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Spotted: A New Cannondale XC Race Hardtail

Oct 28, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  

EF Education First - Nippo Pro Cycling road team rider Alex Howes has posted an Instagram update with what appears to be a new version of Cannondale's F-Si carbon cross country race hardtail. Alex was riding the bike in training for the Cape Epic but was unable to participate due to a hand injury.

First spotted by Bike Rumor, the biggest difference on the frame is the dropped seatstays that now meet the seat tube about nine-tenths of the way up as opposed to at the top tube junction as on the current model. This is a design carried over from road cycling and is supposed to offer great cushioning from vibrations and impacts.

Cannondale's current F-Si carbon has a very different rear triangle. Photo: Cycling Tips

bigquotesMost of y’all had already done the math but today it’s officially official, no Cape Epic for me this year. When I initially busted my hand (pretty sure it happened about 4 seconds after Elevation Wheel Company snapped this photo) I had hoped there might be a chance the damage wasn’t as bad as it seemed & a speedy recovery would be possible. Definitely not the case. Doc said the other day, “we hope to have you outside on the bike 12 weeks after surgery” to which I may have mumbled something about it just being a pinky and he must have his meds mixed up because only someone high as a kite would say something like that to a professional athlete and expect it to happen.

Anyway… I’m devastated to be missing the Epic. It’s been a dream for so long that’s seemed so close this past year and a half. It’s that record-breaking trout on hook that somehow got off not once but TWICE.

So yeah, I’m bummed. And I’m probably going to stay bummed for a while. But it’s ok. I’ve been bummed before. I’ve broken bones before & been much worse off. For now I’m enjoying running the tread off a new pair of running shoes, changing diapers one-handed and pecking at the keyboard as I write up training plans with Team EF Coaching. And while I’m bummed, I have to admit that I’m genuinely excited to see how Lachlan Morton & Kenneth Karaya do out there.

The same dropped design is used on Cannondale's budget-friendly Trail SE range but those bikes are made from aluminium, not carbon as the one above appears to be, and we're very skeptical that a road cycling pro would opt for a budget hardtail when preparing for one of the toughest mountain bike races going!

Cannondale's aluminium-only Trail SE range also uses the dropped seatstay design.

Most professional XC racers now use a full suspension bike for the whole season so it leaves the F-Si carbon in an interesting place. Will it become more of an endurance frame? Or will it join the battle to be the lightest production frame against the likes of Specialized's Epic HT and Canyons' Exceed.

Massimo Alpian, Global Media Relations Manager at Cannondale told us, "I can confirm Alex was riding a Cannondale. Our heritage is rich with new innovation and that continues today and while I can’t specify the model right now, we hope to be able to sometime soon."


  • 87 2
 "Will it become more of an endurance frame? Or will it join the battle to be the lightest production frame" that's marketing's problem! Slap on some curly bars and call it downgravel .
  • 29 1
 Oh that was funny but im sure downgravel will be a thing in five seconds time
  • 10 0
 downgravel is the best part of gravel already
  • 4 0
 What's it called when you do the opposite: gravel frame with flat bars? Upgravel?
  • 7 0
 @VtVolk: Personally, I prefer free gravel.
  • 4 0
 @grgsmith: upgravel is a gravel bike with flat bars? isn't that just commuting in cities?
  • 9 0
 @blitz66: commuting is urban gravel
  • 4 0
 @grgsmith: MTG - Mountaingravel ;-)
  • 4 0
 @grgsmith: Up-country
  • 2 0
 @mdiguisto: i should look around the internet outside of the only 4 pages on the internet i ever visit

they look like Good value bikes all joking aside
  • 50 12
 O.M.G. I am in love! I'm happy to review this one @mikekazimer .

