This actually isn't the first time we've seen this bike
, but it's certainly the first time we've seen a photo straight-on in better-than-potato quality. Cannondale's versatile prototype looks like a bike of this day and age, when many long-travel enduro-ish bikes double as mini downhill sleds that can run either single- or dual-crown forks (the recent GT prototype
is an example of another bike in that category).
This is a little different from Cannondale's last dual-crown bike
, the split shock downhill bike that was piloted by Matt Simmonds on the World Cup stage in 2019. Later that year, when this next prototype was spotted, it seemed to borrow some characteristics from that downhill bike but put them in a shorter-travel, simpler package.
While this prototype doesn't have the dizzying tuneability of a bike with two rear shocks, it does seem to be a bit of a chameleon, as it looks ready to pedal when paired with an enduro fork but burly enough to take the Darkfest hits in style when set up as a downhill bike. The first prototype shots in 2019 showed the bike with 29" wheels, but Louis Reboul specced his with 27.5" wheels front and rear for DarkFest.
Other details: there's space for a water bottle in a more traditional spot than Cannondale's current Jekyll, again pointing to the bike's pedalability; it seems to use the same bolt-on shield as the downhill bike to protect the shock while keeping it accessible; and it seems to have essentially the same suspension layout as the downhill bike when the downhill bike is used without the optional second shock.
Since prototypes have been around since 2019 and the bike is now showing up at events -- Mitch Ropelato raced a similar bike
at the Big Mountain Enduro season opener -- we can expect it to reach the production stage sooner rather than later.