

      Sizing: I have a medium 105 Topstone. And previously ran a Crosscheck 56cm. I’m just under 6′. Top tube is lower on the Topstone, but reach is similar – maybe fractionally less…

      Seems light to me (its all relative right? – I’m 93KG). Surges fwd out the saddle like the Surly never did. May not be a fair competition there though. Gobbles up the road miles.

  • John Casteel

    How do you think this compares to the new Ribble CGR (pick your frame material of choice!)

    • I’ve never even heard of Ribble until your comment.

    • Ryan Maynard Eames

      I would go with a steel gcr!

    • Jake B Sorensen

      Love the concept of this bike Cross/Gravel/Road! Looks like a really fun bike with loads of options! As one that rides a cross bike as a road bike and gravel bike I don’t know why more companies don’t market bikes like this. N+1 sells I guess.

  • I remember being confused by this bike when it was first mentioned here, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. I agree about the clearence. In truth though, I just don’t like riding aluminium frames. Steel, or carbon. Maybe if they offered a full carbon bare frame option for a similar entry price, I would be interested. But there are other options out there for such prices, so there still isn’t an overly compelling reason to drop cash, for me. But I can certainly get behind the idea that with the available options and price points, this still represents a good purchase for a lot of people. Good looking bike, none the less.

    • Totally! It’s not my bag (aluminum), but for what it is, it impressed me and I’m sure people are stoked on it.

      • perpetualBeta

        I think associating a material with certain ride characteristics is flawed. Design and tube choices yes, material no.

        My old Gaulzetti Corsa had a more steely ride than my Sachs, and a custom Zanconato alloy can roll like a steel Peg.

        • And I strongly disagree. Especially when you’re dealing with a frame designed by a big corporation. You may have a point, to a degree, if you’re dealing with a bespoke frame that’s built for you. Obviously, that’s not what this is. Cheers.

        • Yeah, I don’t agree. Aluminum is usually oversized, which is going to ride differently than steel. I’m surprised to hear the Gaulzetti rode more like steel than a Sachs. I’ve ridden both maker’s bikes and the Gaulzetti was too rough of a ride on 28mm tires and chipseal roads. The Sachs however…

          • matt hew

            This discussion is funny, everyone is correct, because frame material AND design AND tube choice all influence the ride. So does just about everything else on a bicycle (see Jan Heine’s commitment to the extralight inner tube)! And that doesn’t even begin to consider different human bodies! There ain’t no one reason for anything, it’s always a combo, cuz, ya know, shit is complicated and all that. A lot of us have straddled a steel bike that rode like shit, and a lot of us have been surprised at the performance of the occasional high-quality aluminum bike.

            In the end, as we know, it comes down to personal preference when making any decision (but for us, especially bikes), and that’s why I like John’s reviews: he gives his 2
            cents in relationship to his own preferences, and offers enough detail and consideration for someone to weigh them against their own taste.

  • Ben Lubin

    This is obviously paid promotion.

    • No, it’s not. It’s a very standard bike review. Here’s how it works. A person from Cannondale contacts media and asks if they’d like to review the Topstone. They either say yes or no. The bike arrives in a giant box where all you’ve got to do is turn the bars straight and put on pedals. You ride the bike for a few weeks and then shoot photos and review it. The media company benefits from the review because people like to read reviews or look at photos, or argue about welds. Traffic is good for websites and reviews bring in traffic. Our ads are subscription-based, not based on traffic per-se, if our traffic is bonkers, we don’t make more money, if it dips for a bit, we still make the same each month.

      Bottom line: we don’t get paid for reviews, or posting content. If we do for some reason, we have to disclose it legally. If you’d like to see this written elsewhere, it’s in the drop-down in the “About section”.

      • Ryan Maynard Eames

        So you only benefit from subscribers and not just regular visitors?

        • No, we don’t have “subscribers” in terms of site users or visitors. Our ads are bought / paid for on a monthly basis – that’s what “subscription ads” mean. The company pays for an ad spot per month.

          Most sites sell ads on CPM or impression based. Those sites also tend to pad their impressions by having galleries that reload their entire page with each image. We use JavaScript so when you open a gallery and click through, it’s only one impression, versus the reload galleries are 30+ impressions.

  • David_Le_Dru

    Thanks for the review, John. I’ve been attracted to this bike since I first heard about it a few weeks ago.
    When I read the USD price I thought “hey, I remembered a steeper price than that… Ah but well, as often, we get screwed here in Europe : it’s €2,200 in France, which is about $2,500. Shame.
    Say, you don’t mention anything about the gears : is one ring enough on regular roads ? I don’t use the big one much on my Sora-equipped Genesis gravel bike, but it’s handy sometimes. What did you think about the SRAM kit ?

    • The 10-42t cassette is great for road and dirt road riding, especially if you can muster the 42t front ring. I like to run a 38t front ring with 27.5″ wheels and 47mm tires. It gives me the possibility to climb our 15-18% dirt grades, while still being able to pedal efficiently on the flats.

      • David_Le_Dru

        It does. Cheers John.

      • WheelNut

        Just wanted to make a small correction- The Topstone comes spec’d with a 11-42 cassette not a 10-42. A 10-42 cassette would require a hub with a more expensive XD driver.

        Lovely photos in this review as always. Also, its nice to see bike painted a decent colour.

    • Jake B Sorensen

      I have the Apex 1x with 11-42 and a 40t front ring. I have only been dropped on one very quick road ride due to gearing and also my fitness. All in all I’m happy with it and do not miss my old 105 double at all. Great on road and on dirt.

