Topstone 4 Gravel Bike Boasts Groundbreaking Tech on a Budget: Carbon Adventures Begin

Since summer is just about over in most places on the planet, this is the perfect time to start exploring your next two-wheeler. One machine you should get to know is Cannondale's new Topstone Carbon 4, a rather budget-friendly carbon fiber bicycle that leaves very little room for improvement.
Topstone 4 9 photos
Photo: Cannondale
Topstone 4Topstone 4 (Color Option)Topstone 4 (Color Option)KinpinFork MountsDropper PostTopstone Carbon 6Topstone Carbon 2 Lefty
Every year, automakers unleash what they feel will be the peak of design and capability for the following year. Bicycle manufacturers do the same thing, and one crew that's been shaping the cycling industry is Cannondale. With bicycles flowing through their blood since 1971, this crew needs to be kept under ever-watchful eyes.

Well, 52 years of bicycle R&D have led to a lineup of gravel bikes dubbed Topstone, and while you can find two-wheelers of varying abilities and prices, the 4 is the least expensive of the newest specimens. Nonetheless, it shares countless traits with its more expensive brethren, and that's what we'll be exploring today.

For example, you're out there riding along on what appears to be a hardtail bike, like any gravel bicycle should be, but what surprised me most is that Cannondale messed around with the rear triangle on their Topstone series, and you'll find a Kingpin suspension on the rear of the 4. Best of all, there's no added linkage to this mechanism, but your ride will still be softened.

Photo: Cannondale
All this works by simply integrating a pivot point for the seat stay into the seat tube. Furthermore, the carbon fiber tubing of the rest of the frame is shaped in such a way as to allow the rear triangle to flex. That flexion is then pivoted around the, well, Kingpin. This action also bends the seat tube, thus absorbing some of the shocks a rider feels from the road and off-road routes.

Continuing with the 4's abilities, one of the essentials I look for in any gravel or adventure bike is the ability to handle cargo, and the Topstone bikes are more than ready for this calling. While the rear doesn't look like it can take cargo racks – it's already busy flexing to soften your ride – the front fork does include rack mounts, and so does the forward triangle. You can spot mounts on the top, seat, and down tubes. Don't forget about seat post and handlebar bags too. Oh, speaking of seat posts, this bugger is dropper ready. Just a little something-something to help expand its abilities.

Now, I could keep you here for over an hour or so explaining all that this bike has to offer, but it's much easier if we just take a quick trip into your lifestyle with a Topstone 4. Considering traffic has been literal hell in recent times, you decide to take your bike to work, and with the presence of those cargo mounts, you'll be able to carry your briefcase to your office.

Topstone 4 \(Color Option\)
Photo: Cannondale
If it's a weekday, after work, you'll most likely head home. But if it's Friday, you change into your riding outfit, take the elevator down to the parking lot where your 4 is waiting with adventure gear mounted to it, and off you go. You'll sleep on the outskirts of town tonight, watching the city's lights go out. The next day, you pack up your tent, have a small meal, hydrate, and go back into town for a warm shower and relaxation. Talk about recharging for the next week. Come Sunday, you can just ready your Topstone for the upcoming week, in this case, the season.

At the end of the day, this experience will only cost you $2,825 (€2,900 at current exchange rates), so the Topstone 4 comes across as a two-wheeler to consider if you're in the market for a new bike. 'Tis the season to start looking for next year's machine.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery also showcase other Topstone gravel bikes.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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