By Robbie Stout
The mechanics at the ’10 Canndonale product release in Park City, Utah certainly had their work cut out for them. It was their job to assemble and disassemble 250, ride-ready road, mountain, and commuter bikes for 500 visiting Cannondale dealers during a two-week period. At the tail end of the Cannondale international sales meeting, VeloNews was given the opportunity to preview and ride the bikes of next year.
For 2010, Cannondale is bridging the gap from the engineer side of development to the consumer’s needs and rider feedback. Where Cannondale found room for improvement in an existing model, it improved. And when Cannondale found unexpected success in a product, it used that momentum to propel the product forward.
Some of the new models highlighted include a new 120mm full-suspension marathon bike, an expanded and improved Six Carbon line, the vibration damping Synapse road bike, a top-end women’s full-suspension mountain bike, and an expanded range of the Slice time trial bike.
RZ One20 marathon-trail bike
The RZ One20 is Cannondale’s new aluminum, 120mm full-suspension marathon and trail bike for 2010. Building on the feedback from the 130mm full-suspension Rize, the RZ One20 will replace the Rush, Cannondale’s previous marathon bike. Some of the goals for the RZ One20 are to optimize the links, originally created for the Rize, so that they provide the entire 120mm of travel; utilize a BB30 crankset; minimize the amount of parts within each of the bike’s systems; and optimize cable routing to provide better water bottle placement.
The 2,300 gram-RZ One20 frame is constructed of hydroformed aluminum tubing and embraces Cannondale’s BB30 bottom bracket technology. There are no external bearing cups in the headset; it is integrated into the headtube in such a way that the bearings use the inside of the headtube as a rolling surface.
The rear suspension link of each RZ One20 will be unique to the size of the frame. The intended result is that every size will perform equally and use the full 120mm of travel. By adapting the pivot point to the size of the frame, Cannondale is also able to provide better stand-over height, especially for the smaller frames.
In engineering the RZ One20, Cannondale aimed for the suspension to be active throughout the stroke. The beginning of the stroke is intended to dampen small bumps yet allow for an efficient pedal stroke; the mid-stroke is meant to evenly engage without diving too fast; and the bottom of the stroke is supposed to provide an active suspension feel, rather than ramping up the way air shocks tend to. And the result is suspension that feels bottomless and lively.
Across the board, Cannondale is making an effort to minimize the amount of parts used to complete each system, which they are calling OPI (one piece integration). In 2007 they were able to save 90 grams by integrating the steerer and stem into a single unit. Last year, they integrated the lower two parts of the Lefty, saving 60 grams. And this year, for the Lefty’s that use an aluminum upper outer shell, they have 3D-forged a three-piece system into one, saving over 100 grams and coincidentally providing a bigger canvas for graphics.
I had a chance to ride the RZ One20 1 for a few hours on some of Park City’s finest single track. With a long opening ride up to the trailhead I had a moment to assess the efficiency of the pedal stroke. I felt that I could maintain a fast comfortable pedal stroke that didn’t seem to lose any power to the rear suspension. The trail consisted of smooth, fast, winding singletrack with occasional roots and rock gardens. My initial reaction was that 120mm of travel might be a bit much for Park City’s smooth trails, but after each rocky section I retracted that criticism. Forced to slam the brakes before some surprising downhill switchbacks, I didn’t notice any fork chatter or loss of effective suspension mid-turn. Best of all, I finished the ride feeling fresh, a sensation that I don’t often have after finishing a ride on my 29er hardtail.
The RZ One20 will be available in four models, ranging from the RZ One20 1, described here, at $3,850, to the RZ One20 4, which will retail for just $1,919.
RZ One20 1 component highlights:
Lefty Ultra Carbon with PBR 120
Fox RP23 with Boost Valve Shock
DT Swiss XCR 1.5 wheelset
FSA Afterburner BB30 Crank w/ Carbon Spider 44/32/22 (co-developed with FSA, 30 grams lighter than the traditional Afterburner Crank)
SRAM X-9 Shifters and Rear Derailleur
Avid Elixir CR Disc Brakes
In its second year since its inception, the Six Carbon is utilizing more of the Super Six technologies, yet reaching out to those on a budget. Some of the differences in 2010 for the upper end of the line include a revised carbon lay up, a full carbon fork, and improved components.
