We got to try out the (more-expensive) Hi-Mod disc back in the summer of 2016, and came away mightily impressed. For 2017, Cannondale has trickled down the tech to a non-Hi-Mod chassis, which adds 201g to the frame weight (1,030g), while the addition of flat mounts, hydraulic routing and material reworking only adds 50g over the non-disc version.
- BikeRadar's Bike of the Year 2017 awards
- Bike of the Year 2017: Specialized Roubaix wins Road Bike of the Year
Where Cannondale has got it so right with this disc incarnation is that it's retained the geometry from the superb standard Evo, so you get that same sharpness at the front end.
On fast stretches, corners, and barreling down descents the front end feels totally planted, its unwavering nature enables you to hold your line and really exploit every bit of speed of your terrain.
Under pedaling the frame is rock solid, so you feel every bit of effort at the wheels with no losses. Some will bemoan the Evo’s lack of a rear thru-axle (the fork uses an industry standard 12mm thru-axle), but I honestly couldn’t feel any discernible difference between the back end of the Evo and any of the thru-axle equipped bikes tested as part of this year's Road Bike of the Year.
In fact, the Evo’s back end feels as tight and solid as anything I’ve tried, and you get the bonus of simpler rear wheel removal and refitting.
The ride position is race orientated with my 58cm giving a 584mm stack and 399mm reach, combine this with aggressive 73.2 parallel angles and a tight one metre wheelbase and it all adds up to a bike that’s flickable and fast reacting.
All these metrics relating to racing may make you think that the Evo is uncompromising in its ride, but that’s certainly not the case. Clever touches like the now ubiquitous 25.4mm post adds a bit of flex, as does the ‘delta’ seat tube, which radically tapers from the wide, oversized BB30a bottom bracket shell to a slender tube (that’s also flattened in its lower third).
Super skinny seatstays also aid the flex, and up front the carbon Speed Save fork is made using continuous fibres from dropouts to steerer. This allows for better for-and-aft movement to null vibrations and, as a bonus, massively reduces weight over a traditionally constructed fork.
In the past we've criticised Cannondale in the value for money stakes, but for this year it has got the spec-to-price ratio pretty much spot on.
Unlike some of its biggest rivals it's been able to spec both Shimano Ultegra and the excellent RS805 brakes.
Wheel wise, Mavic’s latest Aksium Discs are a decent set of hoops; very well built with excellent hubs and a decent, modern wide rim profile. They aren’t the lightest around though, and had me itching to switch them out for something lighter (and, of course, more expensive) to really exploit the wonderful chassis.
Some corners have been cut however. Cannondale has used standard (non ice-tech) Shimano 140mm rotors — I can see the point of fitting 140s as they look minimal and dare I say it ‘cool’ — but for bigger riders you’ll be wanting the extra feel and bite (and resistance to noise) you’ll get from a 160 rotor up front.
There's also a 105 cassette (in a hill friendly 11-28), a cost cutting deviation from Ultegra, but that’s not uncommon among most brands.
The C2 level stem, bars and post are all fine quality, though I’d have loved to have seen the excellent carbon SAVE post used (which you’ll find on more expensive models).
One criticism I had when I rode the Hi-Mod Disc last year was the thin, harsh feeling tape used. Well it seems Cannondale was listening because this model gets an excellent textured gel-infused polyurethane tape that’s as comfortable as it is grippy.