• Dude pedalling

    It’s a bit like a moped really isn’t it

    • Dude pedalling

      …moped as in riding one is ‘good fun until someone sees you.’ I just replied to my own post, how sad.

  • Alex

    Can Cannondale just drop this lefty idea? My coworker bought an old Cannondale with a lefty fork that had an electronic lockout on it. Of course the lockout mechanism broke and no one makes parts for it anymore so he’d either have to buy a new lefty fork ($$$) or buy a regular fork AND a new front wheel. If it wasn’t a lefty he’d have a lot more choices in fork options.

    • Cody Custis

      Razor and blades model….

  • De Mac

    Fair call on the Slate in the end Matt – ‘the Slate is the Swiss-Army knife of road bikes and I tend to agree; however, none of the blades are especially sharp.’ When I first saw the concept and since I’ve been able to see the end result in the flesh, I reckon the Slate seems to be a bike that can crossover between the realms (Road/CX vs MTB), but it doesn’t do any of them quite well enough. I find a CX bike with good rims can double as a great gravel / offroad bike AND can also do well on the road – Focus Mares CX, for example!!! The price of the Slate is almost absurd – which is another discussion entirely…. Cheers

  • Roger That

    Great review (clever ‘blunt Swiss Army knife’ line), great photos. Is there really an audience for this expensive product? Or is it marketing hoo-hah to show how progressive, out-of-the-box and wildly creative Cannondale are – but really, you will buy another Cannondale product because this doesn’t really do what it says on the box?

  • roklando

    Isn’t this the same bike no-one could fix on that Thereabouts II doco? Where all the other riders had to work pushing the one riding it? That was great publicity for it, a bike meant to go backcountry that breaks and is hard to fix. No, ta.

    • Superpilot

      The bike flatted and they had no 650b tubes, they were pushing him on a flat tyre, not a broken bike at all.

      • roklando

        Whether it was a tyre or anything else, the fact is they were stuck with an unworkable bike. Why would anyone want a (offroad!) bike that can’t borrow a tube from most other bikes?

        • Eat More Lard

          Hardly the fault of the bike if you didn’t carry the right spares. It’s not as if 27.5 (i.e. 650) is uncommon offroad nowadays

          • Todd!

            He was actually utilising a prototype Stans sealant system…

      • Dennis

        I’ve used a 700c tube in a 26″ tire before. I wouldn’t try it long-term, but it definitely worked to get us home. Why didn’t they at least try a 700c tube in that bike before pushing it? (I didn’t watch it, so maybe they did try. However, in my experience a 700c x 28mm tube worked in a 26″ x 1.5″ tire.)

    • Maryljohnson

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  • martin

    Those purple bits though. Reminds me of lusting over all that great Ringlé stuff back in the 90’s.

  • Hamish Moffatt

    What tyres were supplied? Jan Heine has some nice ones in 650b and he’d definitely take issue with the idea that big tyres were slowing you down.

    • The tyres were Cannondale-branded, made by Panaracer. If the tyres weren’t slowing me down, maybe it was the weight of the bike? It was like riding a trainer with the resistance turned WAY up.

      • Hamish Moffatt

        Sorry I meant to say that wide tyres don’t necessarily slow you down, not that those ones weren’t… Has a bike ever been shipped with good tyres from the factory?

  • Avuncular

    Nice review thanks. I like the lockout button as my Lefty has the lever that you wacked your knee with if you got out of the saddle. I would like a bit more travel too for rougher trail/roads. Would wider bars like the Salsa Woodchippers help on rougher trails? Maybe then its on road capabilities would be compromised. This bike has given me some ideas for gravel grinding using my 26″ Lefty Furio. I’ve just returned from a 5 day tour on my CX and we encountered some unrideable roads where say 50mm or more of suspension meant I could have ridden some steeper rougher tracks.

  • Superpilot

    Wait a minute, you need to undo screws in the brake caliper, and then the side of the hub to change a front flat? I guess being closed in on only one side you could just leave the rim on the bike eh? I think there is a bit too much proprietary stuff going on with this bike (stems, hubs, forks), but hot damn I do love their one piece cranksets..

    • Avuncular

      No you leave the wheel in situ and just change the tyre/tube. You undo the caliper if you need to take off the wheel for travel etc. An easy 30-45 sec job.

  • Daniel

    Hard to understand the target market here aside from other issues (the company reasoning for 650b is absurd). CXer’s cant race on it, doesnt look to have rack mounts so the touring crowd are out, do you actually need suspension to ride rail trails?? Not IMV. Ive got a Crux that I use on firetrail/easy singletrack and have never felt the need for suspension and thats with 33mm tyres. The other issue Ive encountered with gravel grind rides is you cant go too far without a lot of planning because filling up bidons can become a problem so most of my rides become 2-3hrs which comes back to why would you need suspension for comfort. Even if they were reasonably priced I still doubt they would sell.

    • Avuncular

      Rack mounts are not necessary for touring these days unless you are doing full on heavy duty touring needing lots of water, food, camping gear etc. Bike packing gear requires no rack mounts. However the single sided fork limits what you might carry with a dual sided fork.

