Cannondale has updated its popular rear ‘suspension’ gravel/adventure bike with new models like the Topstone Carbon Lefty 1 and 3, with a matching 30mm travel Lefty Oliver fork. And to further rile up the traditionalists, there’ll be a full range of e-bikes too.
Cannondale is well known for pushing boundaries (and buttons) and the development of the new Topstone Lefty bike kind of parallels its mountain bike development where it originally came out with rear suspension (on the Cannondale EST back in the 90s) before adding front suspension. It also has form in adding a Lefty fork to its previous Slate gravel bike (which was well ahead of its time). Now, though, the addition of the Lefty Oliver makes the Topstone a proper (30mm) full suspension gravel bike.
Topstone Carbon Lefty
Where to start? There are so many rules broken here. As Cannondale puts it:
“The Topstone Carbon Lefty takes the playful, genre-blurring, boost-off-everything spirit of the legendary Cannondale Slate and pushes it to a whole new level by adding the all-new, built for gravel Lefty Oliver fork, while Topstone Neo Carbon and Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty are where e-bikes and gravel meet to create the ultimate in mixed surface capability and fun.”
e-bikes? Let’s start with the regular push bikes first. The Topstone Lefty features a full carbon frame with its ‘Kingpin’ suspension, where the whole rear end – the chainstays, seatstays, seat tube and even top tube are designed to flex in order to give up to 30mm of rear wheel travel.
And then we have the Cannondale Lefty Oliver fork, which is a super light, single-crown (and single sided) suspension fork based on its Ocho race fork, but built specifically for gravel riding. The Oliver features 30mm travel using the same needle-bearing design as the Ocho for supple performance and precise steering. There’s a lockout lever too, with a blow-off valve for those unforeseen potholes. Longtime Lefty users will be pleased to hear it comes with a new, tool-free StopLock brake mount for swift wheel removal. The Lefty Oliver comes designed for flat mount brakes. In order to make room for all that gnar without jacking up the front end, the Topstone bikes with a Lefty will run 650 x 47mm tyres front and rear.
And talking of sizes, the Topstone isn’t a slacked out gravgnar/gravduro bike – it still runs pretty steep 71.2°/73° angles (so, just like a nineties mountain bike then?) There will be sizes from XS up to XL.
Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon and Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty
Cannondale has also introduced Bosch-powered e-bike versions of the Topstone Carbon, called Topstone Neo Carbon and Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty. These bikes take all the features of the Topstone Carbon gravel bikes and add Bosch power to create “powerful, go-anywhere, do-anything adventure machines with unreal riding qualities” and a range of up to 127km (79 miles). It still has the same passive rear suspension system in the frame, giving 30mm of rear wheel movement.
Topstone Neo Carbon is available in two frame and bike configurations – a 700c-wheel version featuring a rigid carbon fork, and a 650b wheel version with the new Lefty Oliver. Tellingly, Cannondale is planning in bringing in to the UK, four different models of the Topstone Neo: two with a Lefty Oliver, and two with 700C wheels and rigid carbon fork, but only two of the regular ‘acoustic’ Topstone Carbon Lefty.
Topstone Neo pricing will start at £3999 for the ‘entry’ rigid Topstone Neo Carbon 4, rising to £7999 for the top end Topstone Neo Carbon Lefty 1.
For fans of the existing, 700c, rigid forked carbon and alloy Topstone bikes, these will continue into 2021, so don’t worry that it’s all going 650B… it’s just that that is what the new bikes have. There will still be rigid forked 700C bikes that fit in the range in between the Lefty Oliver versions. Cannondale is claiming that with today’s announcement, it now has the biggest selection of gravel bikes everywhere – full suspension, rigid, carbon, alloy, e-bike… what more do you want? (Actually, there’s no alloy Topstone Neo in the mix, though we can’t imagine they’re not working on one…)
Intrigued? Outraged? Visit www.cannondale.com for more details
Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.
Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.