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2018 Cannondale SuperX SE Review

By Bruce Lin
Photos By Chris Motta
Cannondale SuperX Cyclocross Bike

The Cannondale SuperX SE is a carbon cyclocross bike that's specially equipped from the factory to excel at riding dirt and gravel grinding. 

Cannondale SuperX SE Highlights

  • Lightweight Carbon Frame
  • Huge Mud Clearance
  • SRAM Force 1 Drivetrain
  • Cannondale Hollowgram Si Cranks
  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • WTB KOM i23 Wheels
  • Ai Offset Rear Spacing

Cannondale SuperX SE Details

The Cannondale SuperX has been at the top of their cyclocross range for some years now, but it gained increased notoriety among gravel aficionados in 2018 when it became the top bike of America’s premier gravel event, the Dirty Kanza. Ted King took the men’s win and Kaitie Keough the women’s, and both did so aboard the ultra-fast SuperX. This feat now has cemented the SuperX’s reputation as more than just a cross bike, but also as one of the fastest and most capable all-road machines available today. Unlike Cannondale's gravel specific Slate (which has also taken multiple Dirty Kanza wins) the SuperX has an ultralight carbon frame, 700c wheels, and no front suspension. “SE” stand’s for “specially equipped” and the SE spec SuperX has features aimed at making the cross bike more gravel focused. 

Cannondale SuperX SE Cyclocross bike

The SuperX SE uses Cannondale’s unique Ai Offset rear axle spacing. This means that the rear uses a standard 12x142mm thru-axle, but it is offset toward the driveside by 6mm. This moves the hub enough so that the rim, when dished to compensate, is centered between the hub flanges. This allows for equal spoke tension to be used, creating a stiffer and stronger rear wheel than is traditionally possible, while also opening up the rear end more to provide huge clearance for big tires and mud. The 23mm internal wheels and wide, knobby 37c tubeless ready tires provide extra puncture protection, compliance, and grip, which are standard equipment now for serious gravel riding. SRAM’s Force 1 drivetrain provides hydraulic disc brakes and a long cage rear derailleur which allows the SuperX to run a wide range 11-42 cassette. Cannondale's own ultra-lightweight Hollowgram Si cranks round out the build.      

Cannondale SuperX SE Cyclocross Bike

Rider Types

  • Cross Racers
  • Gravel Racers
  • Gravel Riders looking for lightweight and speed

Compared to Cannondale’s other Gravel offerings like the Slate and the Topstone, the SuperX SE has a greater focus on outright speed. The carbon frame is lighter, it has no rack or fender mounts, and the geometry is more aggressive. It is a bike that will satisfy dedicated cyclocross racers and gravel enthusiasts looking to race, train, and do fast group rides. If you're into the more relaxed end of the gravel spectrum and need a bike that can pack a large amount of gear and carry you on all day epics into the countryside, Cannondale’s Topstone is more up your alley. If you want to race gravel, but do so with more comfort and traction, then the Slate's higher volume 650b tires and Lefty Oliver suspension fork will likely be more appealing. The SuperX, however, is still comfortable enough to carry riders on long endurance rides like the 200 mile Dirty Kanza, and it will help you go fast the whole way. 

Check out our Cannondale Collection.

Read the review for the Cannondale Slate.

 

Bruce is a writer who loves getting his bikes dirty, trying new tech, and riding tough trails that make him suffer for hours at a time.