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Cannondale stay shy about secret weapon

Cannondale have given the first details of their new featherweight XC bike. They’ve got schematic pictures of the new beast on their website but to keep it safe from copycats and avoid jeapordising any patents they may end up registering, they’ve blurred out the key suspension areas “Crimewatch style”.
Looking at the bits you’ve left you can tell the shock is mounted vertically and fairly high (unless it’s very long), a bit like (but higher than) the Paul Turner (he of Rock Shox) ‘Maverick’ bike we previewed early this year but which has yet to appear for real. The shock mount position leads us to expect some sort of linkage conclusion behind the blurry bit, but this seems an odd move as Cannondale haven’t ever run a linkage design before. The design also sees Cannondale staying with oversize aluminium rather than further development of the carbon / magnesium monocoque Raven.
According to the Cannondale website, the new bike is a direct outgrowth of frame designer Mike Parkin’s close work with the pro racers on the Volvo/Cannondale team. “Our team riders have a very clear vision of what they wanted in a full-suspension bike – super-light weight, an uncluttered front triangle for easy portaging, and a laterally stiff rear triangle to prevent any loss in pedaling efficiency. This bike delivers all that and more. There are no compromises.”
“a targeted weight of just 23 lbs (10.4 kg), including a full 2.5 inches of useable rear wheel travel, dual disc brakes and tubeless tires.” The bike will also use a new integrated CODA chainset and the single sided adjustable travel titanium / carbon Lefty fork.
After a whole glowing schpiel about how wonderful his new toy is, 2000 Olympic bronze medalist and two-time Swiss national champion Christoph Sauser of Volvo/Cannondale finished by saying “I’m really looking forward to riding it at the first World Cup race in Napa.” The website confirmed that “The as-yet unnamed bike will be used by Volvo/Cannondale’s cross-country racers at most events during the 2001 racing season, and should arrive in Cannondale dealers’ showrooms in May.”
What the name of the new bike will be has yet to be announced, but the current suspension acronym EPO – is a clear jibe at the allegations of doping among top riders, EPO (erythropoietin) being the drug behind all the Tour De France controversy of the last few years. However speaking to Mountain Bike’s website editor Mark Reidy about the acronym, Cannondale’s Tom Armstrong admitted “If I say anything about the meaning of the letters, it’ll clue you in on the suspension design.”.
Obviously we’ll keep you posted but if Cannondale do bring the bike in at 23lb or even somewhere under 24lb, there’s only the Scott Strike and GT I-Drive Team that’ll run lighter with genuine full supension. Given Cannondales reputation for benchmark reputation this makes it sound like a serious racing rig, but we’ll know more when it debuts in March, at the Sea Otter.
Meanwhile there’s more single sided fork action at the other end of the biking market as Giant reveal their single sided fork and rear end Halfway folding bike, the brainchild of Giant’s recently departed designer Mike Burrows. The smart looking box section aluminium bike can be seen in all it’s two dimensional glory at Bike Biz where they also reveal planned pricing of £425 for single speed or £475 for 6 speed models.
Probably about 10% of what Cannondale’s bike will be and that hasn’t even got a rack! In my day……..

 

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