Cannondale Slate

NICK EE | 26th August 2016 | BIKE REVIEW

If you are a serious road cyclist, then you should know very well that there are certain conditions and terrain that you should never take your road bike onto, such as loose gravel paths, sandy trails and very bumpy surfaces, although your precious road frame and streamlined tyres might be able to take the punishment of riding on such a difficult terrain, I’m very sure none of us would want to end up with a big repair bill because of some bicycle part failure, or worse still a complete replacement due to an unfortunate crash or fall.  Although most road bikes are designed and built to be tough, they are still not as strong structurally as an off road bike, and so if you really need to go off road, you would probably consider a proper off road bike.

However, if you really really have to take your road bike off the beaten track, then you should take a look at Cannondale’s new Slate!  There is a reason why Cannondale classified this as a new type of ‘Road Bike’ in a category called ‘Any Road’, because this bike can really take on ‘Any’ type of road thrown at it, even a singletrack will make this bike feel more at home than a smooth tarmac surface.  The Slate’s latest SmartFormed 6069 alloy tubed frame features Cannondale’s proprietary SAVE PLUS technology, this is an improved version of their infamous frame’s rear shock absorption system that offers even more vertical compliance than previously offered, just perfect for riding fast over bumpy surfaces.  At the front, Oliver will handle any bumps that meet the front wheel, as Oliver is the brand new lefty fork that was specially designed and built for the Slate, the carbon fibre fork features 30mm of travel as well as PBR, which controls the shock’s rebound rate with a simple push of a button at the top of the shock, the Oliver is more than capable to dampen shocks from any stump or bumps that you may encounter while riding.  The Slate Disc 650b welded wheels are fitted with tubeless 650x42c tyres made by Panaracer, resulting in the same rolling distance as a 700x23C wheel and tyre combination.

The demo Slate that I had the honour of enjoying with for two whole weeks was their entry level version and was fitted mostly with Shimano 105 componentry, the crank was Cannondale’s lightweight Si crank with 52/36 sized chainrings, and matched at the rear with an 11 speed 11-28 cassette, the gearing ratio was sufficient for almost any terrain and incline that I dared to venture with this bike.  Braking was smooth and reassuring with the Shimano R505 hydraulic shifters connected to hydraulic disc calipers biting onto a 160mm rotor in the front and a 140mm rotor at the rear.  It was also my first ever ride with the superbly crafted Fabric Scoop Radius Sport saddle, it was firm but at the same time it provided very plush cushioning, comfortable enough to spend an entire day on.