Cannondale SuperSix Women's 3 Ultegra Review

Updated May 31, 2013
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Cannondale SuperSix Women's 3 Ultegra
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The carbon-framed Cannondale SuperSix Women's Ultegra is ergonomically designed specifically for female riders in four sizes that fit just right, making it a top choice for serious women cyclists. The bike comes outfitted with Shimano Ultegra components, and Mavic Aksium wheels and tires.

Performance

Perfect amount of stiffness. Women's Adventure Magazine editors say the SuperSix's "stiffness and torsional rigidity" seem to transfer "every watt of your energy into forward-pushing power." While the BB30 crankset provides maximum torsion and results in uninterrupted momentum, the frame boasts responsive pedaling, and precise handling in corners and at high speeds.

ProsFull-carbon frame, Comfortable ride, Female-specific features, sizesConsCan only be purchased fully assembled, Limited sizing, Slight toe overlap

Experts and owners have few complaints. Bicycling Magazine likes "the high-end standards such as a BB30 bottom bracket, hourglass seat stays and a tapered steerer tube." Others say the "Shimano Ultegra drivetrain is a nice benefit," adding that "you'll likely want a set of race-day wheels" as the stock Mavic Aksiums aren't up to the same race-inspired standards.

Road.cc editors call the SuperSix's ride "extraordinarily responsive, with excellent acceleration from standing and at speed, whilst handling was slightly flighty but easy to get used to." They appreciate how easy it is for riders to transfer power through the bottom bracket, especially on the uphill.

Comfort

A joy to ride. Cannondale designed the SuperSix with a shorter top tube, slightly taller headtube, narrower handlebars, a women's saddle and brakes positioned closer to the hands. The carbon frame comes in four female-specific sizes.

The SuperSix Women's Ultegra is a fast race bike but doesn't sacrifice comfort thanks to the women-specific Fi'zi:k Arione Donna saddle and Cannondale's C2 compact wing handlebar. Road.cc's Leonie Jennings says there's an issue with toe overlap -- where the back of the front wheel hits the rider's toe in the most forward pedaling position -- but due to the geometry, it can manifest itself only on extremely tight turns that are much tighter than you would usually expect to encounter in normal riding conditions. However, it could be hazardous in city and traffic riding.

Editors at Women's Adventure Magazine say the SuperSix's lightweight construction doesn't compromise the ride and handling. Jennings adds, "even on a post-winter pothole riddled road the ride was surprisingly comfortable, with little road buzz, thanks to the combined efforts of the carbon frame (particularly the back end), forks and seatpost."

Durability

Full carbon frame. The bike's 2013 version is made of unidirectional carbon that's tuned for specific stiffness in the bottom bracket area while staying supple in seat stays that are designed to absorb road vibration. Cannondale says the deep radius headtube increases the cross-section of the crucial top tube/downtube/headtube junction for maximum torsional rigidity.

Reviewers suggest upgrading the wheels to something lighter and more rigid.

Customer Service

Limiting retail policy. Cannondale's warranty covers manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner. All other components are guaranteed against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for one year from the original date of retail purchase.

Cannondale doesn't sell its bikes online or through mail order; they must be sold completely assembled and adjusted by Cannondale retailers at authorized locations. This means your bike is ready to ride after purchase, but it limits availability. Cannondale notes, "The sole exception is a U.S. retailer specifically authorized by Cannondale to sell only triathlon-specific bicycles directly to customers in the U.S."

Customer service gets mixed reviews in various cycling forums. While a few owners describe a top-flight experience, a number of others say they had difficulty getting a response. Others complain that Cannondale doesn't check its customer service emails.

Our Sources

1. Bicycling Magazine

Bike Reviews: Cannondale SuperSix 3 Ultegra, Editors of Bicycling Magazine, April 2011

Bicycling Magazine evaluates the unisex version of the Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra. Testers are impressed by the Shimano Ultegra groupset and improved braking performance, but recommend a lighter wheelset.

2. Cycling Weekly

Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra, Editors of Cycling Weekly, Nov. 25, 2010

Cycling Weekly editors say the unisex version of the Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra "performed flawlessly all day long," but recommend upgrading the wheels to something lighter and more rigid.

3. Road.cc

Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra Feminine, Leonie Jennings, April 14, 2011

This British cycling website offers detailed, test-based reviews. Here Jennings calls the Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra "one hell of a bike," but it's expensive.

4. Women's Adventure magazine

Spring Gear: Road Bikes, Editors of Women's Adventure Magazine, March 4, 2011

Editors recommend the Cannondale SuperSix Women's Ultegra for serious riders. High points include a stiff, responsive frame, precise handling and Shimano Ultegra components.