The New Cannondale SystemSix Aero Road Bike | First Look

The New Cannondale SystemSix Aero Road Bike | First Look

[VidSitePro id=110 ]Cannondale have just released their first ever aero road bike. Yes, a little bit late to the party, but that’s quite some entrance. (smooth jazz music) It’s called the SystemSix, and Cannondale fans might remember, there was a bike with this name from back in the mid-Noughties. But make no mistake, this one is all new. Now, when they realized they
might be late to a party, I think it’s quite admirable that rather than just rushing out a frame that kind of looked aero
and ticked some boxes, they actually set themselves
the mission, they said, of creating the world’s
fastest road race bike. And in order to reach that target, they needed to bolster their
design and engineering team and start working from the ground up. Now, have they completed their mission? Well yeah, they say they have. They say that they have
the data to prove it, data that shows that
this is six watts faster than the next fastest road bike. And they tested this one and all the other bikes on the market in the San Diego Wind Tunnel. And whilst amassing that
vast quantity of data, their lead aerodynamicist, Nathan Barry, also created what I think
is a particularly exciting new metric, which kind of
simultaneously analyzes and weighs up the data
across all your angles and kind of condenses it into one figure called yaw weighted drag. Firstly though, what makes this fast? Well, like a few recent aero bikes, this needs to be viewed
as the complete package, a complete system, if you like. So yes, the frame and fork are super aero, but then, so too are the new components called Knot, as in the wind speed. So the bars, the stem, the seat post, and also brand new wheels, which I’m particularly excited about, because who isn’t excited
about brand new wheels? I won’t get ahead of myself, though. Let’s start with the frame. It is disc-specific, as you see, but there is literally
no rim brake option. And Cannondale said this allowed them to actually design a faster bike. And you’ll see at first glance, there are quite a few
hallmarks of aero road bikes. So those drop seat stays there. You’ll also notice that
the down tube bows out and that’s to actually, make the water bottles more aerodynamic. And then even little touches
like this in-fill here between the top tube and the seat tube all add to that overall package. And then, there is also a
neat little aerodynamic touch at the bottom of the head tube, and that is called a chine, which is a term I hadn’t heard, but apparently comes from aeronautics and the boating industries. And it’s that kind of sharp edge at the bottom of the head tube at the top of the fork crown, and its purpose here is to stop air flow from the fork from mixing with the weight from the head tube and interrupting that clean air. Speaking of forks, this
one is actually asymmetric, because Cannondale realized that there is a different amount of force that each fork leg is dealing with, owing to the position of
that front brake caliper. And you’ll also notice if you look, that there’s quite a bit of clearance, quite a bit of tire clearance, and actually, the bike’s
been officially cleared for use with 30-millimeter-wide tires. Although, it is at its most aerodynamic with 26 millimeters. The cables are almost entirely
hidden away on this bike and will start their journey with the handlebar and stem, from the Knot range, you will remember. Now at first glance, it actually looks like it’s a one-piece, but it is in fact two. The handlebar’s attached via
four hidden mountain bolts, ’cause that means, of course, that you can independently
adjust the stem length from the bar width and
indeed the angle of the bars, by up to eight degrees. The cables run underneath that alloy stem, into a hinge access plate, and down through some really
clever little split spaces. The reason they’re split is to allow you to actually adjust the
height of that stem. A simple job, without needing
to undo all your cables and your brake hoses, which
is probably not a simple job. The cables then enter the frame
in front of the steerer tube and then from there they either go down, obviously into the fork blade or into the main frame itself. Now that does mean that there
is a slight limited range of motion on the steering, but Cannondale said they have
paid particular attention to the overall usability of this bike and cable rooting definitely
comes under that heading. Interestingly perhaps,
the mechanical version, has your gear cables entering
the frame in the down tube. And that exposed section of
outer, adds a watt to your drag, which kinda shows, doesn’t it? Just how finely balanced
aerodynamics really can be. And more about these wheels then. The Knot 64s or rather they are 64s but you know what I mean. Anyway, by making them disc-specific, Cannondale think they might’ve created, just about the fastest wheel
