Update: Cannondale Slate road bike with 30mm Lefty Oliver suspension fork

650b wheels, 42mm tires, and disc brakes highlight this new go-anywhere bike

Disc Gravel Parts Road Bike
The new fork could further open the already expanded definition of what road and cyclocross bikes are capable of.

The new fork could further open the already expanded definition of what road and cyclocross bikes are capable of (click to enlarge).

We’ve been hearing rumors about a Cannondale Lefty suspension fork for road and cyclocross bikes for a while. Now it is a reality. This past week, Cannondale posted a pair of teaser videos on YouTube featuring former U.S. cyclocross national champion Tim Johnson and senior product manager David Devine ripping around all manner of pavement and trail on drop-bar disc brake bikes equipped with Lefty forks.

While the first video was just a tease, the second revealed a host of key details, including the name of this new bike: Slate. Pertinent spec details on the bikes in the videos include SRAM mechanical disc brakes, a 30mm suspension fork with lockout called the Lefty Oliver, and 650b Stan’s ZTR Flow EX MTB wheels wrapped with 42mm tires pumped up to 40psi. That combination, claims Cannondale, produces a roll-out that’s equivalent to 700×22. Here’s the second video.

According to this post on The Radavist, the size 56cm model will have 405mm chainstays and a 71.5-degree head tube angle, which will net a 1015mm wheelbase. Trail is 66.3mm, which should keep handling snappy and fun.

“I wanted to create something that was more capable and not confining,” says Devine in the video.

“It’s a whole new style of bike,” adds Johnson. “You can put yourself on the edge but have a lot more room to play with.”

The video is punctuated by highlights of the pair riding 100 miles from Park City to Ogden via smooth tarmac, gravel roads and some backcountry singletrack in the Wasatch mountain range.

Maintaining pedaling efficiency will be key to the fork's success.

Maintaining pedaling efficiency will be key to the bike’s success (click to enlarge).

The spirit of the new bike is captured in the first video’s tagline, which reads in part:

“For those whose love for the road extends beyond just the road. For those whose thirst for fun and adventure cannot be quenched by mere road bikes or those dreary grinders of gravel. For all those who don’t necessarily want to road-ride, but who just want to ride the roads, and the verges, the trails, and whatever strikes their fancy, we proudly offer a road bike unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

Our quick take is we love the idea of bikes with a wide range of capabilities. If Cannondale has found a way to build suspension into road/CX bike without adding too much weight or impacting pedaling efficiency and high speed handling, then why not? Add in those wide tires and disc brakes and you could literally have a machine that could handle your average steady-pace road group ride, line up at a ‘cross race, and wander into the woods for some singletrack shredding. Nothing wrong with that.

As for a release date, the video says Fall 2015. More details on availability and pricing to come as we get them.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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  • conscience of a conservative says:

    Spotted?
    For a moment I thought RoadBikeReview had hired investigative sleuths. 🙂

    I guess this is what we call Cannondale pre-marketing.

  • conscience of a conservative says:

    I like the marketing. Very effective video.

  • ReetroGrooch says:

    Not only has this been seen before, but Cannondale themselves had the Silk Road with a Headshok about 15 years ago.

    In reality, suspension on the REAR would be better on a road bike that a suspension fork. You can pad your handlebar tape/move your hands around on the bars/shake your hands off, but when your butt and back go, you are screwed. Moots has been making YBB road bikes and cyclo-cross bikes for 20 years. They work well, except when sprinting.

    A Scott-style remote lockout would solve the sprinting problem.

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