Gear Review: WSD Cannondale Super Six Hi Mod Evo
My first race bike was one of the cheapest road bikes on the sales floor. I chose it primarily for looks but was guided almost entirely by my tiny budget. Still, I was lucky; I was able to buy a new bike. I had escaped the fate of so many other new riders, the well-intentioned but ill-suited hand-me-down bike. The hardest training I've ever done in my life happened on that bike. Thousands of miles, hundreds of hours, and a few crashes.
I was stoked, though because even if my bike was relatively inexpensive, it looked great. I was getting fast, and the bike I had looked the part. I was learning to clip in, but my bike looked pro. I still hadn’t mastered sprinting in the drops, but my bike looked like I knew what I was doing. I remember shopping for that bike, stopping into a tiny Manhattan shop with a massive road inventory. One of the managers helped me. When I voiced my objections to the aesthetics of a specific bike, he responded, “You can't see the bike when you’re on it anyway." I had other ideas and persisted until I found something I loved.
And like the fate of many a cheap road bike, it rather quickly started to fall apart. The miles I was putting on it, the stress, the travel, the racing, my general lack of bike maintenance knowledge, eventually took its toll. The bike was never meant for the type of passion I had for cycling. The bike was retired to my parents home, and although we would occasionally go for long holiday rides, I had outgrown the bike months before.
Looking back, I'd argue that I had outgrown the bike before I ever even purchased it. While I think some women escape this trap, I think many do not invest in cycling the way they should. During the time I raced road, I spent almost as much time in a kit as I did street clothes, but my kit budget was tiny! And for the hours and hours, I spent on my bike I could barely justify the cost of an upgrade.
That was until I fell for the Cannondale Super Six Evo. It is a brilliant combination of looks and performance. And for me the reward for years of training. The first time I rode my new Super Six up the Manhattan Bridge, I cried. It was as if the bike had turned the pavement into a giant silk road. I had never ridden on a carbon frame. The feeling was so incredible, I burst into tears.
The next months of my life were defined by these glorious miles. I souped up my new rig with carbon clinchers, I got spiderweb chainrings and very snazzy Manual for Speed bar tape. I also got a bike fit to help with ulnar nerve problems in my right hand. I needed smaller bars, a minor adjustment to my saddle. The bike was almost perfect, but not quite.
It's only fitting that I'd experience another first on a Cannonade bike. Late last year I got to ride the newest Women's Specific Design (WSD) Super Six Evo, my first time riding Di2 and tubeless, not to mention my first ever ride on disc brakes for road. And that experience of pure joy was exactly the same. The silk ribbon flowed under my wheels, the shifting was crisp, the bike was so incredibly fast, and it looked absolutely beautiful!
The paint scheme is minimal and totally mod at the same time. Its both aggressively hi vis and elegantly understated. The Di2 shifting was delightful, it was crisp and responsive. Clearly a boon for those of us with small hands, it felt perfect on the narrower WSD bars. I can't imagine that shifting will stay in its pre-powered form, I found it odd that there was no sprint button. But the feeling and hand positions are identical to a standard shifting bike, it's just so much less effort and fatigue.
Disc brakes are just so incredible. Especially for anyone who's spent any time riding carbon clinchers. Your brakes just don't work in certain conditions. Disc brakes take care of this completely, regardless of the riding conditions. I think it was initially somewhat aesthetically jarring, but the performance will win you over tenfold. Taking bigger risks riding is made possible by better safety equipment.
The Super Six Hi Mod Evo has a sticker price just north of six thousand dollars. It might be hard to imagine making that big of an investment. But consider the following. If you’re training regularly, it could work out to less than a dollar a mile. In the height of my training days, my hours per week on the bike could have added up to a part time job. Looking back, I regret not investing enough into my comfort and performance. Riding is joy, and while you certainly can purchase performance. You can also invest in your health, your happiness, and your sanity. But I encourage you to also think about it in terms of your future. The rider that you will become, the races you’ll enter down the road (even if you can't imagine racing today). We've gotten to a point were we can discuss the consequences of fast fashion clothing and furniture. If you are serous about cycling, invest in a bike that will be with you for many seasons, not just something for right now.
And lastly to speak to WSD. As an all-black-everything New Yorker, I have a hard time with some WSD paint schemes. This Super Six Hi Mod is a beauty to behold. Its looks are on trend, and speak to a classic aesthetic that will endure. If you are a petite rider, WSD may be the only option for you. For those of us average height women, a well appointed WSD bike means saving a small fortune in replacing bars, cranks, saddles. Buy the bike you connect with aesthetically, knowing that a WSD ultimately will save you the cost of having to swap touch point parts.
You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy this bike. And in my book that's pretty much the same thing.
- Fast AF
- Super light
- Stunning paint job
- Equipped with every possible upgrade you could want
- Price tag
- Wheel decals not an exact color match - just peel off decals.