Dubbed “New Road”, US firm Cannondale looks set to launch a new gravel and adventure road bike based around an aluminium frame with a Lefty suspension fork. This video shows cyclocross racer Tim Johnson and Cannondale’s product manager David Devine putting the new bike through its paces on the road and on dirt and gravel tracks.
We don’t know a lot about this bike other than what is seen in the video. What we can tell is that it appears to have an aluminium frame with internal cable routing, and is fitted with disc brakes and uses a road bike drivetrain setup. The shape and styling of the tubes appears to be inspired by the CAAD10 aluminium road bike.
Cannondale clearly looks to have pulled in some of its mountain bike expertise and technology in the development of this new model. The Lefty, a one-sided suspension fork, is a common feature on its mountain bikes and cyclocross racer Tim Johnson has been spotted riding a cyclocross bike equipped with a Lefty fork for some time.
The Lefty is recognised as one of the stiffest and lightest mountain bike suspension forks on the market, so the likely weight penalty might not be too high with this new road version, but will undoubtedly be heavier than a rigid carbon fork. How much suspension travel it provides remains to be seen, probably between 30-50mm I would guess. It’ll likely be adjustable air suspension with a lockout feature so you can switch it off on the road, and turn it on when hitting the trails.
Gravel bikes are the big new trend in the US at the moment, and manufacturers have cottoned onto their ride-anywhere appeal and we’ve seen many new models introduced in the past two years, including the GT Grade, Specialized Diverge, Salsa Warbird, Giant Revolt and the new Felt V Series I rode in Germany last week.
These bikes split the difference between an endurance road bike and a cyclocross bike. Common traits of these bikes include space for up to 50mm tyres, disc brakes, long wheelbases and low bottom brackets to provide good road handling and off-road stability and long-distance comfort. Rack and mudguard mounts are also a common detail.
But what to call these bikes? Because they’re largely inspired by the gravel scene in the US, most are going with gravel. But some are keen to move away from those roots and appeal to a wider audience not interested in gravel riding, but the ruggedness and versatility of a bike that can be ridden over any surface. There are many names being bandied around, adventure seems to have stuck, but GT has gone with ‘EnduroRoad’ and all-road and roadplus are other terms we’ve heard. Cannondale has gone with “New Road” for this new model.
With the Lefty fork, this bike more than most blurs the lines between an adventure road bike and a mountain bike. Fit some bigger tyres and flat bars and you could be looking at a 29er mountain bike.
In Cannondale’s own words: “For those whose love for the road extends beyond just the road. For those whose thirst for fun and adventure cannot be quenched by mere road bikes or those dreary grinders of gravel. For all those who don't necessarily want to road-ride, but who just want to ride the roads, and the verges, the trails, and whatever strikes their fancy, we proudly offer a road bike unlike anything you've ever seen.”
More news when we get it.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.