First spotted at the Abu Dhabi Tour, the Cannondale SystemSix Aero Road Bike has just been released. Join us as Simon takes a look at this striking new aerodynamic build.
The GCN Shop: http://gcntech.co/6b
In association with Cannondale.
This is the SystemSix, a name that Cannondale fans will remember from the mid-noughties, but make no mistake, this is all new. The mission they set themselves was to create the world’s fastest race bike, and admirably they avoided the easy route of just rushing an aero looking frame out to market. Instead, they bolstered their design and engineering team, eventually running to 12 people based across two continents, and worked from the ground up.
Have they hit their target? Yes, they say they have, and they say they have the data to back it up, data showing that this bike is 6w faster than the next fastest bike at 50kph. As well as testing loads bike in the wind tunnel San Diego tunnel, their leading aerodynamicist, Nathan Berry, has also created a super exciting metric which simultaneously analyses and weighs up aero data and condense it into one handy figure. Yes, no more looking at graphs of yaw angles and trying to work out which is faster overall. Yaw weighted drag, more on that later.
Firstly though, why is this bike faster?
Well, the first point to note is that as with most recent aero bikes, this is very much a complete package, as much about the frame and fork as the new range of components on there, called KNOT, as in the wind speed, including new wheels too. Which I’m also particularly excited about, because who doesn’t get excited about wheels?
Let’s start with the frame though. It is disc brake specific, there is no rim brake option, which they say has allowed them to make the bike more aero. There are of course some typical hallmarks of an aerodynamic frame. Dropped seat stays, super wide down tube to make water bottles more aero, and even this little addition under the junction of the top and seat tubes.
Then there is this little aerodynamic device called a chine. This term comes from aeronautics, and it refers to this sharp edge here behind the fork crown. Its job, in this case, is to prevent the forks air flow from mixing with the wake of the headtube and interrupting clean air over the fork crown.
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