Is the top aluminum framed Topstone better than the cheapest carbon fiber model in the lineup? I answer that question and more in this 2022 Cannondale Topstone 2 Alloy review. I dive into price, weight, and drivetrain on this years top aluminum frame gravel bike from Cannondale.
Upgrading from aluminum to carbon fiber doesn’t always make sense, and with the Topstone 2 Alloy this is one of those times. Even the aluminum framed Topstone gravel bikes come with a carbon fiber fork. It does an excellent job dampening vibrations from bumpy trails.
The 2022 Cannondale Topstone 2 Alloy costs $1,900. Last year Cannondale also had a Topstone 1 priced around $2,300. It had a higher end version (800 series) of the same Shimano GRX group. The upgraded components resulted in a minimal weight decrease for an unjustifiable price difference of $400. Shimano is a victim of their own success. The GRX 400 works reliably, and the weight is reasonable. Short of electronic shifting you can’t ask for much else.
When compared to the Cannondale Topstone Carbon 6 there is a $700 price increase, but both bikes have the same Shimano GRX 400 groupset. The only difference i could find was the carbon frame vs. aluminum frame for a $700 price jump. Given the high price of carbon and carbon fiber production, it’s a reasonable price increase.
Cannondale Topstone 2 Alloy Drivetrain
For 2022, the Topstone 2 is equipped with Shimano GRX 400 groupset. It comes with a 2×10 drivetrain with a 46/30 crank and 11-34 cassette. This drivetrain offers plenty of range allowing you to find the right gear to maintain the perfect cadence.
While technically not part of the drivetrain, the brakes are the biggest upgrade on this bike. Lower end models in the lineup are spec’d with Promax mechanical disc brakes, which are great at stopping, but they feel pretty awful. Meanwhile, the Topstone 2 gets Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. The brake modulation of Shimano brakes is unmatched by any other brake manufacturer.
Cannondale invented the press fit cartridge bottom bracket, so its not surprising to see the FSA cartridge on this bike. Hopefully, some day, bike manufacturers will stop making proprietary parts and we will have a universal bottom bracket.
Topstone 2 Alloy Problems
For a bike built to endurance ride on bumpy gravel trails, it’s shocking the saddle on the Topstone is so uncomfortable. Normally, I don’t complain about touch points like pedals, saddle and handlebar tape, but there is nothing else wrong or worth upgrading on this bike.
The saddle really is awful. I love upgrading to Ergon saddles and grips. I always put Ergon grips on my mountain bike, and Ergon saddles on my road bikes. The Ergon SR Pro fits me perfectly. (Check current price on Amazon). Ergon saddles are not cheap, but they set the standard for comfort and are worth every penny.
The groupset is solid from head to toe, and the bike is priced incredibly well for the components you get. A carbon fiber frame would be the next natural upgrade, and Cannondale offers this same bike in carbon fiber with the Topstone 6.
Cannondale Topstone 2 Alloy Weight
According to Cannondale’s website, production weight may vary. After stripping off the lights and bottle cages, the 2022 Topstone 2 weighed 22.5 lbs, or 10.2 kg. You save just over a pound by upgrading to the carbon fiber model for $700.
If you are at optimal riding weight already, it makes sense to spend the money on the lighter bike. If not, carrying extra weight on your body is just as difficult as riding a heavier bike. In the latter scenario upgrading doesn’t make sense.
2022 Cannondale Topstone 2 Alloy Overall Rating
I have Cannondale’s topstone rated as the number two gravel bike in 2022. The Topstone 2 Alloy is an incredible value. This is an excellent bike for any gravel cyclist and any riding level. If you ride recreationally, it will be hard to find a bike this comfortable and this well equipped under $2,000.
Internal cable routing means this bike looks clean. It has an open spot to add an aftermarket dropper post, too. Aesthetically this bike is top-notch. The carbon fiber fork and Shimano GRX 400 groupset means this bike is as nice to ride as it is to look at.
If you enjoyed this 2022 Cannondale Topstone 2 Alloy review, consider reading about the best gravel bike this year in this Trek Checkpoint review.