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New 2019 Cannondale SystemSix Aero Road Bike – Ten Things to Know

July 03, 2018
New 2019 Cannondale SystemSix Aero Road Bike – Ten Things to Know

Just five days out from the 2018 edition of the Tour de France, Cannondale have pulled the covers off its all-new SystemSix aero road bike.

Rehashing its SystemSix moniker after 11 long years in hibernation, the disc-specific aero steed is loaded with a range of cutting-edge technology, with an emphasis on overall efficiency. The new bike is home to a host of brand firsts including equipped powermeters, an integrated cockpit design and wind cheating frame shapes.

So without further adieu, read on for ten things to know about the all-new SystemSix from Cannondale.

1. Fashionably Late to the Party

After years of sitting idly by, observing its competitors seemingly locked in an drag coefficient driven arms race, the American brand have entered the aero road market. Making use of a number of technologies inspired by its Slice and SuperSlice timetrial and triathlon bikes, the SystemSix appears, at least on paper, to be a game changing first-edition.

2.The Six Systems

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As its name suggests, the SystemSix was designed around optimizing six separate elements in its pursuit for all-out speed and aero efficiency. These include; the frame, fork, seatpost, stem, handlebar and wheelset, with each element optimized to be as efficient as possible to create what Cannondale claims is “the fastest road bike on the planet.”

The end result of this system optimization is a claimed saving of 17 watts at 30kph for an average rider, a claimed saving of 100 watts on a descent at 60kph and up to 14 watts more efficient on climbs up to 6% in gradient when compared with a SuperSix EVO.

3. The Fastest.

With efficiency gains seemingly made across the entire “System”, Cannondale claim they have created the most efficient UCI legal road bike on the planet. The bulk of these claims are based off of CFD (computational fluid dynamics), wind-tunnel, and real world testing.

A bold claim indeed, but if the 50-odd page white paper accompanying the release of the SystemSix speaks for anything, Cannondale appear to have some compelling evidence to support its claim.

4. Stiff and Responsive

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The SystemSix was developed to mirror the headtube and bottom bracket stiffness of the SuperSix EVO. This is claimed to allows riders the same responsiveness and handling of a traditional all-round racer, with the wind cheating gains of an aero bike.

Whilst the geometry is based off a long and low race posture, Cannondale claim that its adjustable cockpit and headset spacers mean that the SystemSix is just as suitable for racers as it is everyday riders. With two different fork offsets used (45mm and 55mm) dependent on frame size, Cannondale say this allows for consistent handling characteristics and ride feel across the entire size range

5. … And Compliant Too

In a bid to rid itself from the negative connotations often associated with the harsh ride characteristics of aero road bikes, Cannondale claim that the SystemSix is as compliant as its other modern race bike offering, the SuperSix EVO.

Much of this compliance (vertical stiffness) is built around its Hi-Mod carbon lay-up which is claimed to reduce vibrations and road buzz. Additionally, the frame is optimized around wider tyres, with 26mm width rubber (measured size) fitted as stock. Cannondale state that the increase air volume granted by the new KNØT 64 wheelset allows for the use of lower tyre pressures, making for a more comfortable ride.

6. Unique Frame and Fork Features

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At the heart of the SystemSix lays an all-new frame and fork module that's loaded with new and interesting features. Truncated (flat edged) aerodynamically optimized tubing, fully integrated cabling and Di2 junction box, a super wide fork crown and a chine on the downtube all feature in an effort to make the front end of the SystemSix as efficient as possible. Out back, dropped seat stays, a contoured seat tube and asymmetrical chainstays work together in an effort to balance power transfer and aerodynamics.

7. KNØT = Speed

Named after the unit of speed, a range of all-new aerodynamically optimized KNØT components feature on the SystemSix Hi-Mod. These components include;

  • A 64mm deep disc-specific wheelset, optimized for 26mm wide tyres that features an aerodynamic profile licensed from HED, an internal rim width of 21mm (32mm external) and weighs in at a claimed 1642 grams for the pair.

  • A SystemBar, designed to give the benefits of an integrated bar and stem, with the adjustability of a two piece cockpit. The new bars feature a 30mm taper from the hoods to the drops meaning that a 42cm bar will effectively measure 40cm at the hoods. With 8° of bar tilt adjustment, the KNØT SystemBar is claimed to offer fully optimized aerodynamic efficiency regardless of how the components are positioned. The SystemBar comes in four widths: 44cm, 42cm, 40cm and 38cm.

  • A stem, designed specifically for use with the KNØT SystemBar that features an open c-section design for cradling the bars, and concealing the hydraulic brake hoses and shift housings beneath it. The KNØT stem comes in five lengths ranging from 80 to 120mm in length.

  • A seat post, which features a “unique cross section” which is claimed to minimize drag.

8. Competitive Weight

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Making use of its quality Hi-MOD carbon fiber, Cannondale claims the SystemSix tips the scales at 981 grams for a size 56 (not including paint or small parts). Whilst this is some 250 grams heavier that the lightweight SuperSix EVO, it’s still impressive given the additional material used in creating the aerodynamic frame shapes.

9. Disc Specific

As is the case with a number of modern race bikes, Cannondale have opted to make the SystemSix disc brake specific. The move to shift to disc brakes was made as a result of the increased control and tyre clearance on offer, (Cannondale claim the SystemSix will comfortably swallow 30c tires front and rear) and the ability to make the frame and fork as aerodynamic as possible.

The SystemSix will be both electronic and mechanical groupset compatible, with Hi-Mod models to feature a dual-sided Power2Max NG Eco powermeter from the showroom floor (though it will apparently require an additional unlocking fee to be paid to Power2Max).

10. Price and Availability

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At the time of publishing, pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed, however we expect the SystemSix to be available worldwide from September 2018. All models will feature hydraulic disc brakes, using Mavic’s Speed Release 12mm thru-axle standard.

The SystemSix line-up includes;

  • SystemSix Hi-MOD Dura Ace Di2

  • SystemSix Hi-MOD Ultegra Di2

  • SystemSix Hi-MOD Ultegra Di2 (Womens)

  • SystemSix Dura Ace (mechanical)

  • SystemSix Ultegra (mechanical)


The SystemSix isn’t the only new bike being announced in the lead up to le Tour, check out our dedicated Tour de France page to keep up to date with all of the latest news and product releases