Cannondale Slice RS 2013
Time trial bike gets a serious makeover. We were in Utah for the world unveiling
We got a quick look at the brand new Cannondale Slice RS time trial bike at the Tour de France prologue last week, and here's a detailed look at the new bike from the worldwide product launch.
“I waited for this bike for a long time, it's been three years in development, sometimes it's been painful, but right now I'm really happy to show you the new bike,” product manager Henning Schroeder tells us, as he unveils the all-new Cannondale Slice time trial bike. We're in Utah, Deer Valley Park to be exact, for the eagerly anticapated launch of their brand new 2013 time trial bike.
The previous Slice was getting a bit long in the tooth so the new model represents a significant step forward with its approach to aerodynamics and integration, the latter a key component of the design as Cannondale set out to design the most aerodynamic bike in the world… just like everybody else then I suppose.
To achieve this aim there's some interesting features that stand out immediately. First is at the front where, to keep the frame as narrow as possible, Cannondale use an external steerer tube fork. No steerer tube passes through the head tube in the traditional sense, instead bearings are pressed into the top and bottom and secure the fork to the frame. This allows Cannondale to achieve their aim of making the front narrow. An upshot of the design is that stiffness of the frame, which delivers crisp handling.
Tube profiles are shaped on NACA airfoil principles, and evident on the downtube, head tube and the new seat tube. The latter takes an extremely angular shape, the most noticeable departure from the previous frame. The frame hugs the profile of the rear wheel, but to reduce drag that is caused by the spinning rear wheel a channel recessed into the section of seat tube facing the wheel allows a place for the air to flow through.
Integration is something we're seeing more and more on bikes, and the Slice is no exception. The brakes are mini V-brakes, and are tucked out of the airflow behind the bottom bracket and neatly at the rear of the fork. Cannondale wanted the brakes to be easy to set up and maintain, so rather than using a complicated brake design, they went with the simplicity of the V-brake.
Also hidden out of the wind are the cables, they're routed internally. A benefit of the design of the front end of the frame is the cables can be smoothly routed into the head tube, with no steerer tube in the way. A stem cap, held in place with two Allen key bolts, can be removed to access the internal routing for cable replacement. It's a very neat and tidy solution.
With a completely flat path from the front of the stem all the way along the top tube, the seat post has been narrowed as much as the UCI would allow. Cannondale admit it's a funky looking seatpost, but was borne out of necessity to meet their aero targets rather than putting aesthetics first. It pushes right at the limits of UCI's rules, Cannondale's Murray Washburn told us. Look at the bike from the front and you can see just how narrow the Slice is. “Narrow is aero,” was Washburn's first words when talking us through the key design features.
The seat stays use the SAVE technology found on bikes like the Synapse to offer some comfort because, you can't discount such a factor with some of the longer time trial distances that are available to ride.
For the construction of the frame Cannondale use the same Hi-Modulus carbon fibre as found on the Evo. Three models will be available, with the bike pictured the Black edition featuring a very stealthy matte black finish with custom decals on the finishing kit, which includes Zipp 808 Firecrest wheels, SRAM Red groupset and FSA bars.
Shimano Di2 Ultegra and standard Ultegra models will be available when the bike is likely to hit production later this year. Prices and availability dates to be confirmed.