We may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase through links on this page. Learn more.

Cannondale Topstone Review

Last updated: May 21, 2020

Category: Gravel Bikes

A set of completely capable gravel bikes, the Cannondale Topstone gravel bikes are a sleek set of performance focused rides adept at handling roadways and light trail tracks at high speed at a comfortable cost.


With gravel bikes becoming more and more popular as their innate versatility is well-enjoyed, the Cannondale Topstone rides are perfect for all-day adventures with their sturdy build and adaptable nature.

Modern design elements draw a professional and attractive picture which is sure to stand the test of time. Multiple mounting positions for water bottles and a top tube frame bag offers plenty of room for light cargo and the bike is ready to accept a dropper post and fenders.

There are two Topstone offerings, one which uses a set of Shimano Sora parts and the other with a nicer group of Shimano 105 pieces. Only the Topstone 105 has a model tailored specifically for women:

Womens available?GroupsetFrame materialFork materialBrake type
Topstone SoraNoShimano ClarisAluminumCarbonMechanical Disc
Topstone 105YesShimano SoraAluminumCarbonHydraulic Disc


Built with the same SmartForm C2 aluminum alloy frame, the Topstone rides are expectedly light and durable. Able to handle most any abuse you can throw at them, they fulfill their role well as the building block for the entire bike.

Topstone SoraSmartForm C2 Alloy, 142×12 thru-axle, tapered headtube, flat mount disc, StraightShot internal cable routing, multiple gear/bottle mountsFull Carbon, 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ steerer, 55mm OutFront offset, flat mount disc, internal routing, 12×100 thru axle
Topstone 105SmartForm C2 Alloy, 142×12 thru-axle, tapered headtube, flat mount disc, StraightShot internal cable routing, multiple gear/bottle mountsFull Carbon, 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ steerer, 55mm OutFront offset, flat mount disc, internal routing, 12×100 thru axle

The front fork on both bikes are entirely made of carbon fiber, offering lighter steering and better vibration dampening than an aluminum equivalent. This difference is especially noticeable during long stretches on any surface which isn’t a smooth roadway.

There are no differences in terms of geometry or anything else frame related between the two models, and we can confidently say that Cannondale did a great job at creating a hardy and comfortable bike.


The distinguishing factor between the two, each of the bikes features a markedly different set of components.

The Topstone Sora uses a set of Shimano Sora pieces geared to 18 speeds which offers plenty of versatility. Mated with a set of mechanical disc brakes, the overall performance is certainly great, however not quite on the level as the other option.

The Topstone 105 outfitted with the Shimano 105 drivetrain is notably better in terms of power delivery, shifting, and offers 22 speeds to choose from. The 105 hydraulic disc brakes offer significantly improved stopping power and overall the performance between the two rides is quite noticeable.

Topstone SoraTopstone 105
ShiftersShimano Sora, 2×9Shimano 105 hydro disc, 2×11
Front DerailleurShimano Sora, 31.8 clampShimano 105, 31.8 clamp
Rear DerailleurShimano SoraShimano 105 GS
CranksetFSA Tempo Adventure, 46/30FSA Omega ME alloy, 46/30
BrakesPromax Decoder R cable actuated disc, 160/160mmShimano 105 hydro disc, 160/160mm RT56 rotors
CassetteSunrace, 11-34, 9-speedShimano 105, 11-34, 11-speed
ChainKMC Z9, 9-speedKMC X11, 11-speed

While the Topstone Sora is certainly no slouch, the 105 is much better suited to performance-based activity and definitely the better pick if fond of pushing the pace harder than usual.


Built strong enough to resist damage from gravel-bike related riding, the 28-spoke rims found on both have great weight capacity and resilience against most abuses.

Topstone SoraRD 2.0, 28hWTB Riddler Comp, 700 x 37c
Topstone 105WTB ST i23 TCS, 28h, tubeless readyWTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 37c, tubeless ready

The Topstone Sora uses set standard tubed wheels/tires with WTB Riddler Comp as the rubber. A fine set of tires for both disciplines of riding, they roll quick and sport great traction for all-conditions riding.

Another area of improvement, the Topstone 105 opts for tubeless-ready WTB ST i23 wheels which improves reliability and reduces weight over tires with tubes. WTB Riddler TCS light tires with 37mm of width offer great grip on both pavement and dirt pathways while offering a low rolling resistance.

Overall, we much prefer tubeless tires for the reduced weight and improved reliability, however, they’re not an absolute necessity and traditional tubed tires are perfectly fine if performance isn’t at the forefront of your focus.


As gravel bikes should be, you’re put in a semi-aggressive riding posture which helps greatly with aerodynamics without being uncomfortable by any means. 16° flare on the drop handlebars helps with handling off-road and a generally great all-round choice.

The seats chosen are perfectly fine and it’s tough to recommend one over the other as everyone is different. We can’t see one needing to replace the saddle regardless and overall, the Topstone series are perfectly comfortable for a full day of rough riding.

Topstone SoraCannondale Stage ErgoCannondale 3, butted 6061 Alloy, 16 deg flare dropN/A
Topstone 105Fabric Scoop Radius Sport, steel railsCannondale 3, butted 6061 alloy, 16 deg flare dropN/A

The versatility you can enjoy with the numerous mounting positions is really where ergonomics can improve as you’re able to toss on a bag, fenders, or frame mounts to help with carrying cargo.