Is Cannondale Topstone 4 Worth Buying? [Cannondale Topstone 4 Review]

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Cannondale Topstone 4

  • Price: $1,375
  • Wheels: 700c
  • Tire: 37c
  • Drivetrain: 1 × 10

What we like about it: The cost-effective SmartForm C2 alloy frame is tougher, the full carbon fork Topstone carbon damping is more efficient. And the easier 10-speed drivetrain allows you to travel freely between gravel roads and city commuting.

What dont we like about it: It couldn’t make the most of its charm in the face of a rugged pro track.

Rating (4.6/5)


Cannondale Topstone 4

The unruly and more creative Cannondale bike loves innovative and interesting design tricks the most. And the Cannondale Topstone series bikes launched in are giving a strong response to historical road lovers. When you want to ride the gravel road enough to get noticed, I would recommend the Cannondale Topstone 4 to you. For $1,375, you can walk away with the more novice SmartForm C2 alloy frame.

The lower maintenance Promax Decoder R mechanical disc, the longer Topstone carbon fork, and the more popular microSHIFT 1×10 drivetrain. If you like traversing forest roads, gravel roads, or inner-city commuting needs, you’ll want the more compatible Cannondale Topstone 4.

Commuter Riding

After we started our city commute, the Cannondale Topstone 3 performed very well. If you’ve ridden the 27.5″ wheels that have become so popular in recent years, you can see that the WTB 700 x 37c tires on the Cannondale Topstone are no less agile and faster rolling than the Cannondale Topstone, and even make up for the smaller wheels in terms of crushing effort. The near-erect seating position allows for a quick start to the ride, thanks to the near-erect 73.1° seat tube angle. The microSHIFT Advent X 10-speed, and the added benefit of a smoother drivetrain with KMC X10 cranks.

You’ll only feel the rush of airflow through it during a brisk ride. I also noticed a few details. Such as the wider 42mm model width tires that you can upgrade to if you prefer to traverse some outdoor adventures. But you’ll make some sacrifices for commuting and won’t be able to leave enough clearance to install fenders.

If there’s one thing that makes commuter riding in the city the most difficult, it’s probably the more crowded lanes and the more overlapping terrain compared to the outdoors. Faced with riding obstacles that require you to react quickly, the microSHIFT Advent X doesn’t raise the slightest question. The brakes are not soft or hard in feel, and braking is very quick.


During my week-long urban test, I reached slippery berms, bumpy brick roads and more curvy park trails. Thanks to the support of the Mechanical Disc and the more flexible 65mm trail combo combined with the WTB 700 x 37c tires for more traction control. I became a complete rider of the city. While it doesn’t have the modern feel of a liquid disc, I really couldn’t ask for more at $1375. The maintenance costs have been close to zero. The agility is as good as the liquid discs, and the weight reduction to the body is supported.

In addition, because of Cannondale’s more innovative thinking, instead of offering a longer travel suspension. The bike uses a higher spec Topstone carbon fork. So it absorbs body vibration well. And with the right combination of components, I didn’t feel the Cannondale Topstone was overstretched in the face of the more demanding terrain.

Gravel Riding

Cannondale Topstone 4

I still think the Cannondale Topstone is a great adventurer when it comes to gravel road riding performance. The winding, stacked gravel road is not only because of the hidden gravel and sand on the ground but also because of the hilly ride that you can’t expect to test your endurance.

And as the road I was riding on felt thicker and more rocky 15 minutes into the ride, I guessed we were driving into the hills that stretched upwards. Facing an uphill grade of about 3%, it was easier to pedal because I had the microSHIFT 1×10 drivetrain shifted to a higher position. In addition, the Topstone carbon fork assembly was used to lighten the load on the more bumpy outdoor rides. I still feel the energy saving during long rides.

Simon, who I was traveling with, was showing off by riding a hardtail Giant XTC Advanced mountain bike on gravel roads with me. But unfortunately, it didn’t quite get the essence of gravel roads. Despite being considerably more expensive than mine, the wheels were a much thinner 29×2.25″.

You’ll see how slowly they carry on against the loose roads. Dragged into the quicksand with the same resistance as when faced with climbing a 5% grade. Despite my carbon obsession, the Cannondale Topstone’s adherence to the Lightweight SmartForm C2 Alloy is an alloy that is light enough and tough enough. Compared to the other version of the Cannondale Topstone 3, it showed more energy in the face of stone friction. I think he has achieved more upgraded consideration.