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 3 8
flag freeridejerk888 (Oct 29, 2021 at 6:07) (Below Threshold)
 Cringe. Get a on a DH rig
  • 33 1
 Another article about Cannondale using words like dropped and tinker-ing....
  • 2 0
 But those drealock grips are too sweet.
  • 11 1
 This has to be the official mountain bike of roadies.
  • 8 0
 Looks like a highball with a lefty
  • 4 1
 From 2018 no less. SC ahead of the curve again. Although the market for high end XC hardtails has got to be pretty small.
  • 1 0
 "reducing costs since 2004"
  • 2 0
 Same company now?
  • 8 1
 What? Nobody complaining about drop seat stay aesthetics? Guess the roadies haven't gotten to this one yet. Smile
  • 10 3
 Cannondale announced they are bringing manufacturing Back to the USA..Savanna, GA.!!!! Starting 2022!!!
  • 1 0
  • 9 2
 Wooow really exited about this news
  • 1 0
  • 5 0
 Did someone say "cheap Chiner frame"?
  • 1 0
 Haha. It does resemble .
  • 5 1
 Maybe Alex Howes is riding the Trail SE with a lefty fork because he could not find a F-Si in stock?
  • 3 2
 Pretty sure he has an F-Si already and even if he didn't stock of stuff seems to mysteriously appear for team riders
  • 2 0
 Headtube area looks completely different. Completely smooth and flat vs the tubes and welds.
  • 1 0
 So glad they flattened that seatpost little stump after 2015 model. I cracked 3 frames 2013/2014/2015 Al 2x and 1x Carbon and several others reported this weakness at that L shape stump. My newer 2019 fsi no issue. Very worried about seeing this little tube sticking out again. Warranty claims here it comes :-( or hope they strengthened that area.
  • 1 0
 Beat the shit out of my '15 without a problem until it was stolen late 2019.
  • 2 3
 crack and fail
  • 2 1
 Long live the HT! ....that said, I recently stopped using mine on fast group rides b/c it was just too damn sketchy following the line of the rider in front of me when I'm on a HT and they are on FS.
  • 1 1
 Any one know what the seatpost is ??
Is it a new ISPS Sram AXS seatpost with “inernal “ motor and battery. What is the silver spot above the Bb. What is the silver circle below the seatpost head??
ISPS seat post standard developed by EightPins has its base bolt 80mm above the BB wheee that silver bit is. Thanks
  • 6 2
 Review tomorrow?
  • 2 1
 My thoughts exactly
  • 8 5
 They're not giving up on that lefty fork huh...
  • 55 4
 Wait until you find out how car wheels attach...
  • 9 1
 I don't bump into many riders with a lefty but, when I do, they all have mostly positive comments and love it. The only cons I've heard are: suspension is too short and proprietary products makes you look only to Cannondale for repair/replacement.
  • 8 4
 @SATN-XC: as a lefty-fatty user I have two main complains: 1) Too linear 2) They have not found a solution to bearing migration in 20 years. What does that means? Simply ride it hard and it stops working as it should, and reset does not fix it. It needs a quite expensive service.
Team riders has many problems solved by 88aid, and other companies.
We have to accept that cannondale died in 2004, they are selling generic crap nowadays
  • 4 1
 They're great forks for XC. Very smooth with great small bump compliance. Older ones required a bit more maintenance than a two sided fork, but I think the newer generations have solved those issues
  • 15 2
 @TimMog: wait, two of my car wheels attatch on the RIGHT side! Completely different engineering and technology
  • 1 3
 @TimMog: using 4 or 5 bolts
  • 2 1
 @TimMog: wait until you find out the weight and packaging difference. Rolleyes
  • 1 0
 Personally I think they look badass. Had one years ago and the spring and damper were easier to service than a traditional fork, but it was huge pita if you ever had any problems with the bearings or races. Bearing issues were basically "ship it back to Cannondale", and their quality control seemed to be hit or miss. Never had problems with mine, but friends did.
  • 1 1
 @Compositepro: 1 bolt in f1
  • 1 0
 @pink505: no thats a nut
  • 3 0
 @NorCalNomad: holy shit how do you so the roll eyes emoji so i too can use it when adressing morons
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: or if you are in the states 4,5,6,7,8,and 10 didnt see any heavy duty regular trucks on the other side of the pond just vans and semis oh sorry lorys
  • 1 1
 @TimMog: well played
  • 1 0
 @TimMog: Lol wut people really acting like this is a good comparison...
  • 1 0
 @Cspringsrider: the pedantics are missing no one has mention studs yet
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: yes I see the problem everytime I try to fit Rock shox parts on my fox forks
  • 4 1
 How about dropping the toptube instead
  • 3 1
 this is so fake...every MTB editor has already press kit on email with that bike with embargo dated on 9.11 (15:00 CET)
  • 1 0
 interesting, word for word the same article on Bikeroomer. This bike is the Scalpel HT. Its being discussed over on MTBR for the past two months already
  • 2 1
 Also looks like it will have a larger diameter seat post so better dropper compatibility
  • 4 3
 If this is your type of bike I am guessing you use the term "hydration strategy" before each ride.
  • 1 1
 "....offer great cushioning from vibrations and impacts."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Oh I'm sure your lower back will feel fiiiiine after riding that for a while.....
  • 1 0
 That bike is clearly a piece of carbon exotica, & not to be confused with an SE bike!
  • 1 0
 Maybe it will have vaguely modern geo and not the OTBesque 71deg HTA of the current version?
  • 2 0
 It has been 69* since the F-Si was refreshed in 2018 or 2019.
  • 1 0
 So it's like a GT "triple-triangle" without the triple part. Double triangle? Innovation!
  • 1 0
 I love my Cannondale Carbon Flash! Rolling on a set of ENVEs. This thing plain rips!
  • 4 3
 Xc hardtail? Who? Where? Why?
  • 4 1
 in light of part and bike shortages (and general cost increases), they seem like a reasonable option now-a-days
  • 10 3
 Rode mine yesterday was awesome.
  • 4 0
 Lots of people. Everywhere. They’re light and fun to pedal.
  • 2 0
 @zephxiii: Threw a leg over a buddy's full blown xc hardtail the other day for a short climb, the difference in speed left me shook. I had no idea
  • 1 4
 How does the author see that the bike in the picture is carbon and not similar to the Trail SE bike shown below? Except for the welds near the rear dropout, I don't see any other clue that indicates that that bike is aluminium. And I can't quite see the rear dropout area as the rider is cleverly hiding it for sneaky spy-shooters.
  • 3 0
 He didn't see it. He inferred it.
  • 1 1
 It’s the current AL bike, look at the seat post clamp vs the current CF frame. The current bike has a hidden clamp. That has a traditional one.
  • 1 0
 This isn't investigative journalism! The Cannondale press pack on the soon to be released new bike told him?
  • 1 0
 @gatlanwyson: Press packs are under embargo so the one who does the "spotted" and "spy shot" articles doesn't have access to that.
  • 1 1
 If Cannondale would make a NORMAL bike like everyone else, they would have been as big a brand as TREK years ago.
  • 1 0
 Trek was nowhere in mountainbiking years ago (and Cannondale was). I feel like they only took off a little when Lance Armstrong quit racing road bikes and Andrew Shandroo helped them set up the Session 7.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Erm Trek took off when they spent millions in R&D, manufacturing etc. nothing to do with the marketing department minions Armstrong and Shandro
  • 2 0
 @browner: I didn't mean to say it was because of these athletes, just that before that time Trek was nowhere in mountainbiking and Cannondale was big.
  • 1 0
 If it has Ai offset, I automatically don't care.
  • 3 3
 They still make XC hardtails?!? Who knew? ; )
  • 2 1
 huh, looks sick,
  • 1 0
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