  • Joe Umbrell

    I’m on the wagon of good to have affordable bikes on here. Even the low Sora equipped bike has decent components. Nice to see that they aren’t offering an 8 speed friction on the low basement model..

  • mark rothschild

    $1097.00 for Base Model Sora…throw a M8000 XT rear Derailleur on for $69.00,(Universal Cycles)…

    • AaronBenjamin

      Or you could support your local bike shop. Also, that shifter doesn’t work with that derailleur.

      • It does with a Tanpan… pretty common and your bike shop could set it up to work perfectly. I’d like to encourage people to buy from their local shops, but it’s an uphill battle. Rather, the shop would probably take labor fees over nothing.

        • crbikes

          Sora is 9s, Wolftooth only offers Tanpans to match Shimano 10 and 11 with their respective MTB derailleurs. The cable pull is pretty close but it is different enough that I wouldn’t call them compatible.

    • Francesco

      Why would you need to change the derailleur ?

  • Davey Struthers

    The fender doodler down the bottom is thoughtful

    • Peter Chesworth

      indeed. Lumpy welds compared to my geriatric R600. Would like to see how fenders attach to fork crown and seat stays. Not a fan of daruma.

  • Brett

    This and the Slate would be so high on my list if they had more tire clearance! Tried a Slate the other day and it was great, just really wish I could fit 650bx47 on it.

    • Doug

      Slate does fit 650bx47. Buddy of mine runs with the WTB Horizons. That said, if you riding in the UK or PNW in a lot of muck, that clearance might disappear very quickly.

      • Brett

        Hmmm dry southwest here so not much mud to speak of. I saw one slate with horizons but clearance looked next to nothing. Just seems like they could have done more to really give these bikes clearance.

        • I agree, the Slate and the Topstone would benefit from 50mm of clearance, minimum. That way you can still put a double on the bike and fit a 47mm tire.

      • Ryan Maynard Eames

        Horizon 47mm catches a front mech if you use one, there is naff all clearance, need to be able to get a 50mm in there + mud room

      • Yeah just saw a Slate with WTB Byways yesterday on the stock rims.

    • AaronBenjamin

      If you need more than 47s on your road bike, might I suggest a mountain bike?

      • Dude. Come on… That’s lame. A 650b x 47-50mm tire is about low pressure, high volume. It’s been the norm with randonneuring and offers a plush ride. My Firefly fits a tire like that and it’s a road bike.

        • AaronBenjamin

          John, I get it, and have ridden a bike with the Horizons and Byways, and I admit it was fun. I simply disagree with the “more tire is better” myth. It’s a bad myth and the bike industry is quite guilty of perpetuating it.

          • MarktheV

            Given that high-volume 650b bikes have been around since the 1950’s I can’t so much agree that it’s a myth, but more so a preference for riders wanting a different riding characteristic. For distance riding they have more than proven themselves to reduce fatigue compared to 700c. If your riding is about all-out speed over a distance where output can overcome incurred fatigue, then there’s a formula for you. If your riding is about increased comfort and stability to manage fatigue or control, then there’s a different formula for you. I think the real myth is that there is one solution to all the different problems.

          • AaronBenjamin

            I do agree on that, and I’m glad that “road plus” is an option, even if it isn’t my go-to.

      • Brett

        Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve got two, one fits 29 x 2.5 and the other 29 x 3, so covered there I think.

        What’s wrong with wanting to be able to run road plus/larger tires on a bike that’s clearly not just a “road” bike?

  • frogtape

    Adore the Topstone 105, took it on lots of offroad and its incredibly comfy, fast, and goes uphill like a stabbed rat!

    https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=154830&sid=0a2d6dd47086a9e8569cf6ebb98b5528

    • smoovebert

      “stabbed rat” 🤣

  • John Solomito

    Chapeau Cannondale! I love this bike! This is what the industry needs to do more of: A great, no frills, versatile platform at a reasonable price that lowers the bar to admission for neophytes. Honestly, with the 105 double group, and a second set of light, aeroish wheels set up tubeless, this bike wouldn’t keep anyone with the horsepower off a podium in a “gravel” event. And all the frame material related ride quality complaints are rubbish, that’s all in wheels and tires. Were this bike tested with a light tubeless set-up, it would have been described as plush.

    • frogtape

      I’ve had many occasions so far, on the stock Nano 40cc tyres, @ 40psi, where i’ve not missed the lack of suspension my scott spark offers even in the slightest, in awe of just how good she feels offroad. (this is coming from someone who has complained about the roadbuzz, and harshnesh of hardtails and roadbikes in the past lol)

      • John Solomito

        Try a set of Michelin Power Gravel 40’s @ 20psi tubeless w/tire noodles – magic

      • Yeah tubeless those Nanos and drop the psi a bit

        • frogtape

          35 psi be good for road if tubeless on nanos? I’ve read about not using an inflator canistor too, just valves, stans and a trackpump?

  • Daniel Smith

    1. I think the Topstone is a great bike. I like Cannondales a lot (CAAD10 owner), and this bike incorporates many things they do well. I think it says something about the intention of this bike that they included a threaded BB in lieu of their standard.

    2. I’m kind of amazed that this bike has garnered 103 responses. Who would’ve thought a stock $2,100 aluminum bike from a major brand would’ve gotten this much attention on this website. I’m glad, though…

  • YoungG

    minus dropper plus fd pls best youngG