Spotted: Cannondale Slate


Unique Take on the Adventure/Gravel Bike from American Manufacturer

Over recent weeks, Cannondale has been teasing their unique take on the adventure/gravel genre of road bikes through a series of YouTube videos featuring former US cyclocross champion Tim Johnson.  Dubbed the “Slate,” the new bike from Cannondale offers a number of features unique to the adventure/gravel bike, and road bikes in general, including a suspension fork and 650B wheels.

The Cannondale Slate is being advertised as an “all road” bike.  Capable of smashing it on the asphalt and handling gravel roads, but the Slate goes beyond the standard gravel grinder with its ability to handle single track, as portrayed in Cannondale’s teaser videos.  The Slate is truly a unique bike, and if it wasn’t for the drop bars you wouldn’t be amiss for assuming it wasn’t a road bike.

The first feature that really jumps out when seeing the Cannondale Slate, and what probably makes it the most unique, is the presence of Cannondale’s patented Lefty suspension fork, which we are more used to seeing on their mountain bikes.  In the case of the Cannondale Slate, the fork has 30mm of undampered travel, a lock out and has been called the Oliver.

A more and more common sight on gravel and adventure bikes, and road bikes in general, is the presence of disc brakes and the Cannondale Slate is no exception.  The bike shown in the videos features SRAM’s disc brakes and top of the line Red groupset.

The other unique feature of the Cannondale Slate is that it has been specced with 650b (27.5) Stan’s ZTR Flow Ex MTB wheels which have been wrapped with 42mm tires.  Apparently, this combination of wheel and tire, when inflated to 40 psi, produces a roll out equal to 700×22.  Going with a smaller wheel size meant that Cannondale could create a bike with snappy handling characteristics while maintaining a long wheelbase for increased stability.

The Cannondale Slate is truly a unique bike and may not be to everyone’s taste nor fit everyone’s definition of what a road bike is.  But not everyone is a racer and there are many people who just want to get out a ride a bike.  The Slate looks like a good option for the rider who doesn’t want to be restricted to just paved roads, or to gravel for that fact.  The Cannondale Slate takes a new look at what a performance bike is meant to and is capable of doing.

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