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Habit Neo 2 – Four Rides In

Cannondale Habit Neo 2 in Glasgow Green

Working in a bike shop, you have a varied choice when it comes to borrowing a bike for a ride, but I’ve had my eye on the Cannondale Habit Neo 2 since it came into the shop and over the space of a week, I’ve had it out 4 times to put it through its paces.

It’s had a varied few rides, some tarmac, some flowing trails with berms and drops, and some more technical sections with roots and ruts. This bike has not missed a beat.

My first ride on the Habit was at the trails at Cathkin Braes. We were cycling from the shop and I was happy to be able to play with the power modes on a solid surface before hitting the trails. After some initial fiddling around with modes, I found Tour mode to be the best for the cycle from the shop, as it adapts to the surface and riding style, pulling the power back on the flats and still making you work.

The first thing I did when I got on the trails was crank it to turbo – big mistake. Too much power for those tight turns, especially for a newbie like myself. I was overshooting and skidding out of corners so caution is advised with that much power at your fingertips – there’s no real need on the way down.

And breathe… boss man @neil and @steesh taking a breather at Cathkin.

Uphill is a different story however.. I’m very new to trails but having that power behind me for going uphill really made the going easy, and easy is what I am looking for. While the rest of the team were puffing away on steep climbs, I was able to shift down, crank up the power and make it back up to the top easily.

The battery makes the bike heavier than a standard MTB, but it wasn’t a dead weight. I was able to lift over gates fairly easily. This came in handy when I had the bike up at Callendar Estate in Falkirk, on our staff Tuesday ride.

The beauty of having that power on demand is that it gets you up the hill and back to doing the fun stuff more quickly.

The rest of the guys at Callendar Estate, Falkirk, on one of our weekly staff rides.

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The Techy Section

Bike Components:

The components on the Habit Neo 2 are high quality, which is to be expected for a bike of this standard and price range.

The drivetrain is Shimano SLX 12 speed, brakes are Magura hydraulic disc with 220mm rotor on the front and 203mm on the rear. The frame is Cannondale’s BallisTec carbon layup. Rockshox front and rear suspension.

Front Rotor
Rear shock
DMR V8 in Fools Gold
Bling DMR V8 in Fools Gold

@liam-d set it up tubeless and with a lovely set of bling Gold DMR V8’s

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How the E system works:

The Kiox colour display is bright and packed with functionality, with power, cadence, rpm, bpm, avg/max speed, distance, range, calories and route planning capabilities (route planning via the connected phone app).

Power is delivered from the Bosch Performance CX drive unit in 4 modes – Eco, Tour, eMTB and Turbo.

Eco is as you’d think. Fairly restrained with a gentle curve upwards up to a maximum of 40Nm of torque

Tour+ is the new mode which adapts to your riding style, allowing you to forget about switching between modes, whether on flat tarmac or climbing a steep ascent. Tour+ gives you the full 85Nm of torque.

eMTB holds back slightly on power delivery initially then gives you the full guns. Depending on pedal pressure, progressive motor support perfectly to the riding situation. Start-up behaviour is much finer and more sensitive – especially in low gears.  

Turbo is self explanatory – full power delivered as fast as possible. Not advisable on loose surfaces but definitely advisable all the way home after riding 🙂

Shamelessly TURBO all the way home and still with 50% battery.

Summary..

This bike is all about one word – fun. Spend a bit of time setting the positions of the shifters, dropper lever and brakes, play about with the modes for a bit then just have at it. I had absolutely no shame having it on Turbo when cycling back from Cathkin to the shop and it was definitely a help at the big hills and for getting away from lights sharply.

On the trails it’s something else entirely, an absolute machine for getting you back up to the top quickly and ready to do the fun stuff again – flinging yourself down a hill at speed 🙂

We have these in various sizes in the shop so give us a shout if you fancy taking one for a spin round the Green.

https://www.billybilslandcycles.co.uk

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Buyers Guides Product Reviews Staff Bikes

Topstone Tales

Gravel is the latest discipline to take the cycling world by storm, so obviously I had to jump on the band wagon…and I have to say I am a total Gravel convert! I’ve had my Topstone for almost a year now, making her the elder sibling of my other much loved Cannondale, Suzy the Supersix. My Topstone and I have been on many adventures over this past year – from local blasts around Whitelee Windfarm to BikePacking extravaganzas in the Scottish Highlands. Stay tuned to find out what makes the Topstone so addictive.

