Cannondale Slice Hi-Mod Force review£3,199.99

Champion's choice

BikeRadar score4/5

The Cannondale Slice is the bike of choice of triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington. Quietly spoken yet blisteringly fast, this more affordable SRAM Force equipped model is potentially a personal record-breaker for normal riders too.

Ride & handling: Super-fast, eerily smooth and easy to ride

While it certainly looks hyper-quick, the Cannondale reveals its performance subtly rather than slapping you in the face. The reason for this is the eerily smooth road feel for a full aero bike.

The combination of carbon layup, super-thin top tube and vibration damping SAVE stay shaping builds a carbon hammock to cosset your rides. While it’s perfectly balanced at all speeds, the Slice also feels fluid and soft through the steering as you trickle through traffic.

The only early pointers to its devastating open-road performance are the bursts of snap acceleration from its super-low weight, and the fact any road rumble comes through your cleats, not bars or bum. As soon as roundabouts give way to open miles, this missile hits the afterburners for real.

Comfortable and affably easy to ride it might be, but roll forward on to the aero bars and set your feet against the solid BB30 cranks and the way the Hi-Mod murders your normal time splits is inspirational.

It’s been wind-tunnel rated as one of the fastest fuselages available, and the contempt the ultra-skinny tubes hold headwinds and high-speed runs in means we never doubted its drag-killing credentials.

Slipping on deep-section wheels proved it’s capable of bike splits that rank with our best-ever results, despite freezing conditions we’d expect to tack minutes on. It’s the ability of the Slice to carry this performance through every aspect of the ride that really stands out though.

The smoothly compliant ride reduces long-distance fatigue and keeps cadence smooth. The rock-solid BB30 crank-to-rear-wheel section combined with low weight means no wattage is wasted.

While not as hatchet sharp as the Cervélo S2, its handling balance means it can be threaded smoothly down technical descents without any worries, and you’ll rarely come out of the tuck on the flat. It’s gagging for full aero wheels, but as an introduction to real superbike performance, it’s got few equals.

Cannondale slice hi-mod force: cannondale slice hi-mod force
Cannondale slice hi-mod force: cannondale slice hi-mod force

Chassis: Friendly feeling aero frameset

As the name suggests, the Slice is designed to take a cleaver to drag co-efficient, and do the same to your ride times in the process. The short head tube gives super-low tuck potential, and the teardrop down tube gets a fork-top cutout and front-end fin effect with the super-thin, tapering top tube.

The deep multi-aero section wheel-hugger Speed Shadow seat tube bottoms onto an oversized BB30 belly. Rectangular-to-triangular-to-round SAVE chainstays reach back to smooth carbon dropouts with a replaceable gear hanger, while tri-axial hourglass seatstays curve and taper slightly to keep airflow between the legs and wheel clean.

Cables run internally, while brakes and seat tube bottle are conventionally mounted. Cannondale include their own seatpost-mount bottle clip as well, and you can dismantle the seatpost and reconfigure it to use a second rearward clamp mount for a choice of 75- or 80-degree seat angles. Five frame sizes cater for all but the really small too.

Equipment: Clever choice of kit minimises performance compromise

The Force version of the Hi-Mod is half the price of the ‘Ultimate’ dream machine, but there’s nothing here to negate the overall performance of the bike. SRAM’s snappy shifting and positive-feeling mid-range groupset proves they really are becoming a Force to be reckoned with on the road.

You even get a deep dish time trial chainring on the impressively stiff BB30 oversized axle carbon cranks. The carbon paddles are conventional shifters, not the superb R2C fixed-position paddles though.

Cannondale add more carbon with a threadless headset top cap and steerer spacers, and the twin-position bladed seatpost is full-carbon too. The colour-matched Arione Tri saddle is one of our favourite long-haul seats too.

While the top-dollar aero frameset means some component compromises, Cannondale have done a good job of keeping their impact off the ride-feel radar. The Mavic Aksium wheels aren’t aero, but they’re not too heavy and the custom black and white Schwalbe Ultremo tyres are smooth-rolling lightweights. The alloy Profile base bars are skinny to stop your hands getting stung and the T2 Cobra carbon extensions are well-shaped too.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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