It’s no secret that we like bikes with stories. There are plenty of boring bikes out there that fill a price-point, keep a certain group of the cycling public mildly satiated for the short term-and then there are bikes that wake you up and demand that you take a second look. The Cannondale Slice is one of those bikes. Our Slice One test bike remained in the RBA offices for almost seven days before we had the chance to saddle up and take it for a spin. In that time frame, we were able to notice the minimalist toptube, the oversized forks, and the wind-cheating rear triangle which looks like something from the future while bringing up images of straight-postured British honor guards. The downtube is almost boring, but it’s massive in size and demands two or three looks before it begins to make sense. It’s an all-new carbon design from the aluminum company, and it’s a swing-for-the-fence effort.
The Slice One is different. The frame and fork are designed and constructed as a system, almost as one piece, to reduce drag and encourage air-flow. The seatube design, which Cannondale calls the ‘Speed Shadow,’ buries the rear wheel from airflow, and the dual position seatpost allows both multisport athletes and time trial nuts to enjoy the ride. You can adjust the saddle to either a UCI-legal 75- degrees, up to an 80-degree seat angle. The Slice was unveiled to the race world at the Healthnet training camp in Solvang, California, just prior to the Tour of California, and we had a chance to ask Rory Sutherland about his initial reactions to the bike. ‘We tested at training camp and my first impressions were that is looks good, it’s sleek, it is aerodynamic in the right places, it is super-stiff. There was no movement at all in the bottom bracket while climbing, no flex in the fork; it’s a beautiful bike.’ While Cannondale employs some of the fastest triathletes in the world like Faris Al Sultan, we have to believe the input of team Healthnet and Team Liquigas encouraged them to build a time trial machine that would not only do well at Kona, but also perform stateside and in the major events of the Pro Tour.
Can you see me? The frontal view of the Slice shows how little area of the bike is exposed to the wind.
The Cannondale Slice comes in five different versions, with the Slice One being in the middle of the family, and it features a Carbon BB30 frame, Zipp Flashpoint FP-60 wheels, Maxxis Xenith Hors Categorie tires, Cannondale Hollowgram BB30 cranks, and Shimano Dura-Ace components with SRAM aero carbon brake levers. A Fizik Arione Tri MG saddle and bar tape complete the package. The Slice is available in a 51, 54, 56, 58 and 60-centimeter sizes.
The multi-adjust seat post allows both ProTour and triathlon racers to remain happy and in position to go fast.
We took the Slice One out to a very windy time trial, (more like a hurricane) to see how it would perform in a race situation. The verdict: it performed much better than the test rider. It’s super-fast when you are down and moving, not exemplary when out of the saddle and trying to crest a rise, but the Slice makes it up on the flats. Stiff? It is amazing how stiff and fast it is. Don’t expect to be jarred to oblivion, however, the course we raced had plenty of mine-fields and we weren’t overly beat-up after the 20k race of truth. The confidence and speed that the Slice inspires is alarming. There were times (with a bit of a tail-wind) that we had to take a quick gut-check due to uncommon speed. We plan to put the Slice into more race scenarios and continue to log more miles this summer and keep you informed both in the magazine and at here.
The front end of the Slice has a solid look with intense wind-cheating characteristics.
We mentioned that the Slice design was a swing-for-the-fence, and it truly is. The design work, wind-cheating attention, mojo-inspiring looks and race-tested creativity demand that you take a look at this bike for your multi-sport or time-trialing needs. When a company like Cannondale makes a jump like they have with the Slice or with their all-carbon SuperSix, bike fans around the world should stand up and cheer that even storied names in the bicycle industry can take a leap and push innovation and design to the limit. Kudos to Cannondale on the creation of the Slice, and we look forward to improving our own race performances in the upcoming months to match the potential of the Slice One.