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August 6th, 2015 – Cannondale took a good, hard look at the type of genre-bending riding going on these days – the adventure, gravel, dirt, mixed-surface, whatever-it’s-being-called-this-minute riding – and asked themselves what would happen if we stopped adapting bikes for this style of riding and just made a bike from scratch for this style of riding?
“Slate seemed like a natural evolution to us,” said David Devine, Senior Product Manager at Cannondale. “We started thinking about a bike that we would want to ride when we didn’t know exactly what type of terrain we’d be getting into for the day. It was a case of bringing together all of the different things we love about riding to create something totally new.”
The two standout features of the Slate are the use of 650b wheels with 42c tires, which result in the same roll-out as 700x23c tires, but add gobs of volume, traction and comfort and a suspension fork. Cannondale’s signature Lefty has been shrunken to 30mm of travel and dubbed the Oliver. It’s designed to fight bobbing at the top of the stroke, but dive into supple travel upon impact. The fork mounted lockout and rebound adjustment sit at the top of the dual crown, very close to the hands. The geometry is intentionally low and aggressive making it clear this no addition to the ‘endurance’ bike category.
The Slate was an intentionally poorly kept secret, with multiple ‘leaks’ online and even a video series dedicated to it. But it’s official now, and should be hitting stores in October. It will be available in alloy for now – SmartFormed 6069 with SAVE Plus+ Micro Suspension, with three different builds on offer.
Look for a full review in the pages of peloton soon. For now, here’s a look at the Slate in peloton’s own backyard.