Park City, Utah – Cyclocross Magazine’s Utah resident Tim Akers crashed the 2012 Press Camp party at Deer Valley and got early specs on the 2013 Cannondale cyclocross line as well as an up-close look at two new 2013 Cannondale cyclocross bikes: the top-of-the-line disc-brake equipped carbon ‘cross bike SuperX SRAM Red, and the totally redesigned aluminum disc-brake and Ultegra-equipped CAADX ’cross bike. Each frame comes in four different configurations, bringing Cannondale’s cyclocross lineup to eight cyclocross bikes, and that’s not including their flat bar “Quick Carbon” and “Quick CX” bikes.
The Aluminum CAADX Gets a Redesign
Cannondale’s Global Director of Product Marketing, Murray Washburn, said that the new CAADX’s frame went through a “ground-up renovation” in order to “bring its performance up so that it’s a legit, race-able, high-performance ’cross bike.” The company brought technology from its road products and the winning carbon SuperX frame to its 6061 T6 alloy frame, including its SAVE micro-suspension chainstays and seatstays. The SAVE rear triangle is designed to both add a bit of comfort and to help the rear wheel “give a little bit to hook up when you’re putting the power down,” Washburn said.
The frame’s tubes are hydroformed and mechanically formed, and eagle eyes will notice the different shaping on the left [disc brake] seatstay to better support the braking forces. Cannondale avoided adding a bridge between the chainstay and seatstay, as their engineering team determined it wasn’t necessary and would have interfered with the compliance of the SAVE suspension. Up front, the frame features a tapered steerer, flaring from a 1-1/8″ diameter to a 1-1/4″ diameter, not the 1-1/2″ size popular with some other brands. The smaller flare was chosen for a balance of stiffness and compliance, according to Washburn.
Cannondale brings four Shimano-equipped CAADX models into the 2013 season. The flagship $2200 CAADX model comes with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, including an Ultegra front derailleur instead of the cyclocross-specific CX70. To keep the price down, a 105 chain and rear cassette are utilized, while an FSA’s Gossamer Pro BB30 cyclocross crankset transmits the power. Other components include Cannondale’s own MB700T mechanical disc brakes, Schwalbe Sammy Slick clincher tires, a Cannondale C3 cockpit, and Maddux CX 2.0 Disc wheels. The whole package will retail for under $2k and should be available in August. There will be three other CAADX models, all featuring cantilever brakes, including an entry-level $999 Shimano Sora-equipped model, and $1249 Shimano Tiagra model and a $1449 Shimano 105 model. Although the frame is designed to be a race-worthy steed, there are still rack and fender braze-ons to accommodate the commuter, touring, winter training, and dirt road crowd.
Cannondale Brings Discs to the Carbon SuperX Frame
The carbon cantilever-equipped SuperX frame remains unchanged for this season, but the top-shelf SRAM Red model now comes with Avid BB7 Ultimate mechanical disc brakes, an upscale version of the tried and true BB7 brake, the setup ridden by Tim Johnson of Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld last season. “Tim was pretty instrumental in helping us get [this bike] to where we wanted it to be,” said Washburn. After a season of Tim Johnson racing a prototype, Cannondale has incorporated Johnson’s feedback and will have the model ready for consumers this August.
The changes from the cantilever brake frame include reinforcements for the disc brake stresses, but the changes have at the same time allowed for a more compliant rear triangle. “We completely redid the rear end to remove some material and the cantilever bosses, and now there’s a little bit more vertical compliance without the brake bosses,” Washburn said. The disc fork now features a differential layup to be stiffer on the disc-brake side. The frame still features the same tapered steerer as the cantilever brake model, with a 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ tapered steerer.
The top-of-the-line $6100 SRAM Red model comes with Avid BB7 Ultimate disc brakes, a NoTubes Alpha 340 tubeless-compatible disc wheelset, FSA SL-K Light crankset, and Schwalbe Racing Ralph clinchers. There’s also a $4999 Ultegra Di2 model, a $3099 Ultegra model, and a $2599 SRAM Rival model. The two lower models are not “Hi-Mod” frames, so there’s a slight weight gain. All models are expected to be available by August.
Cannondale’s line demonstrates that the high-end cyclocross bike options are expanding, and trickle-down technology is benefiting the average racer as well. And as for the disc-brake trend, Cannondale thinks that as soon as there is a cleaner hydraulic and shift lever combo, everyone will move to hydraulics and then reduce the rotor sizes for weight savings.