Road Gear

Cannondale brings a prototype bike for Liquigas to test at the AToC

While the Liquigas team hasn’t had the race it might have wished for at this year’s Amgen Tour of California, it does appear to have a new bike. When questioned, Cannondale reps only acknowledged that the team has been testing prototype frames. The prototypes were created using the feedback Daniele Bennati provided after racing on a Super Six frame with custom geometry last year. That frame also served as a proving ground for Cannondale to test the use of high modulus carbon fiber, which is now found in the 2009 production model.

And an 11-pound Cannondale creates a stir at the expo.

By Matt Pacocha

AToC Tech: Cannondale: The team prototype

AToC Tech: Cannondale: The team prototype

Photo: Matt Pacocha

While the Liquigas team hasn’t had the race it might have wished for at this year’s Amgen Tour of California, it does appear to have a new bike.

When questioned, Cannondale reps only acknowledged that the team has been testing prototype frames. The prototypes were created using the feedback Daniele Bennati provided after racing on a Super Six frame with custom geometry last year. That frame also served as a proving ground for Cannondale to test the use of high modulus carbon fiber, which is now found in the 2009 production model.

Cannondale rep’s stressed, however, that all of the new prototypes under the team riders, save for Bennati, use the brand’s stock geometry.

The prototype frames Cannondale sent to the AToC are branded as the manufacturer’s top carbon model, Super Six, but we noticed a few differences from the 2009 production model.

AToC Tech: Cannondale: The team used SRM-equipped Cannondale cranks. Note the custom team green bolts.

AToC Tech: Cannondale: The team used SRM-equipped Cannondale cranks. Note the custom team green bolts.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

If you look at the team’s bike alongside the production Super Six, you’ll notice that the seat stays are slightly larger in diameter and the bottom bracket shell looks bigger, as well. The front end of the bike does not show any noticeable signs of change.

Both new features may improve the bike’s pedaling stiffness and overall torsional rigidity. It’s common for ProTour professionals to ask for increased stiffness in these areas, and it looks that Cannondale is doing its best to accommodate the Liquigas riders’ requests. This new frame will eventually be available to consumers.

“We want the team to have the same thing that consumers can buy,” said Scott Struve, Cannondale’s global marketing director.

There is no scheduled release date, and Cannondale says it still has at least one more prototype revision to deliver to the team for testing before it’s even close to being ready for production.

For that reason it’ll be worth keeping an eye on Liquigas to catch a glimpse of what Cannondale might have available to consumers in 2010.

In the Pits: Cannondale’s 11-pound Super Six

AToC Tech: Cannondale: The eleven-pound bike on the scale.

AToC Tech: Cannondale: The eleven-pound bike on the scale.

Photo: Matt Pacocha

While the prototype bike was the buzz in the Liquigas team pits, a stock Super Six weighing just 11-pounds was the talk of the expo. Just about everyone who picked up the bike built by Newbury Park Bike Shop, was struck by its weight … or rather lack of weight.

While a light bike always draws attention for its novelty, this bike is still quite usable. It’s doesn’t forsake modern convenience to achieve its weight. It has integrated shift levers, nine cogs and two chainrings. It’s also built with full length handlebars and the comfort of handlebar tape. In all senses, this bike could be legitimately ridden in competition without technological penalty* and, for that, it is one of the best ultra-lights we’ve ever seen.

* Although it would suffer from a regulatory penalty, since this ride is well below the UCI’s minimum weight limit.

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