It’s a Cannondale Slate New Road (or gravel bike), sporting a Lefty fork, 650B wheels, a 12×142 bolt through rear end and large volume tyre clearance. Does that sound a bit like a mountain bike to you?
Gravel bikes, if you’re not aware, are the illegitimate offspring of road and cyclocross bikes. The past 18 months or so have seen them proliferate across manufacturer product ranges as a way of mining a new niche, that of gravel riding in the US. It happens that the US has a huge network of rural, unpaved roads with a wide variety of surface conditions. While you can ride a suitably up-tyred road bike on them, or a cyclocross bike, the industry has determined that a slightly more rugged road bike with relaxed geometry and a longer wheelbase is really the tool for the job.
Now along comes the Slate which to me is taking things a bit further. If you’re already riding gravel roads, suppose you want to venture – just a bit – into the wild. To do that, Cannondale appear to have served up a 90’s MTB (steep geometry for a MTB – 71.5° head angle, short travel – 30mm – front suspension) with some modern accoutrements (disc brakes, bolt through rear end and internal cabling). And then they added drop bars!
I have no idea how this will ride. It’s clearly not for winter riding with the slick tyres, nor is it for bike packing with a Lefty fork you can’t easily add panniers to. It could quite easily be a LOT of fun and could let you build a great multi surface route for commuting. Or just, you know, riding. It could be awesome on city streets.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. It’s a bike made possible by the recent road moves to embrace disc brakes with the only surprise being that it’s currently shown with a 2x groupset. With SRAM providing the gear and braking tech I would think a 1×11 set up could work?
At this stage, more questions than answers. Or is it simply, as a commenter on road.cc said, ‘a cross bike for dentists’!?
(Photo is from the Radavist website – more detailed pics and info there!)