Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11.00pm
By Andrew Dodd
Aaron Chase is the street riding, dirt jumping and freeriding star who's been tearing things up in the mountain bike world for the last few years. He's won pretty much all the events he's entered, and he's been working with Cannondale to build the ultimate bike for his riding style. We were massively impressed by the Chase 1 we rode last year, so when the new singlespeed version turned up at the MBUK office, it nearly caused a brawl - everyone wanted to ride it.
In typical Cannondale style, the frame is smart, simple and to the point. The Singlespeed is the cheapest bike in the Chase range but it still has the same quality frame as the higher end bikes. The 6061 aluminium chassis is immaculately welded and finished; even the graphics look super stylish. Just like the Chase we tested before, it has a low 11.7in bottom bracket height and a short, sprightly 16.7in rear end. The seat tube is a low 14.6in while the top tube is 21.2in on the medium size, so there's plenty of room to move and throw the bike around.
The Singlespeed has a slightly lower spec compared with the other models to keep the price down and suit those who haven't quite got their Aaron Chase moves sorted yet. It's a bit more robust, with no gears to damage, but for £599 you still get a nifty array of kit.
Parts include a Marzocchi Dirt Jam fork, an FSA bar and stem, an SDG I-Beam seat and post combo and Truvativ Ruktion cranks (with a bashguard) spinning on a Truvativ Howitzer bottom bracket. The wheels are Sun Black Eye rims laced to an Omega front hub and a Cannondale singlespeed unit out back. The tyres are the excellent Kenda K-Rad semi-slicks, while the pedals are Cannondale's own shin-ripping Grind Ex models. Aiding the stoppies and manuals are surprisingly powerful Avid cable disc brakes.
Some singlespeed bikes can be a bit of a chore to get going on, but the Chase's stiff and light frame is quick off the mark. Popping manuals and bunnyhops is easy work with the short back end, and the steep head angle keeps things whippy. Aaron Chase's contribution to the frame design is evident.
The Chase Singlespeed doesn't give the mellowest of rides though - it demands you pay attention and ride the arse off it. The bike loves to be sprinted flat-out, hopped into manuals and jumped off steps; it's a great little rig for the rebel in you. The silence from the lack of sloppy chain and rear mech also helps to make you feel smoother than you really are...
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