Cannondale was the first major manufacturer to embrace gravel. They did it with a defiantly different bike, the Slate. Cannondale has a gravel race bike, the SuperSix EVO SE, which doubles as a cyclocross race machine, and four iterations of the Topstone, their more versatile platform.
The Topstone comes in carbon and aluminum options with the Lefty Oliver fork. Cannondale is a no-nonsense company in many ways; this extends to their naming conventions. The aluminum Topstone currently comes in four models: Topstone 1, 2, 3, and 4. The carbon-fiber version comes in 105, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, with Lefty and light-ready variations. The Neo, the e-bike version, also has a Lefty model. The Topstone's aluminum models are built as a value-oriented, versatile adventurer. The carbon-fiber versions are even more versatile, as they can fit 650b wheels and has its Kingpin rear suspension, with 10mm of travel at the hub and 30mm at the saddle. When the Lefty fork is added, the bike grows in off-road capability.
The Slate is the first Cannondale gravel bike, one that inspired some initial derision and then countless imitators. The Slate debuted in 2015 and was discontinued in 2019. What made it different was first the use of 650b wheels, a rarity at the time, paired with 42mm tires, providing an effective wheel diameter similar to 700c wheels with 25mm tires. The second was the 30mm travel Lefty Oliver fork. The Slate had a road bike feel on the pavement but allowed for mountain bike adventures when off. The Cannondale Slate was offered with SRAM Apex 1 and Force 1, Shimano 105, and Ultegra build options from the factory. If you come across one, snag it up; you will not regret it!