  • Stian Pollestad

    Frankenstein-bike. Pieces put together and it looks horrible…

  • Ron Hubbard

    Props to all those people who can tell what’s wrong with this bike without even riding it. You’re wasting your time doing these comments you should be…no wait you’re just wasting your time. I of course can only take this smug tone be cause I have ridden the Slate. For what it’s worth: If you don’t already like the idea of the Lefty this bike will not change your mind about it. The right tyre pressure counts a lot. This bike cannot do it all. This bike is faster and smoother than any other CX/gravel bike I’ve ridden on dirt/trails (disagree with the reviewer here about how capable this bike is off-road). It is not for everyone. This bike is more fun to ride than any other CX/gravel bike I have had the pleasure to pedal. Peace.

    • Sean parker

      I have no trouble with the concept – I just don’t see that there is $6K worth of technology there.

      That’s a lot of dough for a hardtail with a drop-bar. And not an overly light one at that.

    • Eat More Lard

      “The extra weight of the Slate was also an immediate handicap, making for a bike that was slower and less responsive than any road bike on the market.”. Big statement that “any road bike” bit. So how does it compare to a CX bike on the road, everyone one of which I have ridden has been “slow” when shod with fat tyres? You need to let the roadie “must smash that climb/segment/other rider” attitude go and just have fun with this bike. And I say that not because I am, by design, slow anyway ;)

  • Sean parker

    I was prepared to like it but I can’t see how it would improve upon my carbon hardtail which is lighter, cheaper and seems just as versatile with furious freds on.

    I can ride at 30km/h on tarmac and then hit the trails with 100mm of front suss. The only improvement the slate might have is more road friendly geometry and drop bars.

    Sure, every departure from the norm is going to carry some compromises but I still don’t see the slate as better than a road bike with chubby tyres or a mtb with skinny tyres. At this price you could probably buy both.

    OK I haven’t ridden it so maybe it is the magic pudding. Am I missing something here?

  • Matthew McArdle

    I ride a bit of a mongrel bike. I like mongrel bikes a lot. But I don’t see too many other people on them so not sure there is much of a market? Then again maybe that’s because there has been few choices if you want to buy off the shelf?

    I like the cannondale reviewed here, and I’m probably close to the target market, but the lefty is a problem. Even approaching a mongrel bike from the hard-tail MTB side like I have, suspension is a waste. You won’t ever need to unlock it. Only reason I keep suspension forks on mine is in case I want to chuck on some 26″ wheels with knobbies as a back up bike at MTB races. The price might be a bit high for an all around exploration bike too?

    I really, really like 650b wheels with fat slicks and think it will help differentiate this bike. I’ve shoved a set on my 26″ On-one inbred mongrel bike. I’ve found it’s the best all round solution if you like to explore road, bike path, and gravel at speed. It feels perfectly balanced between sealed and unsealed surface capabilities. On-one inbred steel frame 26″, with 650b fulcrum wheels running slicks. Long low stem, tape the inside of the flat bars and ride it aero. It’ll do 40 km/h on the road and 40 km/h on loose gavel with equal style.


  • Jimmy Vo

    As an owner of the Slate Ultegra (past 4 months with 3K miles on it), so to sum up this bike in one sentence would be: The Slate is good at everything but not BEST at one thing. This bike is not meant to ride fast. It’s an adventure bike that you take out to explore new road. It’s a one bike do all. Gravel grinder, cross country, soul searching adventure, commuter.

    With the right tires choice, the sky is unlimited for this bike. I’m currently running Surly Knards on this bike with a dropper post and it’s the best set up on and off road. This is one of the most fun bike I’ve ever been on. It’s a bike where you’ll never feel afraid of where the road will lead.

  • Al Storer

    Bit unfortunate that they issued a product recall on the wheels, due to issues when you run them tubless, just today

  • Ian Symonds

    Here’s a bike that’s been reviewed by Flow Mountain Bike and Cycling Tips. I’m not sure if that’s happened before. Interesting cross-over. Supports the notion that the bike is hard to categorise, but suits a multi-purpose role. For the right person.

  • Winky

    Remind we why I would buy this things instead of some narrower tyres for my 650b hard-tail MTB?

  • Zee Bollinger

    Frankenstein was never meant to leave the lab and neither should have this bike. Sorry. It just doesn’t make sense to me if it can’t hold it’s own in either realm for which it was designed. Maybe if they had a wider tire that was harder so it had low rolling resistance on the road while getting good claws in the dirt. They could add suspension components, either active or passive, to make up for the hard tires. Good luck on future designs and to the hand-full of people who buy it tho.

  • George Darroch

    It really seems like 25-28mm 700c is the sweet spot for tyres. Can anyone convince me otherwise?

  • Mike Spadafora

    I disagree with the review. The bike is zippy. The tires are not slow and as far as the extra weight goes I don’t think it is an issue. The bike is designed for fun and versatility. I would take it over any sub 14 pound, one dimensional race bike. I guess it depends what you are coming from. If you are a weight weenie and a wanna be pro racer this bike is not for you. If you love to ride everywhere and anywhere and like to go fast and have fun this bike is for you.


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October 25, 2016
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