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Interbike Outdoor Demo – Hitting the road

A special request by Cannondale pulled several of us out to Interbike’s Outdoor Demo at an uncomfortably early hour on Monday and then to a “secret location” billed Area 88 — actually a local self-storage unit — via vintage Mercedes Unimog to see a “proof of concept” prototype of the manufacturer’s Simon suspension fork. The Simon is a computer-controlled, electronically damped suspension fork, a project without a specific release date. Cannondale engineer Stanley Song has poured five years of undivided attention into the project.

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By Matt Pacocha

Interbike 2009: Cannondale’s new computer-controlled, electronically damped Simon suspension fork.

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A special request by Cannondale pulled several of us out to Interbike’s Outdoor Demo at an uncomfortably early hour on Monday and then to a “secret location” billed Area 88 — actually a local self-storage unit — via vintage Mercedes Unimog to see a “proof of concept” prototype of the manufacturer’s Simon suspension fork.

The Simon is a computer-controlled, electronically damped suspension fork, a project without a specific release date. Cannondale engineer Stanley Song has poured five years of undivided attention into the project.

The most recent versions weigh around 4 pounds and provide 130mm of travel with five distinct damping programs: lockout, travel reduction, cross-country, all-mountain and downhill.

The fork can self-adjust all four programs simultaneously after a rider enters his profile, which includes weight and riding style. The gee-whiz factor is through the roof, but with no reports on durability testing or cost and a battery life cited at two to eight hours, Cannondale is still far from putting it into production. Nonetheless, it’s an idea whose progress is worth tracking.

Aside from seeing Simon for the first time, our main mission for the day was to spot new developments that will hit the market in coming months. Highlights include Felt’s $6,000 Shimano Di2 equipped bike, new Jamis models, Wilier’s entry into the aero road market, Scott’s redesigned CR1, Shimano’s Ultegra Tubeless wheelset and Avid’s new Shorty Ultimate cyclocross brake.

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