Cannondale's alloy-framed Topstone range has rapidly established itself as a bestseller, a truly versatile gravel/adventure bike that also makes the base for a great commuter build or winter trainer.
Now Cannondale have expanded the range, introducing the Topstone Carbon alongside the existing models. It's more than just a carbon copy though - the new carbon frameset includes a very useful 30mm of rear suspension travel for added comfort and extended versatility.
The Kingpin system uses an ingenious single pivot at the seat tube, avoiding the bulk, weight and complexity of a shock or linkage. Instead the travel is provided by flex built into the chainstays and seat stays, in a leaf spring-like arrangement. This makes for a low maintenance system that'll provide just enough travel (and small bump responsiveness) to take the harshness out of typical gravel/adventure routes.
The rest of the bike boasts similar attention to detail, with internal routing for an optional dropper post if you're planning to get serious on the trails. A removeable rear mudguard bridge keeps the rear end tidy, and like it's alloy sibling there are a multitude of mounting points for all your gear.
Cannondale quote clearance for up to 700x40mm tyres, and it'll also happily take 650x48mm if you want some extra volume. This top of the range eTap AXS-equipped model also comes complete with Cannondale's new integrated wheel sensor (developed with Garmin), which provides speed/distance data and pairs with your ANT+ computer and/or the Cannondale smartphone app.
With geometry that sticks close to the "road endurance" fit and relaxed yet nimble handling this is a bike that can put in the miles on the road when needed, but has plenty in the tank for when you head off the beaten track.
photos by Bobby Whittaker