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Why I Chose the Cannondale Supersix Blog

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I have always loved all types of cycling; road, track and mountain. So the thought that Gravel could be the best of all three totally captured my attention. With the speed of a road bike and the playful handling of a track bike, all topped off with the capability of a mountain bike – I just couldn’t resist the temptation.

But why the Topstone in particular? Well first off, the colour…I’m not ashamed to admit that purple has my heart 😉 Aside from the good looks, the Topstone carbon stood out for me as it satisfied my inner nerd. Ground breaking kingpin suspension design and ballis tec carbon frame were features I just had to have in my life. After all I did say I wanted the most versatile, yet fast, bike on the market. I know you might be thinking suspension = slow, however when riding off road grip = fast. Therefore when riding eyeballs out on loose descents, having the piece of mind that your rear wheel is going to track well no matter the terrain (due to the suspension smoothing out the bumps to maintain contact with the ground) you naturally go faster. Also I will mention that Kingpin is only 30mm of travel as opposed to a typical Mountain bike which would have a minimum of 100mm, so don’t worry the Topstone is still a speed machine, not a bouncy slow poke.

I remember the moment my Topstone finally (damn COVID delays) arrived in the shop well. Sheer excitement! So much so that I threw her together and started planning the first ride for the very next day. I was so focused on getting out and riding that I neglected setting the bike up tubeless…we will come back to that later. Naturally I chose Aberfoyle for the maiden voyage of my new steed – as it’s hyped up to be some of the best gravel riding in the country. It’s safe to say I was not disappointed. I took inspiration from the Duke’s Weekender and set off for a 30 mile Gravelfoyle adventure incorporating some fine viaducts in the process. It was a blissful day and of course it wasn’t long before I got carried away…back to the lack of tubeless set up I mentioned earlier…I was pushing the boundaries of the Topstone’s off-road capabilities on singletrack trails around Loch Ard when I struck a hidden tree route with some force…BANG rear flat. To my surprise the WTB wheels that come stock were unaffected by the impact but of course those pesky innertubes inevitably popped. So long story short if you’re ever swithering to go tubeless, the answer is yes.

After this incident I set my bike up tubeless…and may have also bought some saucy new wheels as well. I know, a bit outrages to get an upgrade after one ride,but it’s dangerous working in a toy shop…especially when you’re a tech nerd like me. I topped off my Gravel beast with a set of DT Swiss CRC1400 carbon wheels and haven’t had a problem since.

One of my favourite things about the Topstone is how easy it is to go for a ride, because you can literally ride it anywhere. I stay in East Kilbride so my local gravel escape is Whitelee Windfarm which is where I ride the Topstone most as I can simply ride from my front door and be done in a couple of hours while riding some premium gravel sectors (and sometimes MTB singletrack) in the process.

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My favourite route around Whitelee

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In more recent times I have taken my Topstone a bit further afield into the Scottish Highlands for a bit of BikePacking. Inspired by Lachlan Morton’s GBDURO epic, I thought I’d try a BikePacking adventure of my own. However on a not quite so extreme level…I started my route at Kinloch Laggan and finished at Corrour Station House for some venison casserole and a pint before a WildCamp at Loch Ossian, then back to Kinloch Laggan the following day. Aside from making my position too aggressive to successfully fit a handlebar bag to an XS frame…I had a blast! and the Topstone was perfect, almost made me forget I was fully laden.

So long story short Gravel totally lives up to the hype and the Topstone is one of the best tools for it. In my opinion the Topstone Carbon really is the fastest and most versatile bike on the market. From local bimbles, weekend adventures and BikePacking extravaganzas the Topstone will leave you with a huge smile ear to ear, what more could you want from a bike.

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Shop Cannondale Topstone

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Check out some of Ellie’s Topstone Tales on her YouTube Channel

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Buyers Guides Staff Bikes

Why I Chose The Cannondale SuperSix.

Buying a new bike can be daunting, spending months researching models and brands making sure everything is perfect. Endless lists of pros and cons and scrolling through forums to find exactly what you want in a bicycle. That’s why I decided to write this blog, as someone who is fortunate enough to work in a bike shop which means I can access pretty much all the brands in the industry, I wanted to showcase why the SuperSix from Cannondale stood out for me.

