tested by our experts
Frame, geometry, versatile
Rear wheel, mudguard
It 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.
Cannondale topstone 105 is the best adventure gravel bikes that offers the best of both worlds! They are like a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. You get to enjoy 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 certainly not a lack of choices.
The Topstone 105 from Cannondale is an exciting gravel grinder that packs a variety of useful features on its frame.
I've spent the last month test riding this bike (June), I will delve deeper into the specifications of the bike to see what makes it different and truly a top choice.
More give. More go. An unprecedented gravel bike with real suspension. It's the most off-road capable and on-road comfortable road bike ever made.
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, they have upgraded a few components in Cannondale C3, all of which share an alloy frame and carbon fork. Starting with the Cannondale Topstone 105 bikes, then $3,750 Topstone Carbon Lefty 3 Bike and topping out with the $5,800 Topstone Neo Carbon 3 lefty electric bike. You can take a closer look at all the models at Cannondale Collections on REI.com
But in this review, we'll be looking at the 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 Cannondale topstone 105 weights is 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.
Plenty of places to store gear and water, with a multi-position mount on the downtube, and more on the top tube, seat tube and under the downtube. There are even mounts on the forks.
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).
These all features count this bike under top gravel bikes 2020.
Refined geometry and rider position deliver an experience that's stable, composed, and comfortable without losing that spark. Go further, ride longer, charge harder.
Straight from the appearance, the Topstone feels like a true 105 gravel grinder, and my suspicions were confirmed on my first test ride. The Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes operates seamlessly and stopped the bike on a dime.
The performance was just as good on flat roads and trails as it was on singletracks and wet gravel. This versatility provides the rider the confidence one needs to take on this diverse 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.
Rims and tires
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.
The most notable feature of this bike is the Kingpin suspension system. This system allows 30mm bump-smoothing suspension that improves comfort, traction, and control.
The thru-axle pivot allows the rear stays, seat tubes and the rear of the tube to flex like leaf springs to absorb road vibration without the weight and complexity of a shock or linkages.
Featuring Kingpin, a revolutionary superlight suspension that lets you ride harder on dirt and more smoothly on the pavement. Better control. Better traction. Better comfort. Nothing sacrificed.
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 the best gravel bike that I've tested in 3 years. 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. On a steep gravel road, being able to get off of the saddle without losing traction is incredible. This bike rockets up logging 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 in going through hundreds of reviews, the rear wheel wearing down quickly was mentioned a few times. That was probably someone using the bike mostly on road surfaces. Some customers have reported spokes getting loose, but not statistically high compared to like-bike reviews. The FSA Omega crankset isn't the favorite because the bottom bracket has a bad reputation for failing early and being difficult to remove.
After your bike has been shipped, there are few steps you will need to reassemble it - It's easy! We've summarized a video from Rei's Expert Advice.
What Users Are Saying About Topstone 105?
Love the utility of the gravel bike. Competent bike even on simply single track. As much road bike as I need on the pavement. Perfect!"
Cannondale's Topstone 105 is a great gravel bike that will cost you less than $2000.
It is considered as the best budget gravel bikes 2021. 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.
Related: Other Cannondale Bikes
If you are looking for a gravel bike to take you on long stretches and tackle different kinds of terrains, the Cannondale Topstone 105 is a suitable candidate to offer you a great deal of comfort. It has an acceptable geometry with powerful brakes 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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