Frame, geometry, versatile
Rear wheel, mudguard
Cannondale Topstone 105 is an exquisite adventure bike that was designed to enable you to roll over gravel trails with relative ease. It has all the features needed for you to cover those lengthy miles on the rough terrains while enjoying a fun adventure all the way.
Gravel bikes offer the best of both worlds! They are like a cross between a road bike a mountain bike. You get to revel in the speed and aerodynamic build while making the most of the stability of their wide tire clearance, easier gears, and mounts for racks and fenders.
However, picking a versatile bicycle that offers everything you are looking for can be a tall order, especially for a gravel bike. There are numerous models available in the market and you may likely be overwhelmed by the abundance of choices.
The Topstone 105 from Cannondale is an exciting gravel grinder that packs a variety of useful features on its frame. In this review, we will delve deeper into the specifications of the Cannondale Topstone 105 to see what it brings to the table.
FRAME: SmartForm C2 alloy
BRAKE TYPES: Shimano 105 7070 hydraulic disc, 160/160mm RT56 rotors
SHIFTER: Cannondale C3, butted 6061 alloy, 16° flare dro
RIMS: WTB ST i23 TCS, 28h, tubeless-ready
TIRES: WTB Nano TCS, 700 x 40c, tubeless-ready
Cannondale offers the Topstone in three different models, all of which share an alloy frame and carbon fork. The Topstone Sora is the cheapest and features a 2 by 9-speed Sora drivetrain, with a double crankset 30/46ft and ProMax mechanical disc brakes. 40C WTB Nano tires complete the build of the Topstone Sora.
The second option is the Topstone Apex 1, which happens to be the costliest of the three. It is equipped with SRAM’s Apex 1 drivetrain, HRD hydraulic disc brakes, and a 50-mm travel TransX dropper seat post.
But in this review, we'll be looking at the third and mid-level option that is the Topstone 105. Let us take a closer look at the various specifications this gravel bike has to offer:
Built using Cannondale’s SmartForm C2 aluminum alloy, the frame comes with butted and shaped tubing, robust double-pass welds, as well as a traditional threaded bottom bracket shell. This is paired with a carbon front fork which further ensures that the bike remains lightweight but strong.
The Topstone weighs in at about 21lbs and has internal cable routing in the mainframe that accommodates a 27.2mm dropper post. The bike also features integrated bottle racks, fenders, and accessory mounts that help to enhance its versatility on the trail.
Whether you are going on a short backpacking adventure or overnight rides, the Topstone will easily adapt to your adventure needs. When it comes to geometry, this bike derives inspiration from the Synapse. You get to enjoy an upright sitting position that keeps you comfortable while riding on flat stretches of road, as well as off-road trails.
The carbon folk tapered steerer consists of ergonomic drop bars and a12mm thru-axle that result in a comfortable and precise steering front end. Big tire clearance on the bike ensures that it can accommodate up to 42mm width of tires, for your riding pleasure.
Overall, the Cannondale Topstone is a joy to ride! The stiff alloy frame feels efficient under pedaling and the ride remains smooth over chunky gravel. Depending on your body size, you can choose from five different frame sizes, ranging from XS (48cm) to XL (61cm).
Straight from the appearance, the Topstone feels like a true gravel grinder, and my suspicions were confirmed on my first test ride. The Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes it is equipped with operated seamlessly and stopped the bike on a dime whenever I needed them to.
The performance was just as good on flat roads and tarmac as it was on singletracks and wet gravel. This provides you with the rider confidence you need to take on this unfriendly terrain. We all know how messy gravel grinding can be, but on this bike, the experience was a total breeze.
This bike uses Cannondale C3, 16° flare drop shifters, which shift smoothly and effortlessly, allowing you to make the most of the 22-speed gear drivetrain. Acceleration is super crisp on this bike, ensuring that you easily glide over the gravel terrain.
The handling is great, with bump absorption helping to maintain control of the ride throughout the adventure. The steering feels great on flats, as well as on hoods and drops, thanks to the plenty gear range.
There is also an amazing flare on the drops which adds to the stability when cruising at speeds with your head down.
The WTB ST i23 TCS, 28h, tubeless-ready wheels were built for this kind of surface. Combined with the WTB Nano 700 by 40c tires, you get a stable ride with enough traction to keep you steady on all kinds of surfaces.
This bike also provides plenty of tire clearance so that you can fit up to 42mm tires.
What We Like
One of the standout features on the Topstone 105 is the amazing geometry, which ensures that you remain comfortable throughout the ride. A grippy handlebar and tires allow you to have a confidence-inspiring downhill ride, especially when you know you have the powerful Shimano disc brakes on your side.
The application of Cannondale’s direct line cable management on this bike allows for hassle-free changing of brake and shifter cables. This is a credit to the “tube-in-tube” design.
The frame is lightweight yet still maintains the sturdiness you need for a bike in rough terrains such as gravel. Furthermore, you get plenty of room for fenders, racks, as well as mounting options for bottles and other accessories, which is quite convenient for an adventure bike.
Cannondale Topstone 105 is a versatile bike that performs well on different kinds of terrain. The narrow tires make it efficient as a road bike while the front fork suspension ensures that you get a smooth and comfortable ride on the roughest roads.
With this bike, you have 22 gears that you can use to easily take on the steepest inclines and breeze through technical sections of the trail while keeping the power down and the bicycle moving forward.
What We Don't Like
The black paint on the frame of the bike gets dirty quite easily, particularly when you are riding in sandy or muddy conditions. This is not helped by the fact that this bike does not come with mudguards.
Also, the rear wheel tends to fail once you have covered a certain number of miles on this bicycle. Some customers have reported a good amount of spokes getting loose, making the wheel highly unstable during riding.
Cannondale’s Topstone 105 is a great gravel bike that will cost you less than $2000. It comes with stunningly versatile specs that will bring a new sense of adventure to your gravel biking escapades.
Whether you are just dipping your toes into the world of gravel bikes or an avid rider looking for a new experience, you can never go wrong with this amazing offering from Cannondale.
If you are looking for a gravel bike to take you on long stretches and tackle different kinds of terrains, the Topstone 105 is a suitable candidate to offer you a great deal of comfort. It has an acceptable geometry with powerful breaks to provide you with complete control of the ride.
Not to mention that you can easily ride on it on both gravel trails and technical terrain. For someone trying to upgrade from their current trail bike, the Topstone 105 is worth taking a look.
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