Cyclocross Magazine test rode a shop-built, Lefty-equipped Cannondale cyclocross bike a few months ago, and since then, Cannondale itself has continued to work on concept. Recently, the company released a video showcasing its latest suspension-equipped dropbar bike, the new Slate. Not yet marketed as a gravel or cyclocross bike, the Slate seeks to serve up plenty of adventure with 30mm of travel on the Lefty fork alongside the 650b mountain bike wheels dressed with wide rubber. Former National Champion Tim Johnson sure seems to enjoy it.
We spotted a few renditions of the Cannondale models during the season, including a lefty shop-built 700c cyclocross bike with 40mm of travel and the prototype thru axle Cannondale cyclocross bike. Currently with the Slate, however, only aluminum models have been shown to the public. The promotional videos are quick to distance themselves from the race atmosphere, marketing the Slate as the bike for the non-competitive two-wheel adventure rides. Still, the application of the frame during race day could be interesting when it comes to technical gravel races or hard hitting obstacles in cyclocross.
The drop bar “adventure bike” is a growing space, and each company seems to have a slightly different take on the concept. Cannondale’s choice to use 650b wheels is interesting, but will it prevent the use of narrower cyclocross rubber with 700c wheels? We’ll see. Other companies, like Open, offers its Unbeaten Path bikes with either 700c or 650b wheels, depending on the desired tire size.
We’re a big fan of versatile bikes, and are excited to give the latest dropbar Lefty-equipped Cannondale a test, and we promise to start with a clean slate. Stay tuned for more details.