The New 2020 Cannondale Topstone AL Bikepacking Bikes

The Cannondale Topstone is one of my favourite bikepacking bikes for fast n’ light dirt road tours. Named after a dirt road near Cannondale’s USA headquarters, the Topstone has been designed to be both quick on the pavement, but capable on the dirt. I’m quite excited about the 2020 Cannondale Topstone for a number of reasons…

Let’s take a look!

The New 2020 Cannondale Topstone AL Bikes

The 2020 Cannondale Topstone range offers some of the best performance and value of any gravel bike. All of the bikes have been spec’d with sub-compact cranksets (46-30 tooth chainrings) and wide-range cassettes (11-34t) which give the best gear range possible on a dedicated gravel bike – other brands take note! They’re also all using 16-degree flared handlebars which offer more steering leverage and allow for extra space for a front handlebar pack. The Topstone must have sold well last year, as it has been expanded to add two extra models.

The Topstone aluminium frames remain unchanged for this model year. They all feature a threaded bottom bracket shell (big tick), rear rack mounts, internal cable routing in the downtube, routing for a dropper seatpost, 3x bidon cage mounts, a cargo cage mount and top tube bag mount. The frameset has been built around modern axle and brake caliper standards (12×100 and 12x142mm axles / flat-mount disc). The maximum tyre size is 700x42C and it’s expected that a 650x47C wheelset will fit, however that would drop the already low bottom bracket by about a centimetre.

Up the front is a carbon fork with carbon steerer. A fork of this lightweight specification is very uncommon on bikes of this price range! Given the purpose of this bike, it’s interesting that Cannondale hasn’t yet provided any eyelets for cages on either side of the fork. They did include hidden full-fender mounts on the inside of the fork leg, however. The Topstone’s fork uses a longer-than-usual rake (55mm) which increases the wheelbase length to provide some additional stability on the dirt.

2020 Cannondale Topstone Sora // US $1250 – £950
The budget Topstone model offers excellent value given it has the same frameset as its more expensive siblings. It uses the latest generation Shimano Sora gearing which works exceptionally well for the price. The 30-34t climbing gear gets you a 24″ gear which allows for a decent cadence right down to about 7km/h. But a cool thing about Sora is that it’s compatible directly with Shimano Acera MTB derailleurs and Sunrace 11-40t cassettes, lowering the gearing right down to 20.5 gear inches – perfect for those who love steep hills like me! To cut costs elsewhere, the brakes are cable operated, the crankset is square taper, the tyres are wire bead and the rims are not tubeless compatible. The only change other than the colour is a swap to WTB Riddler Comp 37mm gumwall tyres.

Expect the Topstone Sora model to hit the scales around 11kg / 24.2lb.

2020 Cannondale Topstone Tiagra // £1200
One of the new models in the Topstone range is this bike with a Shimano Tiagra 2×10 drivetrain. Over the Sora model, it receives lighter wheels that are tubeless compatible, WTB Riddler 37mm tubeless tyres, an FSA Omega ME crankset with external bottom bracket cups, hydraulic brakes and crisper gear shifting. If your budget extends this far, this is the model which offers the best performance for your money!

You can expect the Topstone Tiagra to weigh around 10.5kg / 23.1lb.

2020 Cannondale Topstone 105 // US $1750 – £1500
The mid-range Topstone model is the pick of the bunch for someone wanting 11-speed shifting components but without the high price tag. With this build you get the latest 7000-series Shimano 105 gearing (it shifts exceptionally well), hydraulic brakes, an FSA external BB crankset and tubeless-ready WTB rims (albeit a step down from the Ultegra build). Fit some narrower 30mm tyres and this would make a pretty decent road bike too. The gear range is 24-114″ which has you climbing at 7km/h and spinning out at 55km/h (60RPM and 100RPM respectively). A Wolftooth Tanpan SH11 will allow you to fit a Shimano 11s MTB derailleur and 11-40t cassette should you need additional climbing gears with this bike.

Expect the Topstone 105 to weigh around 10kg / 22lb.

2020 Cannondale Topstone 105 Women’s // US $1750 – £1500
One of the new models for this year is a women’s version of the Topstone 105. Not much changes from the regular version except for a different colour and a Fabric Scoop women’s saddle. It’s available in the XS, S and M sizing only.

Expect the Topstone 105 to tip the scales at around 10kg / 22lb. 

2020 Cannondale Topstone Ultegra // £1800
The top of the line Topstone model has been switched from a SRAM 1x drivetrain to a Shimano Ultegra 2x setup for this year. This is a great move as it has dropped the climbing gear ratio to 24 gear inches (from 26), and the top gear up to 114 gear inches (from 99). The result is the ability to pedal at 7km/h up a climb and descend at 55km/h (previously 8 and 47km/h). Other than the Shimano Ultegra shifting and braking components, it’s upgraded to some lightweight WTB KOM Light i23 tubeless rims and WTB Nano tubeless tyres in size 40mm.

Expect the Topstone Ultegra to weigh around 9.7kg / 21.4lb. 

Want To Compare The Cannondale Topstone With Dozens of Others?

Check out the Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide which compares the steering speed, sizing, gear ratios, maximum tyre widths, chainstay lengths, pricing and weight of 180+ different bikes. It’s updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

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