Cannondale Topstone Review
Topstone is Cannondale’s mid-range selection of aluminum and carbon gravel bikes, including two electric versions. The bikes are all of relatively high quality and have the prices to match, starting at $999 all the way up to $6,500. All the bikes come with quality groupsets, the lowest spec being Shimano Sora.
Topstone gravel bikes are aimed at serious gravel riders who expect to put the bikes through their paces on long days out in rough conditions. While they do perform adequately on road, these bikes are best suited to someone who is planning to be off-road most of the time.
BEST USE: Gravel to road
CHARACTERISTICS: Comfort, speed, traction, handling
Best selection of Cannondale Topstone series online – REI.com
Table of Contents
Topstone Gravel Bikes
ALLOY Ultegra / Tiagra / Sora / Apex 1 / AL105
CARBON Carbon 105 / Carbon Ultergra RX / Carbon Ulterga RX 2 / Carbon Lefty 3
ELECTRIC Neo Carbon 3 Lefty E-Bike / Neo Carbon 2 E-Bike
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Cannondale Topstone Alloy
C2 SmartForm alloy frame with a full carbon fork – designed for speed, comfort, and durability
Internal cable routing / Multiple bottle-cage&rack mounts / Disc brakes / 700c wheels
Topstone Sora / Ultegra / Tiagra
– Drivetrain: 2×9
– Shimano Sora group
– 700c wheels
– FSA Tempo Adventure crank
– Promax Decoder R cable disc brakes, 160mm rotors
Shimano Tiagra group
FSA Omega crankset
WTB ST i23 TCS rims / WTB Riddler TCS Light tubeless-ready tires
Shimano RT 54, 160mm rotor hydraulic disc brakes
– Drivetrain: 2×11
– Shimano Ultegra group
– FSA Omega crankset
– WTB KOM Light i23 TCS rims / WTB Nano TCS Light tires, 40c, tubeless-ready
– Shimano Ultegra RT54 hydraulic disc brakes, 160mm rotors
TOPSTONE Apex 1
No. of gears: 11 / Frame: SmartForm C2 alloy / Wheel Size: 700x40c / Brakes: SRAM Apex 1 hydraulic / TranzX Dropper Post
The Apex is a step up from the Slate, Cannondale’s first foray into gravel bikes. Similar to the AL 105, it features a SmartForm C2 Alloy frame and carbon fork with WTB rims and even larger 700x40c tires. Naturally, it comes with an SRAM Apex 1 groupset, including an 11-speed rear cassette and 160mm hydraulic disc brakes.
Riders familiar with Cannondale’s popular Synapse road bike will recognize the geometry on the Apex. It has the same feel, only tailored to off-road conditions. The TranzX dropper seat post is an impressive addition, highlighting the adventurous spirit of the Topstone range.
- Drivetrain: 11-speed
- SRAM Apex 1 Hydro Disc Group
- WTB ST i23 Light TCS tubeless Rims
- WTB Nano TCS tubeless ready Tires
- TranzX Dropper Seatpost & Fabric Scoop Radius Sport Saddle
- Internal cable routing
- Multiple mounts for accessories all around the frame
TOPSTONE AL 105
No. of gears: 22 (2×11) / Frame: SmartForm C2 alloy / Wheel Size: 700x37c / Brakes: Shimano 105 hydraulic / Weight: 22lbs – 10kg
This is Cannondale’s entry-level Topstone gravel bike, an aluminum offering with a carbon fork, Shimano 105 groupset, and hydraulic disc brakes. It’s fitted with WTB ST i23 rims and WTB Riddler 700 x 37mm tubeless-ready tires. The tough SmartForm C2 Alloy frame has loads of mounting points, making it easy to attach various bags and bottle cages for long journeys.
Despite the rather rigid aluminum frame, the extra-wide, well-treaded WTB tires help to provide a comfortable ride over rough terrain. For the price, however, some might feel its a bit heavy – especially if aimed at competitive racing.
- RT56 160mm rotors
- Formula RX 512/142 hubs in front/rear (12×100 / 12×142)
- FSA Omega ME alloy 46/30 Crankset
- Internal cable routing
- 3 x bottle cage mounts
TOPSTONE AL 105 Women’s
No. of gears: 22 / Frame: Aluminum – SmartForm C2 alloy / Wheel Size: 700c / Brakes: Shimano 105 hydraulic / Weight: approx. 20.2lbs – 9.2kg
With plenty of room for tires up to 42mm wide – The women’s TopStone AL 105 is built for comfort, grip, and adventurous in mind. Designed as a mid-range gravel bike for women, the geometry and the build combination is ready to hit any trails you are brave enough to conquer.
It’s not an easy task to combine comfort, speed, and durability – whereas every area has to perform to their max capacity. This is by far a perfect alternative to more expensive carbon bikes, as it is the top-range alloy model for female cyclists!