Firstly, being a female cyclist its often very hard to find a brand which takes women’s cycling seriously and in turn offers a high end women’s option(s) so initially that’s why Cannondale caught my eye. They are also one of the few brands who have female brand ambassadors as opposed to solely male riders. As well as being female, I am also only 5ft so this also makes buying bikes hard, for both vertically challenged men and women. However Cannondale offer their SuperSix Evo right down to a 44cm frame (I ride the 48cm) making the bike super accessible to all riders.

In the past I have only ever ridden aero road bikes as my heart lies in racing and riding flat out. However when Cannondale released their new rendition of the Supersix in 2020 marketing it as the perfect all rounder with new truncated aerofoil tubes, the bike was instantly on my radar. I’ve never been much of a mountain goat, so the idea of having the best of aero and lightweight interested me. After the SuperSix won ‘Bike Of the Year’ for 2020 I knew it was a force to be reckoned with.

After doing a bit of digging I found that the new SuperSix truncated aerofoil tube shapes have reduced drag by 21% compared to its predecessor. I also found another study showing that the Supersix came out on top in a windtunnel Yaw angle test covering 95% of riding conditions at 30mph against the top competitors lightweight models from brands such as Specialized and Cervelo. I’ll link the full article below if you really want to nerd out.

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Another deciding factor for me, as silly as it might seem, was the colourway. I already had another bike from Cannondale, the women’s Topstone Carbon 2 which I love! Both of which are in Cannondale’s stunning Lavender colourway, which is like a pearl purple. So it would have been rude not to get bikes that complimented each other.

I also love to make my bikes different from the stock model and the Cannondale came in at a price that let me do that. Unfortunately you cannot buy the SuperSix as frame only, however you can sell the stock components to fund different ones, which is what I did. Originally the bike came with a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc groupset, Cannondale One crankset and Cannondale RD 2.0 wheelset, I had other ideas. The wheels were changed out for Enve Composites Foundation 45mm carbon deeps (a nod to my aero obsession) the tyres changed to Vittoria Corsa Control Tubeless Ready in 28mm. I also upgraded to a Sram Red AXS electronic groupset (including cranks) and finished the build off with an Deda Zero handlebar and stem combo.

My new SuperSix (nicknamed Suzy) turned out to be pretty much my dream build which I am super proud of. I’ve only managed to get out on her for a few rides so stay tuned to see my next write up in the coming months after I’ve had a bit more time in the saddle, where I will go into a bit more detail on how she rides.

Thanks for reading, Ellie 🙂

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Check out the range of Cannondale Supersix’s on our website.

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Check out the video below of Ellie’s new SuperSix being built up and some more information on the components.

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Product Reviews Staff Bikes

A Year With The Whyte Glencoe

It’s been just over a year since I buckled to the temptations of Whyte’s mould breaking Glencoe. And what a smashing year it has been, churning out miles over all sorts of ground.

I’ve always been a mountain biker through and through but the idea of having a road bike had always appealed to me. The convenience of being able to jump on the bike right outside your front door and get the legs spinning for a wee workout straight away is something that isn’t quite so possible with the mountain bike – you usually require a thirty minute (plus) drive before getting to your destination. I was also using my beloved Whyte 905 to commute to the shop each day which was putting unnecessary wear on the components. Great fun to commute on, but putting your weekend toy through the everyday Glasgow brutality that destroys commuters is a painful one.

So I was essentially looking for a do-it-all hack that I could pay minimal attention to, to keep it working while the bike was still saucy enough for me to enjoy the odd recreational road ride. The Glencoe was one of the earlier 650b adventure road bikes and came out offering astounding bang-for-buck; tubeless wheels, 1x Apex groupset, bolt-thru axles and TRP HYRD disc brakes. And not to mention the frame features; nice geometry with a long top tube length and short steerer tube, wide tyre clearance with room for mudguards too, and a comfy low bb height that helps you feel in, as opposed to on the bike. Oh, and the tan wall tyres look the berries, actually, wait a minute – the whole bike looks nothing other than awesome (largest deciding factor obviously).

Therefore the Glencoe was a no brainer. And it wasn’t much time of riding to and from work till I was riding it at the weekends, getting out the night lights and racking up miles after work, letting the mountain bikes gather dust (wit?!). Within a month there was a few hundred miles of all sorts of terrain under the tyres and all largely done on cycle paths, landcover tracks and dirt paths. It had become infectious exploring new routes, seeing where I would end up and setting new post-work challenges to complete on the bike. It’s so incredibly capable, it just makes you want to go exploring.

