Henrique Avancini's New Cannondale
The Cannondale Factory Racing Team brought a new weapon to the rumble in the jungle in Cairns. I wanted to brandish the bike with the word prototype
but taking a closer look shows a bike that could well be ready for production line, if not something ready to land on the shop floor.
We can only assume this bike will continue to be badged with the 'Scalpel' moniker and shares a similar look to its predecessor. Likely 100mm travel at the rear with a Commencal-esque shock mount that partially covers the RockShox damper under the top-tube. We can't see from Irmo's sneaky shots whether or not the bike uses some kind of travel adjust system like on the longer travel Jekyll, Trigger or Habit chassis, but if there was a cable or hose concealed in the top-tube I wouldn't be surprised. I also wouldn't be surprised to see this bike sporting a slightly slacker head angle and Cannondale's Lefty fork with a huge 55mm offset as found on their F-SI hardtail.
SRAM's new Level brake is neatly tucked away behind the end of the pivot-less carbon swingarm. Like the old Scalpel, there will be an amount of flex in this area to allow the suspension to compress. Engineering flex into the frame means losing a pivot and the maintenance and weight that goes along with it.
Cannondale's F-SI hardtail XC-racer uses their 'Asymmetric Innovation' offset rear end. The brand claims that using an off-set swingarm which moves the hub across by 6mm means they can gain the chainline, tire clearance and spoke angle benefits of a boost hub, while sticking with the 142mm width hub standard, it's likely that this new frame will feature the same offset.
XC racers love to shave as many grams as possible, but Avancini still chooses a small top guide to keep the chain in place. Dropping a chain during a race will cost more time than any weight saving could ever cut down.