First Look: Cannondale’s New Slate

After seeing a Cannondale with fat, 650b slick tires, disc brakes, a Lefty suspension fork, and drop handlebars floating around the Amgen Tour of California in May we knew an announcement from the Connecticut-based company was imminent. Then we saw Tim Johnson racing the very same bike at the Crusher In The Tushar last month, and yet there was still no official announcement. Now the wait is finally over with Cannondale announcing the coming of the Slate, a new platform that brings a different dimension of ‘road riding’, one that’s designed to handle anything from fast-paced group road rides to rugged singletrack, and everything else in between.

“Slate seemed like a natural evolution to us,” said David Devine, Senior Product Manager at Cannondale. “We started thinking about a bike that we would want to ride when we didn’t know exactly what type of terrain we’d be getting into for the day. It was a case of bringing together all of the different things we love about riding to create something totally new.”

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We were able to get a close up of the Slate that Tim Johnson has been riding since early May. The bike is a true blend of both mountain and road technology, with the Lefty suspension fork, slick tires, and 1x drivetrain. Cannondale says the Slate will be available in three different models beginning October, 2015. Pricing has yet to be announced, but based on the CAAD aluminum frame we don’t expect the Slate to be on the highest-end of the price range.

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The Lefty Oliver fork is built and tuned specifically for Slate. With 30mm of travel and a unique MAP (multi-surface Air Preload) spring, it’s designed to provide support at the top of the travel to prevent “bobbing” while offering supple bump absorption. On-the-fly lockout and rebound adjustment streamlines the transition from pavement to dirt so you can easily go from pace-line to picking your line on sections of rocky single track.

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The dramatically shaped seat and chain stays of the SmartFormed 6069 Alloy frame form Slate’s SAVE Plus+ Micro-Suspension, a system that offers superior tracking through the roughest surfaces, giving the rider full confidence when pitching Slate into choppy corners or when blasting down a rocky descent. Short chainstays provide the agility and quickness of a road bike, while a longer front-center and slacker head angle provides remarkable handling and stability, on road and off.

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Slate’s 650bx42c tires have a nearly identical outer diameter and roll-out as normal 700x23c road tires. This means you get the rolling speed and agile handling of regular road wheels, and the additional comfort, grip and float of high volume 42c tires.

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