Cannondale Topstone 4 Upgrades

Jan 2023: Had my Topstone 4 about a year now, it’s a decent gravel bike for a grand & a great addition to the stable (carbon roadie, full sus trail bike). The standard kit is pretty decent & works well, except…

Brakes – Promax Render R mechanical disc:
“squeal like a peeeeg and barely slow down” is their mantra.
The stock stoppers were absolutely pants, 1st thing to swap!
Zoom R200 Semi Hydraulic Line Pull Calipers.
Replaced pads 4 times in a year and still awful – binned.

Brakes v2 Apr ’24; TRP Spyre-C Mechanical Disc Brake Caliper F&R:
Should’ve got these in the first place! They’re best rated cable pull disk calipers for the money and they are superb. Paid £80/pair delivered on eBay.
Easy to install and adjust (did both in a lunch hour), equal L/R balance and pads clear the discs easily. The Topstone has more stopping power than ever from less lever movement too. Happy Bunny 🐰

Gearing! 40T front chainring – way too low ratio for this bike, imho.
Honestly didn’t touch gears 1-3 for a year, 40 (F) to 34/40/48 rear is MTB granny gears territory, and I’m never gonna take this up big technical climbs like Afan or Cwmcarn!
Replaced with a 46T from Amazon £23 – it’s a standard 104BCD narrow/wide chainring – simple fit with the standard bolts.
Oddly the stock chain was long enough too. I’ve even used 2nd gear recently (1st is still a super low 46F – 48R) and can do 30mph without spinning out! Might squeeze a 48T in but it’d be very near the chainstay (rear frame).
46 is perfect for me & looks superb – ignore the dirty bike 😹

Wheels and Tyres…
Never liked tan wall tyres on any bike, plus the stock WTB Riddler Comps were wired, heavy & ugly. Replaced with tubeless ready WTB Riddler TCS Light 700x37c folding tyres…
Update, Aug 2023 – now running WTB Nano 40c TCS Light. The Nano’s are noticeably bigger with a rounder cross profile (Riddlers are quite squared) so cornering, grip and braking are much improved. Another total bargain on Wiggle, so I’m very happy.
April ’24 – The same Nano’s are still fab, loads of grip and comfort.
Running TPU inner tubes (£30 for 6 on Amazon) 46g Gravel 38-50mm, sound weirdly quiet, handling improved and holding air better than butyl.

Stock wheels were solid and bombproof, but jeez them’s heavy!
F110 & R142 x12mm bolt thru axle with disc, standard fare & easy to swap.
PlanetX had a mega sale and I grabbed a pair of Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 tubeless ready wheels for £75 (from £200).
Upgrading the Wheels n Tyres dropped almost a kilo off the bike! Still with lightweight inner tubes, not tubeless. Swapped during 2 lunch breaks, with new discs & stock cassette.

Saddle – the standard Cannondale CX saddle was fine for short rides, but anything over an hour left me numb. Bought a bargain Selle Italia Flite Flow on Wiggle, it’s super comfy, has a pressure channel for ya bits, magnesium rails, look & feel primo. Loves it!

With all the above, honestly this bike is finally brilliant.
Wheels are much stiffer but more compliant, so the ride is smoother and the bike feels more responsive. Tyres have DNA dual compound & grip well in all conditions.
Brakes are pretty decent now, already saved me from a couple of “near misses” (aka near hits!), and she looks far better with nice wheels, black tyres, bigger chainring and tidy brakes, as I think you’ll agree…

My Cannondale Topstone 4 after a very muddy May ride.
My Topstone 4 after a very muddy ride, May 2024.

(Why Mudguards? It’s my commuter & often rains in Somerset!)