We got EVOs into the shop, and I test rode one last week. (we also got an S5 which I haven’t ridden yet) The EVO I tested weighed exactly the same as my Hi-mod by chance because of the difference in components. EVO Red, Hi-mod D.A. with SI SL crankset. I used my Hi-mod’s Ksyrium SL on the EVO to try to make the test a bit more apples to apples.
Regarding Cannondale’s claims:
The ride is SUPER smooth for a performance bike. It makes my Hi-mod feel a bit plasticky and rough. The EVO takes rough corners at speed better than any bike I have ever been on. I didn’t believe Cannondale’s “micro-suspension” hype regarding this subject. I believe it all now. I can see why the pros feel funny on it at first. But I’m sure I’ll be fresher at the end of my rides. It also handles better than my Hi-mod because of the design.
Despite the fact there is less material in the EVO, the new design and new carbon are making up the difference with regard to stiffness to weight ratio. The BB and chain stays are as stiff as my Hi-mod. Power transfer is excellent. The front end is at least as stiff if not a fraction more so. Nothing lost here. Not much gained.
The tubing is much more firm to the touch than any bike I’ve ever seen with the exception of Time frames. The frame feels light and so solid. It’s shocking to hold in your hand. It appears more durable than my previous models, not less. I believe the Ballistec B.S. now too.
This bike isn’t remotely aero. It’s probably better than my ’08 and ‘10 SuperSixes. But they are sails.
Aside from the fact I wish the EVO had a seat mast, my main gripe is that the only way to get the “bare” frame is with the complete ultimate bike. I don’t feel like buying one just to strip it down; though I might! Painting such a light weight frame is unforgivable.
I don’t care if the frame is 1 pound more or 1 pound less than my Hi-mod. I don’t even care that I like the appearance less than the Hi-mod. The sole reason I’m going to buy one is the ride quality. It’s the best all around bike I’ve ever been on.
I couldn't agree more with everything you said, so I’ll try not to repeat your thoughts. I also test rode the EVO Red (one with no paint and just the clear coat with green accents) three weeks ago here in the D.C. area.
I was amazed how well the bike climbed effortlessly. Outstanding power transfer! I took it on a ride that I regularly do after work on weekdays with my Cervelo S1 and found myself not even needing to stand up and/or use my smallest gear to make it over the short but steep hills. I remember thinking to myself, though this EVO won't magically turn me into Peter Sagan... with this bike I'm actually not that bad of climber lol. Made me wonder how much more easily I could hang in the group rides over those same hills and the rides I do over the weekend through the Shenandoah Mountains in Northern Virginia. Really inspired me to buy an EVO and try some mountain climbs that I once thought were too tough for my legs.
I also found the bike to be incredibly smooth for a true race bike. I kept thinking to myself, is this a Synapse lol? It was true bliss to just ride and forget the bike was even beneath you. It seems the best bikes have a feeling of just becoming one with the rider and you don't even notice them.
As for your comment on the EVO not being aero, you are correct. It is quite a bit more aero than the Hi-mod however. Cannondale markets it as "more aero" than previous models as opposed to being "aero". My Cervelo S1 is an actual aero road bike, but believe me when I test rode the EVO for a good 45 minutes I never said to myself, "boy I wish this bike was more aero". The whole aero fad right now has gotten out of control and has really become a joke. How many of us actually race for 3 weeks straight in a grand tour and therefore could actually notice the difference in watts saved day after day regularly killing it in breakaways when you’re not blocked from the wind sitting in a peloton? I am part of the problem as I bought a Cervelo largely because of its aero features. But let's not forget in our obsession for cool and sexy aero bikes that 80% of aerodynamic drag when cycling is the rider's body, leaving only 20% of drag to the bike. So let's say hypothetically that my Cervelo is ~10% more aero than a standard road bike (and that is a very generous estimate) and the EVO is only ~5% more aero than a standard road bike, we are then only talking about a difference of ~5% aerodynamic drag over the total 100%. You’d be better suited trimming your waist line more, working on your position on the bike, and wearing an aero kit. That's not to say that Cervelo doesn't make great bikes – I can personally attest to the fact that they do – but I can’t honestly tell you that when riding my S1 for years that I could “feel” how aero it is. I can however honestly tell you how much I could feel the vertical compliance, lateral stiffness, and extreme light weight of the EVO as opposed to my S1 and other high end road bikes that I’ve also tested. I’ll take the lower weight and much greater vertical compliance any day to only a ~5% reduction in aerodynamic drag on tough group rides when I’m regularly drafting off others in front of me in the first place.
In summary, the EVO is one hell of a confidence inspiring machine. Kudos to Cannondale! This bike is not hype! Test ride it yourself and you’ll “feel” why and not need to convince yourself that you like it from aerodynamic wind tunnel tests lol.