UK importers Cycling Sports Group invited us down to their Poole headquarters yesterday for a preview of Cannondale's 2012 mountain and road bike line-up. Highlights include the long-awaited Claymore and Jekyll full-suspension bikes, plus updates to the Flash 29er hardtail, Synapse sportive machine and CAAD8 road bike.
Let’s start with the Claymore. Cannondale first showed off this long-travel all-mountain rig more than a year ago, but various complications have meant it's been slow reaching UK shops. The delays are set to end though, and anyone who has the 2012 model on their Christmas wishlist shouldn’t be disappointed. Key to its design is the proprietary dual-mode Fox Dyad RT2 dual shock, which allows an instant switch from a bike that eats up the downhills into one better suited to cross-country riding and climbing.
A handlebar lever allows you to change from the 'flow' setting – a 180mm-travel, high-volume shock for descents – to the 'elevate' mode – a 110mm-travel, lower volume shock, for pretty much everything else. Cannondale claim it’s “like being able to change from trail to downhill at the flip of a switch”. The model pictured – the jet black aluminium Claymore 1 – costs £4,799.99. For that you get a Fox TALAS fork, Shimano XT front derailleur and shifters, and Avid Elixir 9 brakes. The £3,999.99 Claymore 2 takes a different route, with SRAM X9/X7 and a Fox Van coil fork.
'Attitude Adjust', which features on both the Claymore and Jekyll, allows you to adjust the bike's geometry and shock for different types of terrain
The Jekyll is in a similar situation to the Claymore, having been unveiled a year ago but taking a long time to reach UK dealers. The 2012 model is due to arrive in shops in December. As with the Claymore, the Jekyll offers switchable travel (150m/90mm) and geometry, via a Fox Dyad shock. Two carbon fibre models are available – the Jekyll Carbon 1 (£4,999.99) and 2 (£3,899.99). The alloy Jekyll 4 (£2,699.99) shown here comes with Avid Elixir brakes, SRAM X7 derailleurs and X5 shifters. Look out for a review of the 2011 Jekyll 3 on BikeRadar later this week.
The alloy Jekyll 4
Cannondale have boosted their 29er range for 2012, and it was the carbon and alloy Flash big-wheelers that caught our eye. The Flash Carbon 29er 3 (£2,499.99) claims to have one of the world’s lightest mountain bike frames at 950g (large). BallisTec carbon construction is said to result in a frame that’s lighter and stiffer than aluminium and pound-for-pound stronger than steel. The Carbon 3 comes fitted with SRAM X7/X9, a Lefty 29er PBR fork and SUNRinglé EQ25 rims. The alloy Flash 29er 2 (£1,799.99) is, geometrically speaking, a clone of the carbon model, but heavier at 1,450g (large) and comes with a similar spec.
Flash Carbon 29er 3
The sportive-friendly Synapse gets an overhaul for 2012, with new SAVE Plus Comfort System features designed to add extra comfort. The seatstays have been redesigned so they absorb more road buzz, while the new SAVE Plus carbon fork has offset dropouts for more give. Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the new two-piece interchangeable seatpost.
The removable seatpost head means you can swap between the two interchangeable posts without having to readjust your saddle
The bike comes with a choice of two shafts so you can switch between 'firm-flex' and 'soft-flex' to match the terrain or your preference. The head of the post is detachable, so there’s no fiddling about with your seating position when you make the swap. Pictured below is the Synapse Carbon 105 (£1,999.99), which sports a full Shimano 105 groupset, BB30 bottom bracket and Shimano RS10 wheelset. The range tops out with the Hi-Mod Dura Ace (£4,899.99), with full Dura-Ace group and DT Swiss RR 450 wheels.
Synapse Carbon 105
The entry-level CAAD8 road bike also gets a redesign, with SAVE technology for a more forgiving ride. It shares much of its geometry with the more race-focussed CAAD10, but has a slightly taller head tube for a more relaxed riding position that should appeal to novice riders, along with asymmetric chainstays (beefier on the drive side). Pictured below is the 10-speed CAAD8 6 Tiagra (£999.99).
CAAD8 6 Tiagra
Also on display was a limited-edition 'Liquigas green' version of the SRAM Red groupset for use on Cannondale's new sub-700g SuperSix Evo, which we thought was a small, but neat touch. We've already covered the SuperSix Evo on BikeRadar, but we did manage to find out the models and prices for the UK: Ultimate (SRAM Red, £8,799.99), Dura-Ace Di2 (£7,599.99), Liquigas Team edition (£6,999.99), Dura-Ace (£5,299.99) and SRAM Red (£3,999.99).