Aaron Chase was making his way around the Outdoor Demo aboard his new and unique machine, the Cannondale Chase Softtail. The new bike uses a Lefty suspension fork for a top tube, has 3" of travel, and still has tight hardtail geometry. How the heck does it do that?
Read the article and find out!
Watch the HD Video with Aaron Chase explaining the theory behind his new bike!
Cannondale Chase "Softtail"
It was hot enough out there in the desert to cause hallucinations, which is what I thought this bike was at first. There I am minding my own business, snapping photo's of bikes that we were scheduled to see, when Mr. Aaron Chase rolls on by with this crazy contraption! I didn't know what to think at first but the more I looked at and listened to Aaron explain his new rig, the more it made sense. Maybe this bike isn't so crazy after all! What it turns out to be is a clever solution to some troublesome issues.
Aaron Chase and his new softtail
Having a bit of travel on the back of your slopestyle bike is an advantage on most of today's courses, but as soon as you add some sort of shock to the bike compromises have to be made. All of a sudden the bike needs to fit the necessary suspension related bits in there, as well as having room for the tire to come up without smashing into the frame or seat. So what Aaron came up with is basically a 3" travel full suspension bike that is able to use typical tight hardtail geometry.
Watch the video and let Aaron explain the how's and why's of his new bike:
The Chase Softtail actually uses a Lefty fork leg for it's top tube. For those that don't know the Lefty is Cannondale's single sided suspension fork that has a four sided stanction tube and rolls in and out on four strips of roller bearings. Neat stuff!
Cannondale "softtail" using Lefty suspension fork as a toptube, 3" of travel
Cannondale Lefty fork leg, 3"
FSA 1.5" reducer
Shimano modified 6spd with custom neutral gear
Shimano Saint Shadow
DT 6.1's laced to DT hubs
SDG Skylite I-Beam
SIC neutral gear
The Chase Softtail has a tight 15.75" chainstay length and gets 3" of travel. The bike pivots around the B.B. so while it is a URT (unified rear triangle) the suspension still works when Aaron is standing up.
The "top tube" mounts to the front end via this burly junction. The red dial is actually the Lefty's rebound adjustment knob
There is really only one pivot on the bike and that is this one around the bottom bracket. Basically the entire rear end of the bike, meaning the seat and chainstays, as well as the seat tube, all pivot forward 3" and compress the Lefty shock. The rear end can be super short because the seat tube is moving with it and the entire bike retains typical hardtail geometry
Aaron was one of the first riders using a neutral gear and he still runs it to this day. He simply shifts onto the smooth portion of his cassette and lets the chain rotate over it as he is rolling backwards, thus eliminating the need to pedal in reverse. Slick!
Pretty damn cool Aaron! The new Cannondale does make a load of sense. For a lot of courses, 3" or travel is plenty and having the exact same geo as a proper hardtail will make switching bikes easier, even though he'll have to do it less now. Even though it has 3" of travel it is still super easy to single speed too. The bike we saw looked a bit rough but there are plans to refine it, mainly smoothing out the Lefty toptube and how it's attached to the frame.
Thanks for giving us the low down on your new rig Aaron and we can't wait to see you out there ripping it up!
It's not there but if you want more info on any Cannondale bikes hit up Cannondale.com