electrical bike Cannondale Topstone Lefty 3 evaluate
- Fork is great
- Balanced and responsive dealing with
- Lefty hub limits wheel alternative
- Would really like extra clearance
Worth as reviewed:
Gravel bikes are a rising class. The primary technology, led by the Salsa Warbird and the Open Up have been targeted on extensive tyres and—in the case of the Open, glorious carbon layup—to take in vibration. As soon as these bikes bought within the fingers of hundreds of riders, a few of them discovered themselves tempted to push the boundaries of what was enjoyable, or snug, on inflexible bikes. Different individuals felt it essential to take those self same bikes and conduct what amounted to essentially lengthy street races on much less beneficial surfaces. A motorcycle which is enjoyable for the latter shall be petrifying for the previous, and a motorcycle designed to journey drops and rock gardens isn’t going to win gravel races like The Rift, which traverses the lava fields in Iceland.
Cannondale, seeing the extent of variation within the gravel market, has diversified its gravel line to offer one thing for everybody.
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The Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 3 leans far more in the direction of the “enjoyable” finish of the gravel spectrum than the “quick” finish. Should you’re a rider more likely to try the form of ‘gravel’ that borders into mountain biking territory, it could possibly be your buddy.
With 650b wheels, 47mm tyres, and the very distinctive Lefty Oliver fork, this bike wouldn’t look misplaced on a cross nation path have been it not for the drop bars. In truth, even with the “street” bars I used to be capable of sort out some fairly technical stuff on the Topstone with out the concern of doing untold orthodontic injury that comes with using technical trails on some gravel bikes.
The plain innovation right here is the fork. Sure, it solely has one blade, or maybe it needs to be “tine”? You’ll have loads of time to ponder nomenclature on lengthy rides on the Topstone, however you’ll in all probability quickly neglect in regards to the fork. It doesn’t wallow or weave or weigh a ridiculous quantity like another gravel suspension designs. It’s supple and responsive and actually does make using trails extra enjoyable.
The now twin method is a winner with me. The earlier inflexible fronted Topstone fashions had felt a bit disjointed to me, the compliant “kingpin” within the rear – which additionally provides 30mm of suspension with out including the heft of a shock – took the excitement out of trails however the inflexible fork didn’t. This distinction was so pronounced that I requested Cannondale if I might match a lefty fork to the Topstone so as to race Leadville Path 100 (a comparatively non-technical mountain bike race). After all, I used to be instructed to attend. The Lefty fork that’s now specced as normal provides 30mm of journey, a bit lower than I might need for Leadville, however sufficient to make path using extra enjoyable with out sacrificing a lot in the best way of on-road effectivity.
In its new full-suspension guise, the entrance of the Cannondale Topstone Lefty felt grippy and planted in corners. I did discover on rocky climbs I encountered some rear wheel slip, however this could possibly be right down to quite a lot of components.
Wanting on the again finish, the brief chainstays (415mm chainstays on the Topstone are 15-20mm shorter than most competing gravel bikes) give the Topstone very responsive dealing with. That is much less in line with different gravel bikes, which generally use an extended chainstay to create a geo extra akin to mountain bikes. The brief stays do restrict tyre clearance (extra on that later).
It’s value noting that the kingpin rear finish does cut back seat submit adjustability, so when you are inclined to have a low saddle top on your body measurement be sure you examine you may get your seatpost in far sufficient and that the Kingpin pivot doesn’t cease it from dropping to your required top. On my take a look at bike I used a hacksaw to chop down the equipped submit a bit of.
The WTB Enterprise/Byway 47mm tyre combo is a good alternative for this bike, they give the impression of being nice and hook up effectively in most off-road situations. Nevertheless, I’d wish to see the Topstone leaving area for extra rubber. A 700×40 rear wheel/tyre that I attempted left little or no room for mud clearance and would in all probability have run into points on a muddy day. I’d recommend sticking with 650s for something over 37mm.
While the specced tyres suited most of my rides, in case you are investing in a twin suspension gravel bike and planning to hit some rocky trails, 700×45 or 650×47 may not be sufficient. I’d wish to see Cannondale make this much more “celebration journey” succesful and let it run a few of WTB’s glorious 50mm tyres.
The WTB ST i23 TCS rims with Components rear hub and Cannondale’s personal Lefty entrance hub carried out effectively sufficient. Nevertheless, when you’re in search of efficiency, I’d in all probability improve the wheels. Given the Lefty hub this could possibly be fairly a mission, limiting you to Cannondale’s (very succesful) in home choices or a customized construct.
With that mentioned, this bike is loads of enjoyable. I’ve been using it off, into, and over issues this summer time and it by no means fails to place a smile on my face. There are many braze ons for mudguards and storage. The bike is dropper submit prepared and comes with a 1x GRX groupset that might simply be switched for a PRO dropper with left lever actuation. As quickly as pandemic inventory permits, I shall be becoming one.
The GRX shifting and braking are impeccable as at all times. Mixed with a comfortable Material saddle the general spec of this bike is rather well thought out by somebody who clearly likes to journey and never simply take a look at a spreadsheet all day. The velocity launch rear axle makes taking the rear wheel off simple and the instrument free entrance wheel launch can be intuitive and easy, though you’ll be able to change a tube on the Lefty with the wheel on which is a novel expertise and makes your first trailside restore a bit much less garbage.
when you’re seeking to get a motorcycle which is able to open up new trails to you, the Topstone Lefty is it. There’s a good vary of fashions and specs out there and as at all times Cannondale ship nice worth for cash. The bike is effectively thought out and nothing on it screams of nook reducing to satisfy a finances. The fork would possibly appear to be an enormous concern but it surely’ll simply make virtually each journey extra enjoyable. You would possibly attain down a couple of times a journey to lock it out for lengthy street sections, however if you wish to journey predominantly lengthy street part’s you’d be higher served by Cannondales glorious Tremendous X. General, I feel it is a bike that might get mountain bikers to look once more at gravel bikes and roadies to do not forget that bikes are initially for having enjoyable.
Body: BallisTec Carbon Body, Kingpin suspension system, 12×142 Pace Launch Through-axle, dropper submit suitable, direct line cable routing
Fork: Lefty Oliver, 30mm journey, Chamber Damper w/ All-Over tune, ISO Excessive-Experience air spring, tapered steerer, 650b, 55mm offset
Groupset: Shimano GRX 800/600 Vast, 40T, 11-42
Seatpost: Cannondale 2, UD Carbon, 27.2 x 350mm
Wheels: Components rear hub , Lefty particular entrance hub, WTB i23 tubeless prepared rims
Tyres: WTB Enterprise TCS Gentle, 650 x 47c, tubeless prepared / WTB Byway TCS Gentle, 650 x 47c, tubeless prepared
Handlebar: Cannondale 3, butted 6061 alloy, 16 deg flare drop
Weight: 10.6 kg (Dimension XL)