- Crankset: 46/30 FSA Omega ME alloy
- WTB ST i23 TCS, 28h, tubeless-ready Rims
- Hubs (w/ enter lock): Front – Formula RX-512, 12×100 / Rear – Formula RX-142, 12×142
- WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 37mm, tubeless-ready tires
- Mounts for 3 water bottles
- StraightShot internal cable routing
Topstone Carbon Bikes
Kingpin Frame Suspension
Carbon 105 / Carbon Ultergra RX / Carbon Ultegra RX 2 / Carbon Lefty 3
TOPSTONE Carbon 105
No. of gears: 22 (2×11) / Frame: Ballistec Carbon / Wheel Size: 700x37c / Brakes: Shimano 105 hydraulic disc – 160mm rotors / Weight: approx 21lbs / 9.5kg
Stepping up to the higher-end carbon models, the most affordable is the Carbon 105. The BallisTec carbon frame takes on a unique design with an integrated ‘Kingpin’ rear suspension. This innovative system uses a thru-axle pivot on the seat stays to give the Topstone carbon bikes 30mm of travel which eats up vibration.
The rest of the Carbon 105 has a 22-speed Shimano groupset with hydro disc brakes, WTB rims, and 700x37c tires. Direct line internal cable routing keeps everything clean and hassle-free across the entire frame.
- Seat suspension
- Cannondale Alloy PressFit30 bottom bracket
- Flex zones in the chainstays
- Allow fitting 650b wheels with up to 48mm tires
- Shimano 105 GS rear derailleur / 105 braze-on front derailleur
- Multiposition mounts on the downtube, on the fork, top tube, seat tube, and under the down tube.
TOPSTONE Carbon Ultegra RX
No. of gears: 22 (2×11) / Frame: Carbon / Wheel Size: 700x37c / Brakes: Ultegra hydraulic – RT54 / Weight: 19.6lbs – 8.9kg
The Ultegra RX groupset on this Topstone features a 2×11 setup, with an FSA 46/30 crankset and 11/34 cassette. It utilizes the same BallisTec frame design with Kingpin suspension with HollowGram rims and 700×37 WTB Riddler tires.
The combination of a carbon suspension frame with Ultegra gears makes this one of the most comfortable and enjoyable gravel bikes you’ll ever ride. It provides a soft, cloud-like float supported by ultra-smooth gear transitions and suburb stopping power.
- KingPin suspension system
- FSA cartridge bottom bracket
- Shimano Ultegra
– Blaze-on front derailleur
– RX rear derailleur
– Disc brakes with 54RT 160mm rotors
- HollowGram 22 – 22mm deep, 25mm ID, tubeless-ready rims
TOPSTONE Carbon Ultegra RX Women’s
No. of gears: 22 (2×11) / Frame: Carbon / Wheel Size: 700x37c / Brakes: Shimano RT54 hydraulic disc / Weight: 19.7lbs – 8.9kg
The women’s Ultegra RX 2020 has the same BallisTec carbon frame and Ultegra groupset with a 105 cassette and similar seat parts, although the saddle is a Fabric Scoop Flat Elite. The Women’s Ultegra RX also comes with WTB KOM Light i23 rims and tubeless-ready Riddler 700x37c tires. Frame geometry and sizes remain the same so the only difference is actually the saddle.
Check out the full specs & features from REI to get a better overview of the whole bike.
- KingPin suspension system
- WTB KOM Light i23 TCS, 28h, tubeless-ready rims
- Front Hub – Formula CL-712, 12×100 center lock
- Rear Hub – Formula RXC-400, 12×142 center lock
TOPSTONE Carbon Ultegra RX 2
The downgraded Ultegra RX 2 is a bargain at $900 less than the RX and very similar in spec. The most notable difference is the Shimano 105 cassette and WTB KOM Light i23 rims. The saddle is a Fabric Scoop Radius Elite and there are also and slightly altered seat parts. The seat post is Cannondale 2 carbon rather than C3 alloy and the stem is a 6 degree Cannondale 2 alloy rather than the 7-degree C3 alloy on the men’s.
Weighing under 20lbs, the RX 2 is as close as you can get to a high-performance gravel bike with a decent mixture of components to allow you really push the bike to its limits!
- WTB Riddler tubeless-ready TCS 700C x 37mm tires
- WTB KOM Light i23 TCS Rims
- Cannondale 1 Crankset – BB30a, FSA rings, 46/30T
- Ballistec Carbon frame/fork
TOPSTONE Carbon Lefty 3
No. of gears: 11 / Frame: Carbon / Wheel Size: 650b / Brakes: Shimano GRX600 hydraulic disc
This addition to the Topstone range is a bit of a mix between a mountain and gravel bike, with dual suspension and 650B x 47mm tires. It comes with front suspension in the form of a Cannondale ‘Lefty’ single-sided fork, its eye-catching technology promising added precision and strength. The unique design provides an additional 30mm of travel on the front in conjunction with the Kingpin rear suspension, making for an incredibly smooth ride.