Main Features


Cannondale Topstone 4

If you’re not willing to spend more time exercising, then commuting as a ride will easily bring you back to health. Of course, there will be those who feel the bike couldn’t be more easily loaded, but the Cannondale Topstone 4 frame is friendly enough. The lightweight SmartForm C2 alloy frame supports the installation of fenders and a rear rack. Because it is certainly good news for commuters who need to carry essential items every day. I think many people will have seen the mud marks on the backs of mountain riders, which is also a concern for many people who are new to riding. But if your components are intact, even after a rainy ride can make you look neat and decent.

The Cannondale 4, 16 deg flare drop handlebar grip is also perfect for newbies. Not only does it add control while riding, but with a near upright 73.1° seat tube angle, you can ride with complete ease. As simple as many newbies look at a bike, the Topstone 4’s internal wiring makes this bike efficient at first glance. Without the built-in cabling, we would have been plagued by tangles when we went on another wilderness ride, which greatly affected our enthusiasm for riding.

The only thing I regret a little about the $1375 Topstone 4 is that the color doesn’t allow for more options than I’d like. Although the mango yellow I currently ride is very naughty to many young people, I prefer some of the textures of the vintage wave. For example, Topstone’s cherry red, and its unique temperament of the bike paint makes me want to hang it as a decorative item. For a Cannondale Stage CX saddle, it kind of does the job in the middle. Due to its wide size, the ride feels more suitable for city commuting than the mountain bikes I ride all year round.


Based on the positioning of Topstone4 – a more compatible gravel road bike. In the framework of the more established gravel road bikes on the market, I didn’t think it was that special at first. But as I drove the bike and did some cadence pedaling, I realized that it was designed with the geometry in mind for a more well-rounded riding scenario.

For example, compared to the GT Grade Elite’s steep seat tube angle (74.5°) that I reviewed a while back. The Topstone 4’s seat tube angle only reaches 71.8°. I think this angle not only allows you to maintain a comfortable upright riding position compared to more aggressive, blade-like road bikes. But you can more easily pedal and accelerate on some uphill sections without having to adjust your position. 71.0° head tube angle keeps it responsive when steering. And compared to more aggressive degrees, such as the Domane AL 5 Disc (72.9°), it’s not hard to control.

For riding confidence, it is very moderate to keep the BB height at 28.4cm. This gives the body to maintain better stability when we are in a hurry in the city or on a long outdoor ride. At the same time, this stability does not mean that the Topstone 4 is rigid. The trail of 6.5cm in the geometry proves that it is also very agile when steering.

Components and Specifications

WTB Riddler Comp 700 x 37c Tires

The Cannondale Topstone 3 was designed with the idea of being more inclusive and easily traversing stacked terrain, so I think the WTB 700 x 37c tires are perfect for this idea of being more compatible. Although, for now, most bikes are starting to like the idea of being on the wheels of the wheel. For example, sharp little wheels or huge tires that are hard to ignore, referencing the Giant XTC Advanced and Trek Stache 5.

But if you need an all-rounder, the 700 x 37c won’t slow you down on city commutes nor will it inch up on looser terrain. While the 700 x 37c doesn’t do anything more interesting in terms of design, I think it’s adequate for more versatile riding needs if you’re in the spirit of usage-oriented needs.

In addition, I would like to highlight the GXD 1.0 28h rims. While I was on a gravel road ride, it still showed a hard texture and didn’t distract me during the ride, despite facing numerous stones and sand rubbing.

MicroSHIFT Advent X, 10-speed Drivetrain

2022 Cannondale Topstone 4 MicroSHIFT Advent X, 10-speed Drivetrain

With single disc 1x drives becoming more and more popular, the Topstone 4 joins the camp of simpler and lighter mass. Compared to the Shimano Sora of the Topstone 3, the 2×9 drivetrain, we couldn’t have done more with the speed options. But with the microSHIFT Advent X 1×10 speeds are sufficient for most climbs or acceleration in the city.

In addition, due to the refinement of technology nowadays, riding in the face of larger technical terrain is not supported by a single drivetrain to be successful, but requires the overall cooperation of the whole bike components. I think it would be biased to doubt the performance of the microSHIFT Advent X because of its 1×10 speed alone. In real-world riding experience, with Prowheel, Charm 40T cranks, I still had a very relaxing experience on the hilly upward terrain of gravel roads.

