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Need for speed: SystemSix from Cannondale


Cannondale is the latest bike manufacturer to make a big play for the aero road category with its new Cannondale SystemSix – claimed to be ‘the fastest UCI-legal road bike in the world’. The company adds that it ‘delivers more speed in more situations than any other road bike on the market, so you can climb faster, descend faster, draft easier and sprint quicker.’

“Aerodynamic drag is the single greatest resistive force that riders have to overcome, so it is important to everyone, not just racers,” said Cannondale Design Engineer, Nathan Barry. “SystemSix delivers more speed, to more riders, more of the time.”

Cannondale adds that ‘The SystemSix makes every rider faster. You can call it free speed, or aerodynamic advantage. We call it the culmination of a systemwide approach to speed, efficiency and real-world performance.’

According to Cannondale, SystemSix comprises six bicycle systems – frame, fork, seatpost, bar, stem and wheels – that its engineers designed to better handle airflow. There are five (interestingly, rather than six) main SystemSix bikes in the product range. All are disc-brake only product offerings:

  • Hi-MOD Dura-Ace Women’s
  • Hi-MOD Dura-Ace Di2
  • Hi-MOD Ultegra Di2
  • Carbon Dura-Ace
  • Carbon Ultegra

The top-end Hi-MOD version of the bike will retail for US$11,000. Other versions with different builds will sell for less, starting with the SystemSix Ultegra starting at US$4,000.



Cannondale goes on to point out that cycling performance can be described by a balance of input power against resistive forces – with six resistive loads acting on a bicycle and rider system:

  • Rolling resistance
  • Wheel bearing friction
  • Drivetrain friction
  • Aerodynamic drag
  • Potential energy – the energy you expend to climb
  • Kinetic energy – the energy you expend to accelerate

Taking each of these factors into consideration, the company notes that it takes a detailed look at the interaction between resistive loads in cycling. This gives a better understanding of how each element impacts cycling performance in order to work to minimize those that have the greatest influence.



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