Lightweight bikes are nothing new at the top ranks of the sport but Jeremiah Bishop's (Cannondale Factory Team) Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er surprised even us, weighing in at an astounding 8.23kg (18.14lb). That's lighter than some Paris-Roubaix road machines we've profiled in the past and just the thing for the climbing-intensive course at this year's US cross-country national championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Bishop's feathery steed is built around Cannondale's ultralight Flash Carbon 29er hardtail, which boasts a claimed weight of around 1,050g thanks in part to its refined layup schedule and tube shapes, svelte alloy dropouts, bare carbon BB30 bottom bracket shell and minimalist direct-mount front derailleur tabs. Despite the gram saving, flattened sections on the chainstays, seatstays and even the carbon fiber seatpost – all part of Cannondale's SAVE concept – supposedly yield an unusually comfortable ride for a bike with no proper rear suspension.
Naturally, the build kit puts an emphasis on saving weight, too, with Cannondale's own fork and component divisions contributing key pieces to the lightweight puzzle such as Bishop's custom etched Lefty XLR carbon fiber fork, the slick OPI one-piece forged aluminum stem and steerer assembly, and Hollowgram SL 2x10 crankset.
The ultralight Cannondale Lefty fork uses a carbon fiber upper assembly and a forged aluminum lower leg
Other bits include a Stan's NoTubes ZTR 29er Race Gold wheelset, SRAM XX group (with lighter 160/140mm front/rear rotors and less adjustable World Cup brake lever option), tubeless-converted Schwalbe Furious Fred and Racing Ralph tires, CrankBrothers' latest Eggbeater 11 pedals, a Syntace Duraflite 31.8 Carbon flat bar and comfy ESI Racer's Edge silicone foam rubber grips.
Despite the lack of mass, Bishop has made few – if any – compromises in performance. The Lefty fork offers superb torsional and fore-aft rigidity plus a handy hydraulic remote lockout while only weighing about 1.3kg (2.9lb), the crank is fitted with an SRM power meter and Bishop uses Fi'zi:k's k:ium-railed Arione CX saddle instead of the lighter carbon-railed version. That impressive 8.23kg actual weight even includes the SRM Power Control 7 computer head.
Roadies have been racing and training with power meters for years but we're now seeing the trend carry over into the mountain bike realm
Bishop normally rides his Flash 29er with bar ends but decided to go without for the Sun Valley course. Team mechanic Troy Laffey glues Bishop's grips on for extra security, however, and given the option of cutting them off and installing new ones or just leaving the setup as is; Bishop opted for the latter. According to Laffey, Bishop ran 28/30psi front/rear tire pressure for the national championships plus 115psi in his Lefty fork – bumped up to 125psi for the next day's short track event.
Sadly for him, the talented east coast rider wasn't able to put his impressive machine on to the top step of the podium in either event, finishing fourth in the cross-country and fifth in the short track.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Cannondale Flash 29er, size L
- Fork: Cannondale Lefty 29er Carbon XLR, 90mm (125psi for STXC, 115psi for XC)
- Headset: Cannondale Headshok
- Stem: Cannondale OPI, 11cm x -5°
- Handlebar: Syntace Duraflite 31.8 Carbon, 630mm
- Grips: ESI Racer's Edge
- Front brake: Avid XX, 160mm rotor
- Rear brake: Avid XX, 140mm rotor
- Brake levers: Avid XX World Cup
- Front derailleur: SRAM XX
- Rear derailleur: SRAM XX
- Shift levers: SRAM XX
- Cassette: SRAM PG-1090, 11-36T
- Chain: SRAM PC-1091R
- Crankset: SRM MTB PowerMeter Cannondale 2x10, 175mm, 39/26T
- Bottom bracket: Cannondale BB30
- Pedals: CrankBrothers Eggbeater 11
- Wheelset: Stan's NoTubes ZTR 29er Race Gold
- Front tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralph, 28psi
- Rear tire: Schwalbe Furious Fred, 30psi
- Saddle: Fi'zi:k Arione CX k:ium
- Seatpost: Cannondale Flash Carbon
- Bottle cages: Cannondale Immex (1)
- Computer: SRM Power Control 7
- Rider's height: 1.80m (5ft 11in)
- Rider's weight: 68.5kg (151lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 794mm
- Saddle setback: 53mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 480mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 420mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 602mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 63mm
- Head tube length: 134mm
- Top tube length: 622mm (horizontal)
- Total bicycle weight: 8.23kg (18.14lb)