set for this particular depth. And one of the ways they’ve done that, is by boosting the width of the rim up to a monumental 32 millimeters. Too wide, in fact, to
be used with rim brakes, even if there was a brake track on there. Now the reason for that is for
the all important transition from tire to rims. Having a rim that’s wider than the tire, allows the engineers to really tailor the way the wheel behaves
at higher yaw angles. And actually the angle of the
tangent between rim and tire, bare with me here, is the subject of a patent
that’s owned by HED, which is kinda pioneering wheel brand. And Cannondale saw the value in this, so they’ve licensed that from HED. And they say that they
could’ve fitted wider tires to these rims with very
minimal aerodynamic penalty but in order to truly optimize
them for 26 mil wide tires, they had to license it. So it kinda shows, doesn’t it? That commitment to their
original mission statement. Weight for the wheels is at 1600 grams and the way the hubs
are custom externally, they have DT Swiss internals
running through them. You might have noticed by the way, that despite me banging
on about the importance of 26 millimeter wide
tires on these wheels, the one spect have got 23
written on the side wall, which kinda might seem like an oversight but actually when you measure up, these 23s plump up to 26 millimeters wide because the internal rim width is as generous as the external one. And while they’re not Vittoria Corsas which are the top of the range Vittorias, that’s because Cannondale
noticed that in testing, the Rubino Pro actually, has a lower rolling
resistance than the Corsa. So again, it comes back to
that original mission statement of wanting to create the fastest bike, so kind of leaving no stone unturned. Another nice little touch are
the Speed Release thru-axles, designed to give you faster wheel changes. Now, we first saw this
design at Eurobike in 2015, and basically, there is a slot cut into one of the fork drop outs, and similarly, on one of the drop outs at
the back there, as well, and it actually allows you to
not take out the thru-axle, but still remove the wheel. So what you do, is unscrew it five turns and hey, presto, there you go. Faster wheel changes. That there is a power to max power meter tucked neatly away behind
those Cannondale SISL cranks. And they actually come as standard on a couple of the models, but what’s particularly interesting here, is that they don’t add
to the price of the bike and that’s because when you
buy it, they don’t work. In order to switch them on, you then need to spend an extra €490, whereby the power meter
will then be switched on, permanently and forevermore. And you know what, I actually quite like that idea because you wouldn’t want to be put off from purchasing the
bike in the first place because to costs an extra €490, not everyone wants that power meter. But equally, a power meter
is a fantastic upgrade and actually in the general context of the overall price of the bike, an extra €490 or dollars
isn’t actually that much. And let’s face it, if you are designing the
fastest race bike in the world, it’s gonna need to have a
power meter on, isn’t it? Because as well as actually
getting the most our of the bike you also kinda wanna get the
most out of you, the rider. All in, the weight of
this bike is 7.8 kilos. So the frame set is 1100 grams and there is also a very
slight weight penalty for those aero components, so the bars, the stem and the seat post. Otherwise, you add another
couple hundred grams on for the discs. But that one kilo weight penalty over a light weight race bike, actually when you look
into and we’ve done so, in a video over on GCN, which
you can see at the moment. It’s actually a penalty
that only becomes apparent when you’re climbing
gradients of steeper than 6%, depending on how much
power you’re putting out and how much you weigh. But at all other times,
this aero bike is faster and potentially really
significantly faster. Even this particular scenario, which I can’t quite get my head around, but it’ll save you a 100 watts, when you’re peddling
down a hill of about 5% at 60 kilometers per hour. And yeah you do peddle at 60 k an hour, down hills like that. Saving a 100 watts, it
goes from 200 to 300 watts, between an aero bike
and a lightweight bike. As you can see I’m still
struggling to process that information ’cause I
think it’s quite bonkers. Right, as I mentioned
a couple minutes ago, we do have a video over on GCN, weighing up the relative
merits of aero bikes. Can they climb? Is a question that we find an answer to. So you can get through to that video by clicking on screen now. Do also make sure you give
this video a big thumbs up, if you like the bike, I
know I’ll be clicking on it. And then if you’ll
excuse me, I’m off to go and ride this as fast as I possibly can.

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