Promax Render R Mechanical Disc

2022 Cannondale Topstone 4  Promax Render R Mechanical Disc

None of the Topstone series was launched in using mechanical discs. I think Cannondale is more confident due to performance and price factors. If you know the latest information about the bike’s components, you may be very impressed with liquid discs, so there will be some consumers who will have some prejudice against mechanical discs.

But from my years of riding, I think the Promax Render R mechanical disc is no match for the liquid disc in terms of braking effectiveness. When I was crossing the berm along the inland river, I was riding very close to the ground and leaning, even slipping because of the speed. However, after frequent braking, I found the Topstone 4 Promax Render R mechanical disc to be free of any jams or delays.

For riders who spend a lot of time in the city or outdoors on overlapping terrain, mechanical discs are more adaptable to the diverse environment and the cost of maintenance is incomparable to the high cost of liquid discs. In addition, the liquid discs are heavier than the mechanical discs in terms of pressure on the body. So I think Topstone has several reasons for placing so much emphasis on mechanical discs.

Other Versions Of Topstone

2022 Cannondale Topstone 4 other verison

In the Topstone series, I’ll compare the other two models I’m more interested in, the Topstone 2 and the Topstone 4. The first is the Topstone 4, which is not that much different. And for this model, both the SmartForm C2 alloy frame is more resilient, the full carbon fork Topstone carbon damping, and the performance of the Topstone 3 and Topstone 4 are almost even. Including in the wheel size are used 700x37c wheels, for compatibility with larger terrain, whether it is the acceleration of urban commuting or gravel road traction is sufficient.

But in terms of the drivetrain, Topstone 4 put in a big 1x wave and didn’t stick to Shimano 2x drivetrain. Despite the lack of richness from the tuning options, it will be simpler for riders, especially newbies, to ride. And you don’t need to worry about not using it enough. In both the city and outdoors where we tested, we didn’t encounter any problems with lack of power. In terms of color, although I like the mango yellow of the Topstone 4, it’s very youthful. But I think the Topstone 3 is also very artistic, a classic vintage brown with rich colors.


If you notice that the Topstone 2 price is closer to $2,000, it’s because it has more upgrades in components. For example, the higher-end Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc brakes, will further improve your braking agility. On the frame, the upgraded lightweight SmartForm C2 Alloy was chosen, which not only makes it more robust but also effectively reduces the weight of the body. In the choice of drivetrain, Shimano 2×10 drivetrain will make you more favorable in outdoor climbing riding. Of course, cosmetically, I don’t think the Topstone 2 has any distinctive features, although it does have a very nice paint texture.

If you are looking for a more practical ride, then the Topstone 3/4 are both good choices. If you have higher component performance requirements for your ride and want to take it further, then the Topstone 2 is not a bad choice either.

What we like about it?

  • Value for money gravel road bike, riding a more comprehensive range of terrain
  • Lighter and stronger alloy body, more friendly for accelerated riding or outdoor adventures
  • Full carbon forks maximize vibration absorption from the ground
  • Easier single-disc drive for quicker braking
  • Simple and efficient internal wiring to prevent dragging and drop for easy maintenance

What we don’t like about it?

  • Can’t do more in the face of harsher terrain
  • Smaller range of colors to choose from


What is the tire size of the Cannondale Topstone 4?

The tire size of the Cannondale Topstone 4 is 700x37c.

What is the Cannondale Topstone 4 drivetrain?

The Cannondale Topstone4 drivetrain is microSHIFT Advent X, 10-speed.

What are the Cannondale Topstone 4 brakes?

The Cannondale Topstone 4 brakes are Promax Render R mechanical discs.

How do I choose the Cannondale Topstone 3 size?

SizeRider height
XS5’0″ – 5’5″ 
SM5’4″ – 5’10” 
M/D5’7″ – 6’1″ 
LG5’10” – 6’4″ 
XL6’3″ – 6’8″ 

Comparison Table

BicyclesPriceGearBrakesTiresClick view
GT Grade Elite$13252×8Tektro Mech Disc700x37cClick view
Marin DSX 2$13691×12Shimao Hydraulic700x45cClick view
Giant Revolt 2$14502×9Tektro MD-C550 mechanical 700x38cClick view
Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore 700c$12491×10Promax Decoder R mechanical disc700x37cClick view

GT Grade Elite vs Cannondale Topstone 4

2022 GT Grade Elite

The Grade Elite series launched by GT, a brand that likes to create more new tricks, has been well received in the gravel road bike buying market, so I chose to compare it with the Topstone 4 for analysis. In terms of frame performance, the SmartForm C2 alloy of the Topstone 3 looks more aggressive than the GT Grade Elite’s Grade Alloy Frame for outdoor testing from all aspects of data comparison.

