So I have a Cannondale SystemSix SRAM Red eTap AXS and it is a mind-blowing blast to ride. It's as if you are strapped onto a little rocket ship. It leans and dives into corners with rail-like speed and stability. Stand-up and every watt you pour into it propels the bike forward. It's surprisingly smooth and comfortable for an aero bike, but don't call it an aero bike says Cannondale. It's an every day, every kind of bike they say. Whatever the case may be, it's my new race bike and this season is going to be a barrel full of fun riding it.
So I couldn't of course leave this alone and ride it as stock. No. SRAM thinks the world is ready for 1x on the road and so do I. In a race, it's very rare I use or need the small chainring. That fact along with SRAM's new eTap AXS rear derailleur designed for road 1x convinced me that for racing, a 1x is all I would need. The bonuses are less complication, less weight, less drag, and just as efficient as a standard 39/53 2x setup . All of this plus a bike that's just been deemed the fastest road bike in the world. Not too shabby, eh?
The other upgrade is Rotor's new 2INPower DM Road powermeter crankset with oval 1x Q-rings. I was curious both with oval rings and with Rotor's Optimal Chainring Position (OCP) tech which is designed to tailor their Q-rings position with your pedal style. My first impressions of the oval rings was that the difference when pedaling is subtle and something I easily could get used to. Time will tell of course if they work for me and what benefits OCP will deliver both of which I am willing to try.
The front-end needed a little work for me as well. The standard KNOT stem and bar combination was not going to work for me. That's why we swapped those out for longer and narrower versions. The 120mm KNOT stem when paired with the 38cm KNOT handlebar comes out to really 130mm in length when measuring from the center of the bars to the center of stem at the steerer tube. I still could use a little more extension so I'm hoping that Cannondale does release a 130mm version.
The KNOT 64 wheels came stock with Vittoria Rubino Pros in 23mm. With the rims 21mm ID, the tires did in fact balloon out over 26mm as advertised. According to Cannondale's tech, this is the optimal setup for not only the wheels but for the whole bike. I've been a tubeless convert for some time now so I had to ditch these clinchers in favor of my go to tires, Schwalbe Pro One tubeless. And damm those 23mm tires and the claims on speed from Cannondale, so I put on the sofa-like 25mm versions which inflate to 28mm for the ultimate in comfort.
Last but not least came the saddle. I've been riding SMP saddles now on all my bikes. I'll have to admit, they mostly work for me but I can't say they are perfect for me either. Upon first look at the ProLogo Dimension NDR saddle the bike came with, I thought, hmmm, this may just work for me. It's flat, which I prefer, it has a cutout for your bits, which I need, and it's short at the nose, which is perfect for races when you are constantly getting in and out of the saddle. It only took sitting on this saddle once to know this could be the one! And, so far, so good!
A huge shout-out to the boys at Halter's Cycles, Jason, Trip, and Cody for getting me all I needed and setting me up. They are up in Montgomery Township, NJ and I always like to joke that I drive by lots of other good bike shops just to get up there but its my go to shop and its true. Thanks.