Mountain Gear

Cannondale’s RZ One20 Goes Minimal

Cannondale builds on feedback for its 2010 marathon-trail bike.

Cannondale's 2010 RZ One20 marathon trail bike. Photo by Robbie Stout
Cannondale's 2010 RZ One20 marathon trail bike. Photo by Robbie Stout

The ┬áRZ 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.

2010 Cannondale: The old Lefty upper, on the left, was three pieces. The new, on the right, is one piece. Photo by Robbie Stout
2010 Cannondale: The old Lefty upper, on the left, was three pieces. The new, on the right, is one piece. Photo by Robbie Stout

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.

RZ One20
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)

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.

Test Ride

I had a chance to ride the RZ One20 earlier this summer for a few hours on some of Park City, Utah’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 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.