Drop handlebar bike with 650b wheels & a lefty suspension fork!
Shimano’s GRX groupset provides the gearing and hydraulic disc brakes, with a surprisingly large 40T single front ring and 11 cogs on the cassette. However, the extra-large 42T rear cog provides low enough range for any serious hill climbing.
- BallisTec carbon frame with KingPin suspension
- 55mm offset Lefty Oliver fully adjustable fork with 30mm travel
- WTB ST i23 TCS rims, 28h, tubeless-ready
- 650b x 47mm WTB Byway TCS Light tubeless-ready tires
TOPSTONE Neo Carbon 3 Lefty Electric Bike
No. of gears: 11 / Frame: Ballistec Carbon / Wheel Size: 650b / Brakes: Shimano GRX RT56 hydraulic w/ 160mm rotors / Charge time: 3.5h
500Wh battery capacity / 250W Bosch Performance Line Speed motor / Range: Up to 76miles – 122km / Max speed: 28mp/h – 45km/h
Even with the addition of a 250W Bosch Performance Line Speed motor that provides 75Nm of torque, Cannondale has managed to keep the full carbon Kingpin suspension frame on this Topstone Neo Carbon e-Bike. The extra-large 500W removable downtube battery provides 125km of range on a single charge, making this e-Bike perfect for long days out in the mountains.
One of the most off-road capable electric gravel/road bikes on the market!
An 11-speed Shimano GRX groupset provides additional pedal power and hydraulic disc brakes on WTB ST i23 rims and Resolute 650B x 42mm tires. At the front is Cannondale’s Lefty Oliver single pipe suspension with 30mm of travel for ultra-smooth rolling in any conditions.
- 55mm offset fork with 30mm travel – fully adjustable
- Torque: 75Nm
- Battery Type: Lithium-Ion
- Kingpin suspension system
- WTB Resolute 650b x 42mm tubeless-ready tires
- Rims WTB ST i23 TCS 28h tubeless-ready rims
TOPSTONE Neo Carbon 2 Electric Bike
No. of gears: 22 (2×11) / Frame: Ballistec Carbon / Wheel Size: 700c / Brakes: Shimano GRX RT64 w/ 180mm rotors / Max-speed: 28mp/h – 45km/h
Torque: 75Nm / Battery Capacity: 500Wh / Motor: 250W Bosch Performance Line Speed / Charge Time: 3.5 hours
The Neo Carbon 2 features a 250W Bosch Performance Line Speed motor with 75Nm of torque and a 500W removable battery. Shimano GRX provides the hydro disc brakes and 22 gears with an FSA dual front ring and Shimano 105 rear cassette.
One of the fastest gravel-road bikes on the market!
The 700c wheels are WTB KOM Light i23 rims and WTB Riddler 700c x 37mm tires. Cannondale’s full-carbon BallisTec frame features its unique Kingpin rear suspension and a carbon fork.
- E-Bike type: Class 3 pedal-assist
- Pedal-assist range: Up to 75 miles / 120km
- Kingpin suspension system
- 55mm OutFront offset carbon fork
- FSA Bosch E-Bike, 46/30T crankset
Topstone Size Recommendation
S – 5’2″ – 5’6″
M – 5’6″ – 5’10”
L – 5’10 – 6’1″
XL – 6’1″ – 6’4″
S – 5’4″ – 5’9″
M – 5’7″ – 6’1″
L – 5’11” – 6’4″
XL – 6’3″ – 6’8″
What is a gravel bike?
Gravel bikes are good for those wanting to chase the speed through the gravel roads, trails, cobblestone streets, etc.
Gravel bikes are somewhat similar to cyclocross/touring bikes while having a more performance-driven geometry and set-up. Unlike road bikes, gravel bikes are equipped with wider tires for better traction and comfort on the trails. This type of bike is great for long-distance endurance rides, or for bike-packing.
Do gravel bikes make a good touring bike?
Gravel bikes are one of the fastest bikes to comfortably ride long distances on both on- and off the road.
Why are gravel bikes so expensive?
Gravel bikes are expensive due to the fact that good-quality gravel bikes have to withstand a fair amount of beating on the trails while maintaining comfort and speed on the road. Gravel bikes are also noticeably lighter in their overall weight and are not mass-produced which could get the production costs down.
Why prefer a gravel bike over a road bike?
Riding a gravel bike allows you to explore tracks whereas riding a road bike can be treacherous. Also, the reason why cyclists prefer gravel bikes over road bikes is not liking the idea of sharing a road with many passing cars.
Why gravel bikes have drop-bars like road bikes?
Gravel bikes are equipped with drop-bars for comfort and better control when riding on multiple surfaces.
Where to Buy Cannondale Topstone Bikes Online?