TESTED: Cannondale Women’s SuperX Force 1 – Bike Magazine Australia

Being a small person in cyclocross can be hard. Many brands only offer bikes down to a 49, leaving many of us with short legs on bikes with a higher standover than we’d like. After all, no one wants to worry about smashing their crotch on the top tube when they fumble a remount. 

Enter the Cannondale Women’s SuperX Force 1. This eye-catching and race-ready machine is built for the serious cross racer, with tubeless-ready wheels and tyres, a SRAM Force one-by drivetrain, and hydraulic disc brakes. Best of all, it comes in sizes from a 46 up to a 54.

The carbon frame geometry is the same as the men’s SuperX, but the bike comes equipped to handle the needs of a more petite rider, including 165mm cranks, a shorter stem, narrower bars, and a women’s-specific saddle. These tweaks make the bike just a little more comfortable and out of-the-box ready for many smaller riders. It could even be a great pick for a serious junior racer.

Take, for example, the 40 cm bars, which strike the perfect balance between narrower bars, which can feel skittish, and wider bars, which can throw off your leverage if you’ve got smaller shoulders. The amount of drop on these bars lets me grab the brakes from multiple bar positions, and gave me more confident leverage while sprinting and climbing.

I did not have the SuperX set up as tubeless, but the Schwalbe X-One tyres are tubeless-compatible, as well as the CX 1.0 rims. I raced some really muddy cross courses with this setup and found that the tyres cleared mud well and were grippy enough to lean into grassy turns without sliding out. If the stock 33c tires don’t work for you, you can fit up to a 40c tire on the Super X frame. 

The cherry on the top of this women’s-specific cross bike is the look. Cannondale says it chose the bright patterned graphics to reflect what this bike does best – going really fast and helping you have a rad time doing it. The company says it wanted the SuperX to look like “a fast party,” and I think they nailed it.

The only thing about the SuperX that I didn’t like was the gearing. The bike comes stock with a 40-tooth front chainring and an 11/32 cassette. Coming from the track, I like to spin a little bit more while I’m racing, and I didn’t feel like I had the range to do that. However, gearing is an easy change, and overall this bike has been very popular with women’s cross racers so far. In 2016, Cannondale sold out of the women’s SuperX, and I see a bright future ahead for this women’s cyclocross bike. 

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