Cannondale’s new cross country prototype uses a welded
aluminium frame and adjustable shock geometry. Doesn’t half look like an Orange X2
Image (C) Cannondale 1999.
Cannondale have let details slip of a new bike design on their US website.
They’ve brought together several areas of knowledge to develop a tuneable cross-country
raceable bike that looks like it should cost significantly less than their flagship
The design pairs the lightweight, welded aluminum swingarm developed for the revamped
Raven with an all-new welded aluminum front triangle. The frame’s seat tube is interrupted
at its mid-point, below which it’s supported by a pair of A-shaped braces whose bases
are welded to the down tube. A pivoting collar is mounted between the A-braces’ cross-pieces
and serves as the attachment point for the rear shock: threads inside the collar
mate with threads on the outer surface of the shock absorber body.
Apparently, by threading the shock absorber fore or aft within the collar, a rider
can quickly change the bike’s geometry and its handling characteristics. Positioning
the shock absorber farther forward, lowers the bottom bracket height and slackens
the head angle, making the bike perfect for high-speed descending. Threading the
shock farther back raises the bottom bracket and steepens the head angle for quicker
handling and more cross-country-oriented riding. Between the full-forward and full-aft
positions, the Cannondale offers an incredible range of adjustability. Other brands
of full-suspension frames aren’t nearly as adjustable, offering just three or four
shock mounting options that are predetermined by the manufacturer.
Rear wheel travel on the new bike is a reasonable 4.5 inches, regardless of where
the shock is positioned in the collar.
Don’t go placing your orders yet. Cannondale says that “The concept is one that
we’re aggressively investigating, though there are presently no definitive plans
to include the new design in our product line. We do plan, however, to distribute
prototypes of the new bike to Cadel Evans, Alison Sydor, and the other cross-country
studs on the Volvo/Cannondale racing team in the coming months, and to solicit their
feedback on the new design.”