Through a better carbon lay up and minimal paint, the 2010 Six frame is 110 grams lighter. Additionally, the Six fork is now carbon all the way through, saving 300 grams off of last year’s weight. These two weight savings combined subtract almost a pound.
The front of the frame uses the same tube shapes as it did last year. The top tube grows in diameter from the seattube, reaching its maximum at the oversized headtube so that they sit flush. And a massive bottom bracket area uses Cannondale’s BB30 technology.
The rear triangle is also visibly the same but with a refined carbon lay up. The seatstays are hourglass-shaped and remain separate above the brake bridge for better vibration damping. The chainstays are asymmetric to optimize stiffness. The left chainstay is wider than the right to provide better lateral stability; the right chainstay is taller for better axial stability as it is more inline with the chain forces. And finally, the carbon dropouts are specifically molded for each frame size for a maximum strength to weight ratio.
I had a chance to try out the Six Carbon 5 for an approximately 40-mile loop that consisted of dirt, long climbs, fast descents, smooth asphalt and not-so-smooth asphalt. The first thing I noticed was a lively response to the pedal stroke. In the saddle or standing, the stiffness of the bottom bracket area was notable. However, the front triangle, stiff that it was, was not quite as stiff as my personal bike, the CAAD9. While it’s hard to know where exactly to give credit, the vertical compliance of the rear triangle was noticeable. Whether it was the saddle, seatpost, wheels, or rear triangle, the system seemed to work.
The Six Carbon line ranges from the 16.8-pound Carbon Six 3 for $3,000, to the 19.6-pound Carbon Six 6 for $1,700. The Six Carbon 5 that I rode weighs 18.2-pounds goes for $2,150.
Six Carbon 5 component highlights:
Shimano 105 group
FSA Gossamer BB30 crankset
Shimano RS10 wheelset
ControlTech bars, C2 uni carbon post
Prologo Scratch Pro saddle
Other 2010 Cannondale Highlights
The Synapse ($7,900 to $1,330)
Ridden by Liquigas at Paris-Roubaix, the Synapse frame is unchanged for 2010. However, there will be high modulus and intermediate modulus frame and forks available. The rear triangle and fork legs utilize S.A.V.E. (synapse active vibration elimination) technology. And the headtube and chainstays are slightly longer than the other elite bikes for better comfort. According to Cannondale, the Synapse is intended for elite performance but with better comfort.
Synapse HiMod (15.3-pounds) component highlights:
Hollowgram SL crankset with ceramic BB
Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR wheelset
FSA K-Wing ergo bar, OS-99 CSI stem
Fizik Aliante K:ium saddle
Cannondale claims that they sold seven times their initial forecast of the CAAD9 last year. Understanding the demand for a quality aluminum frame, Cannondale is expanding the line to suit those on a budget and those looking for elite performance. For just $3,000, the top-of-the-line CAAD9 will now be equipped with Shimano 7900 and is said to weigh 16.4-pounds — the perfect workhorse.
CAAD9 1 Component Highlights:
CAAD9 BB30 frame, full carbon fork
DuraAce 7900 group
FSA BB30 SL-K Carbon Light crankset with Shimano 7900 rings
Shimano RS80 carbon/alloy wheelset
Control Tech bars, C2 uni carbon post
Prologo Kappa Pas ergo saddle
This is the same bike ridden by the Liquigas team and triathlon world champions Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae. New this year is a broadening of the line to reach out to aspiring time trialists and triathletes on a budget. Complete Slice bikes will be available from $2,150 to $13,300.
Slice 5 Highlights, 19.5-pounds, $2,150
Slice Intermediate Modulus Frameset
Full carbon fork
105 w/ Dura Ace shifters
FSA Gossamer BB30 crankset
Shimano R500A wheelset
Profile Airwing/T2 bars
Fizik Arione Tri Mg saddle
Slice Hi-Mod Ultimate Highlights, 16.5 pounds, $13,300
Slice HiMod frame and full carbon fork
Hollowgram SL BB30 TT crankset w/ Ceramic Bearing
Zipp 1080/808 tubular wheelset
SRAM RED with R2C
FSA cockpit: Manta carbon integrated bar, OS-99 CSI stem
Fizik Arione Tri2 carbon rail saddle