Gravel biking is the fastest growing discipline in cycling right now. That means bike manufacturers are doing their best to supply as many gravel bike options as possible. In this 2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 review I’ll break down the key features of a bike that is the best gravel bike under $3,000.
The 2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 costs $2,800. It comes in frame sizing from XS to XL with everything in-between. Also, the bike comes in two color options. The Smoke Black looks amazing when its clean, but it shows dust easily, so it always looks dirty. The second color option is Olive Green, which looks… unique, but it improves when you mount bottle cages and other accessories.
I highly recommend adding bike protection tape to your frame, too. Gravel bike tires throw up a lot of debris at your frame, and that’s especially true for the 45c WTB Riddlers on the Topstone 4. This Wei-Paster Kit on Amazon is under $25 and comes in multiple color options, including clear. It’s excellent at minimizing rock chips and other damage to carbon fiber frames.
Topstone Carbon 4 Key Features
The most important feature on this bike is the Kingpin suspension. It’s a rear suspension system made specifically for Cannondale carbon frame gravel bikes. This is not a suspension like you would see on a mountain bike. Rather, it is controlled flex built into the carbon frame and transferred your rear wheel with a thru axle connection to your seatstay and seatpost. When the seatpost flexes, the thru axle allows the seatstay to rotate providing up to 30mm of travel at the saddle. It sounds more com. lex than it is. Bottom line, it makes your bike more comfortable on rough gravel.
The groupset on this bike is Shimano GRX 400. It’s entry level in the GRX lineup, but you still get fast reliable shifting under rough riding conditions. A big reason for the smooth shifting is the built-in clutch on the rear derailleur. It keeps tension on your chain even when riding through bumpy terrain. Doing so allows the bikeshift as needed under any conditions.
Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 Weight
The 2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 weighs 20.62 lbs, but according to Cannondale; weights vary due to component availability and other factors.
The Topstone Carbon 4 is not the lightest gravel bike in 2022. In fact, it’s mid-range, to bottom-half among top bike manufacturers. What you gain in comfort will more than make up for the added weight. It’s also worth noting, excess body weight is more costly than a few extra grams on your bike.
2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 Problems
One of my favorite things about Cannondale bikes is the high quality touchpoint like handlebar tape and saddle. The saddle on the 2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 is the Fizik Aliante Delta, and it’s great. The handlebar tape on the other hand is downright awful.
Bar tape is such a personal preference. On my gravel bike I prever a 3.2mm bar tape that is soft and tacky. On my road bike I prefer a 2.5mm thickness and something a bit more durable. Regardless of your preference, the handlebar tape will need an immediate upgrade. The stock handlebar tape at my local shop was uncomfortable, not durable, and felt like rope.
Overall, the Topstone Carbon 4 is a great bike. From handlebars to rear wheel hub, this bike is loaded with features that provide a fast and comfortable ride. Cyclists in the market for carbon frame gravel bikes under $3,000 need to give the Topstone Carbon 4 a test ride.
If you enjoyed this 2022 Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 review, consider reading about my gravel bike of the year: