At the Albstadt round of the UCI XC World Cup, Cannondale launched the F-Si, the successor to its F29 XC race bike.
BikeRadar took a look at the machine belonging to U23 rider and former New Zealand national champion, Anton Cooper.
Cannondale has a full range of F-Si bikes, and the bikes Anton and the rest of the team ride are virtually stock. Anton’s a small rider, just 167cm tall, so he rides a small frame. The component that separates Anton’s bike from the others is his Leonardi stem.
The small Italian manufacturer has machined a stem that's compatible with the Lefty fork. It offers a deep -28 degree drop in order to bring the bike’s front-end low enough for Anton's saddle and bars to be at the same height as each other. Its slightly odd shape is down to Leonardi’s stem needing to go out, before dropping down, on account of the shape of the Lefty’s top crown.
Anton's Leonardi stem might be heavier than Cannondale's stock one, but it comes low enough to get Anton's desired bar height on the size small frame
On previous bikes, Anton has had to reduce the height of the Lefty, leaving him with only 70mm travel, while still having bars higher than the saddle, which left the handling compromised by having a steeper head angle. The F-Si comes with a significantly shorter head tube than the F29, so Anton is able to use the Lefty's full 100mm of travel, and benefit from the frame’s impressive handling.
With the correct head angle, and the increased offset from the new Lefty, the F-Si is more stable at speed, better at cornering and easier to ride, while the extra short chainstays make the frame super responsive and aid rear wheel traction.
Although Cannondale doesn’t have a 650b race bike in its range, Anton claims that even if it did, he’d prefer a 29er. He's ridden 29ers since he went pro with Trek Pro Racing, and his experience with power meters suggests that he’s faster on the bigger wheels, so now his geometry is sorted for them, there’s no need to change.
The Lefty 2.0 Carbon XLR fork with hydraulic lock-out for the steep climbs that litter World Cup cross-country courses
Since sponsorship plays a big part in World Cup racing, it’s no surprise that there are a couple of items found on the team’s bikes that aren’t on the off-the-shelf versions. FSA’s sponsorship means that the team uses its carbon K-Force posts, instead of the Cannondale Save 2 post found on standard bikes.
The team is also using the SiSL2 crankset, borrowed from Cannondale’s high-end road bikes. It's one of the lightest cranks in production, with a one-piece spider and ring. Tire sponsor Schwalbe offers a range of rubber to suit different race conditions – Anton choose Racing Ralphs at Albstadt.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Cannondale F-Si (small)
- Fork: Cannondale Lefty XLR 2.0, 100mm
- Headset: Cannondale Headshock
- Stem: Leonardi Racing -27 degree custom
- Handlebar: FSA K-Force flat
- Grips: Prologo Feather
- Front brake: SRAM XX
- Rear brake: SRAM XX
- Brake levers: SRAM XX
- Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1
- Shift levers: SRAM XX1 trigger
- Cassette: SRAM XX1 10-42T
- Chain: SRAM XX1
- Crankset: Cannondale SiSL2
- Bottom bracket: Cannondale PF30
- Pedals: Shimano XTR Race
- Wheels: Enve Twenty9 rims, Cannondale Left SM front, DT Swiss 350 rear
- Front tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralph tubeless
- Rear tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralph tubeless
- Saddle: Prologo X Zero
- Seatpost: FSA K-Force