Well, fuck, what a name for a bike huh? I was just going to introduce it as the ‘Evo’, but have afforded this beautiful piece of machinery its correct title as Mr Peter Denk would have wanted me to.
And who is Peter Denk? No, not some weird ex-pat euro that I met lounging around the pool here in Singapore getting way too sunburnt in bad togs (you know the kind), he is instead the cycling mad genius that created this rocketship that is currently being ridden to another Green Jersey in the 2013 TDF.
How good is Mr Denk? Well, he is basically the Adrian Newey of cycling and so important that Cannondale (or their Corporate owners Dorel Industries) used SEAL Team Six in a Spec Op to black bag Denky and steal him from competitors Scott so he could start unleashing his magic on Cannondale bikes, and he has not disappointed for a second! So much so that Dorel are now whoring him out to their other, er, subpar brands to get them back on track, in a word, he is a genius. One of his first missions? Relaunch the SuperSix… and thus, the Evo was born.
Right – Complicated back story over (scene setting important here), this is the piece of art in question:
To be fair, this isn’t the best build out to do the bike justice, but after all, this is the ‘training bike’ (can I actually use those words when referring to a precision guided weapon?)… To be fair, the Evo is so good, I decided the minimum number that should be owned is two. Here they are having an Evo playdate:
On the right, one super bike for every day rough and tumble and on the left, one for Spec Ops missions, in the customary stealth kit and beautiful Enve wheels. Campagnolo Super Record all round and finishing kit by FSA.
I’m never going to make a career as a bike tester as I can’t seem to articulate what happens on the bike to an audience (case study: Herr Doktor recently grilled me about how the Demo 8 test in Whistler went, including wanting a full telemetry break down of performance… My response of “It was good” therefore clearly frustrating). So, lets try this then:
What we love about the Evo:
- They are freak show light – this what it must be like dating a super model essentially, not sure about the correlation there, but lock that concept in. The Black Ops Evo is a ridiculous 6.2kg without a crazy build out and the team machine is around 6.5kg with a lesser build. You don’t need much effort to make these things UCI illegal
- All go and no show – Usually its the other way around, but these bikes are very straightforward to look at, almost old school looking? They don’t prance around like a Dogma or get into weird shapes like a BMC or De Rosa, they just look extremely plain and straight forward and then do their showing off on the road.
- Panic button responsive – There is nothing lost in translation with these things, you push down on the pedals and its ON like a drunken teenage wool shed party, they just want to go for it. Older models and the CAAD line need a bit more of a wind up, but these things just rock straight on to the wheel you’re chasing
- No beat down – I know the correct term is to talk about vertical compliance and lateral stiffness, but I am mechanically retarded so will just roll with the fact that these bikes are super comfortable to ride for a long time, even over shit Asian roads with holes in them (Thailand) and rough NZ chip roads. Unless you have Enve wheels on, then you will get beaten up, but thats a common trait I suspect.
What we’re not that keen on:
- Got some better felts bro? – Mr Denk may be a genius, but the paint department seems to not be as gifted… I mean this in two ways: 1) the colours aren’t great IMO, weird combos and WTF with the baby blue on the Black Ops bike? Just keep it all murdered out. 2) the quality of the paint job isn’t in keeping with the eye watering performance of the chassis, a little flakey here and there, come on boys, its the best frame going (confirmed by German scientists no less), lets give it a sweet finish
- Odd parts specs – This is more a personal issues as I have an OCD and hate SRAM, but some of the parts specs are weird, which is why I buy the bikes and strip them to deploy Italian Campy love to them. But 42cm bars on a 54 size frame are no good to me and a 100mm stem on the 56? The bike scream “Engineering Wizardry”, but the product management yells “Corporate Zombie” at times with some of the parts, not an issue if you get the frame
- I can’t stop buying them – I have 2 and have already seen the 2014 team colour scheme (addresses point 1 above) and already want a new one… Sigh… It is an addiction, don’t let anyone talk that down, its time we started to get real help
- PF30 BB – Ok, so this is the only downside to the bike… These Bottom Brackets are possibly the worst invention the industry has managed to date, even worse than 27.5 wheels. They hate rain, need more servicing than a Nympho and creak at the first sign of an effort. When you buy one, ask for the best PF30 BB your money can stretch to, Chris King a good option.
Like the V10 I tested last week, there is one other factor to consider with the Evo – Are YOU good enough for it? After all, this thing wins tour stages, classics and a whole smorgasbord of Pro tour events. Of course if you want to have fun then the answer is yes, but I ask this question more in terms of ever finding the bikes performance limits… Nibali couldn’t on downhills (lets not mention Basso’s climbing), so when lining up for one of these at least be satisfied it will be the best road bike you will have ever ridden, as was the case for me.
They are also so cool that they you can pull a wheelie on them during an Epic TDF stage on a crazy hard HC climb, handy:
Keep tuned for me and the Team Evo heading to Italy for some Euro summer goodness… we are both foaming at the mouth/handlebar for it!
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Just wondering, since you have both version of the Evo (stealthy black and the team ver), how do you find it differs in terms of the ride?
Mind sharing what are the differences or it is waayy to subtle to notice a thing between them (apart from their aesthetical differences and costs 😛
Good question! Its a subtle difference to be honest. The Black Ops Stealth version is slightly lighter in the frame, so I do notice it when climbing. However, the build kits are so different that if they both had the same Gruppo I am not sure I would be able to pick the difference. The Finish on the Stealth fighter is definitely nicer!
Hey thanks for the quick response.
I’m on the verge of buying the hi mod team (2014 colors), and is having a dilemma between a `Dale and Sworks SL5. Not much review on the new Tarmac though but freaking lots of good reviews on the Evo Hi Mod. So I’m quite sold on the latter bike.
What’s your take? Bite the bullet….or….no.
Assuming for a moment that you’re not Welsh, its a good question. The Evo has had a couple of years of refinement and the new Tarmac is yet to be fully tested, but no doubt its a good machine. I would go for the Evo to be honest, its slightly less common than the masses on the Big S. The only downside is the Team Evo is covered in SRAM, so get the frame only and build it up with Campy!
Well, I;m not Welsh. Anyway thanks for the input. Agreed that everyone seems to be riding the S brand everywhere I turn my head. Nice reading your blogs!
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