Although in terms of key geometry values, they both have steep seat tube angles of 71°-73°, and the head tube angle is kept at around 71°, so the performance in terms of riding comfort and steering is very close. And in terms of the performance of the components, both have chosen the more compatible 700x37c wheelset, and both have chosen the WTB brand terms of brand. Although the two versions are different, from my riding experience, whether it is air resistance, friction, or traction force is nearly the same.

The choice of drivetrain and brakes, which I value more than anything else, was a major divergence. Despite the same mechanical disc brakes, the GT Grade Elite opted for a more traditional Shimano Claris 2×8 speed for the drivetrain. This is good news for challenging some of the more difficult terrains. Of course, if you’re a less experienced rider, then the microSHIFT Advent X 1×10 speed with its simpler character might be a good place to start. For the city commuter rider, both are equally good.

Learn More: Focusing On Fun Rides-GT Grade Elite Review

Marin DSX 2 vs Cannondale Topstone 4

2023 Marin DSX 2

If you’re getting tired of me comparing models that are too similar, then this Marin DSX will interest you. From the looks of it, the WTB Riddler, 700Cx45mm wheelset makes it hard for you to forget his presence. Compared to the WTB 700x37c tires chosen by Topstone 4, the difference in size is a difference in attention to design, although both have chosen the more affordable WTB brand in the brand name.

If you’re riding in the city and your surroundings are bad, this huge wheelset will help you crush small obstacles very well. Admittedly, it will also slow you down. If you’re doing some climbing terrain, you won’t be able to pedal more easily, although it will help your stability.

In other key components, both use a 1×12 drivetrain, so it’s a tie in that regard. In terms of brake system choice, the Marin DSX opted for the more expensive Shimano liquid disc brakes. This would be a bit incredible to me for his $1369 price frame.

Learn More: Marin DSX 2 Review-Made for Fun Riding

Giant Revolt 2 vs Cannondale Topstone 4

2022 Giant Revolt 2

When compared to the Giant Revolt 2, the wheelset size shows that both have chosen the 700c size. Although the Giant revolt is a bit wider, with a 38c width. This moderate-size tire can be stable in the city, but also the outdoors to crush some smaller obstacles. But if I feel from my real review, I think the Giant Revolt 2’s tires will slow down some speed more and not as fast as the Topstone. Meanwhile, in terms of drivetrain, the Revolt 2 opts for a richer 2×9 speed drivetrain. Although there is more possibility to adjust the speed when facing some more complex upward terrain, it will also add some difficulty to the novice, and there is no microSHIFT of Topstone 4, 1×10 speed is lighter in mass.

From my more important brake comparison, I think the two are a tie, both use more convenient maintenance of mechanical disc brake. Compared to liquid discs, the outdoor performance is more stable and lighter. On balance, I prefer the Topstone 4, which has a better fit of all components.

Learn More: Excellent Quality And Reasonable Price-Giant Revolt 2 Review

Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore vs Cannondale Topstone4

2022 Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore

For the most part gravel road bikes, as much as I hate to admit the fact when I compared several models on the market that have been well received, I found that they are basically in the same basic framework of success. This Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore, for example, even though I ride it all the time and I’m already relatively fast for my acuity level. But when faced with these two bikes, it was hard for me to tell the difference.

The more inclusive 700x37c and 700x38c tires were chosen for both tire sizes. They are well compatible with both city riding, which requires fast and agile riding, and gravel roads, which require more traction. And both make single-disc drive upgrades to the power traditional system. Although the Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore has a much narrower selection of 1×10 speeds. This will lack some advantage over the Topstone 4 on some of the more upward terrains.

For brake braking, Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore has opted for the more expensive liquid disc brakes, which is why it has a big jump in price. In addition, I trust topstone’s Lightweight SmartForm C2 Alloy frame material, which is lighter and stronger from my personal experience.

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