Now the Glencoe is obviously no lightweight racer. But for what it lacks in weight saving, makes up for with spades of fun and comfort. Long rides are a doddle with the comfort turned up 11, you won’t set any records but the bike is by no means slow. The slick tyres roll surprisingly quickly at lower pressures, and having the wider tyre allows you to corner quicker or perhaps go through the mud and cut the corner altogether. However the tyres can be quite slidey when run at higher pressures, perhaps the marginally grippier WTB Byway tyre would have been a better option. The low pressures are definitely required – I tried running the WTB Horizon tyres between 20 and 30PSI and settled for 25 in the front and just shy of 30 in the rear. So tubeless is a must in order to avoid being susceptible to punctures. If the tyres were over 30PSI I felt the ride became harsh quite quickly and felt a bit like a marble on a glass table. And below 20, well, I’d be putting the rim through the tyre on every pothole!

The tyres were tricky to get set up tubeless but once the tyres were seated and set up, few issues followed. In the past year I’ve had only two puncture issues on the Glencoe. Both of which required a single dismount between them, and the pump stayed firmly in the bag the whole time. The first required getting off the bike to pull out a pretty descent sized nail, leaving a hole that sealed shortly after pulling it out and spinning the wheel a few times. The second, was a case of keep pedalling until the spinning/hissing noise stopped. And it did, allowing me to do the last two thirds of a 60mile ride with out getting off of the bike *smug face*. Who knows how many times the tubeless sealant has worked it’s magic and I’ve been none the wiser though.

One of the greatest aspects of the Glencoe is it’s versatility. In the shop we’ve put out 700c variations with the Mavic Allroad wheelset, kitted out loads with full length mudguards and/or pannier racks, narrowed the bars, upraded the brakes to full hydraulic, added bike packing frame bags, fitted knobbly MTB tyres, and even added dropper posts! And for me this is where a lot of the fun with the bike lies (in the shop we even toyed with the idea of creating the TT Glencoe!).

Therefore I’ve made a good (and bad) few changes to the bike over the past year. The first change was giving the bike a bit more a road racer/CX fit, so saddle in the air, longer stem and slammed. I never really got on with the super-wide 50cm bars – as opposed to increasing manoeuvrability and stability I felt the bar was cumbersome and prevented me tucking in and sprinting. So I replaced them with a set of 3T 42cm aerobars which definitely provided the aggressive road fit I was looking for, while also offering an incredible aero advantage (Dougie, you’re mad). The handlebar is a bit of fun really, no need to ask why it’s on, just accept it and chuckle. Also the saddle is tartan patterned, chosen with no regards to its fit or comfort aspects, merely because it’s tartan.

Later on, the aim was to make it more mountain bikey from the ground up, essentially producing a mountain bike with a road racer cockpit. So off came the handsome tan wall tyres for a pair of Maxxis Crossmark II XC MTB tyres, despite all the nobbles the tyres are rapid!! While offering loads more grip when traction is in less supply. Tyre clearance with these tyres on is next to nothing so personally wouldn’t recommend (why are you doing it then you madman?!) but the skinnier knobbly WTB Resolute tyres fit no issues, you get to keep the tan walls and a mudguards fits too!The most recent change to the bike was fitting on the largest disc rotor size available – 203mm disc brake rotors! (Yep, you’ve lost your marbles Dougie). Now I love tinkering and this “upgrade” was more to see if it was possible – could 203mm rotors be fitted to a road bike? The answer is that, with a considerable amount of faff, a replacement post mount calliper and a rucksack full of disc brake adapters the Glencoe makes it possible. Solely due to the fact that Whyte opted for 160mm rotors instead of the standard road sized 140mm, I imagine because the grippier tyre is able to hold the ground better under bigger braking forces. In the shop we don’t recommend this change at all for a number of reasons but I decided to go for because, well, it looks frickin’ great.

Most of the changes I’ve made have really been about testing the bike’s capabilities as opposed to enhancing the performance. The bike works so well as standard that it really doesn’t need any changes, as I said I’m just a tinkerer! I’ve had so much fun with and on this bike I can’t recommend it enough. Off the bat it is a bike that is ready to play and explore. Whether commuting, bike packing, touring, road riding, adventure roading, cycle-crossing, trail riding or even mountain biking the Glencoe will have a good crack at them all and leave you with a big grin on your face!