prototype 2016 Cannondale New Road gravel road bike with Lefty suspension fork

Cannondale has just published a teaser video showing a Lefty suspension fork equipped gravel road bike, which looks to be the direction they’re taking for the single-sided suspended cyclocross bikes that’ve been spotted at the races recently.

Details are non-existent, but a few well timed screen grabs help get the story started. As does the blurb accompanying the video:

For those whose love for the road extends beyond just the road. For those whose thirst for fun and adventure cannot be quenched by mere road bikes or those dreary grinders of gravel. For all those who don’t necessarily want to road-ride, but who just want to ride the roads, and the verges, the trails, and whatever strikes their fancy, we proudly offer a road bike unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Check the video and more pics below…

prototype 2016 Cannondale New Road gravel road bike with Lefty suspension fork

These prototypes, as ridden by Tim Johnson and company, have an alloy frame with cables running through the downtube. They’re both setup with mechanical disc brakes, but our hunch is a hydraulic brake equipped version won’t take long to follow when these hit the market this fall.

Not surprisingly, the seat- and chainstays appear to have Cannondale’s flattened SAVE micro suspension to mute road chatter, and a thin carbon seatpost is likely also contributing to rider comfort.

prototype 2016 Cannondale New Road gravel road bike with Lefty suspension fork

The video moves briskly, making closeup detail shots tough, but we didn’t spot any rear rack/pannier/fender mounts. And obviously those would be pretty tough to incorporate into a one-sided fork, suggesting this will at least initially be a more performance oriented offering.

Cannondale will be showing part of their 2016 range next month in Austria and we’ll be there to cover it. More as we get it.

Cannondale.com

80 COMMENTS

  1. Of course! in fact…I think lefty’s should be on road bikes as well. 3 years ago wen I got my lefty fork and after noticing how stiff they are, great locking feel, light, I didn’t understood why we were not taking advantage of this extra comfort on the road. I wanted to build myself a road bike with a lefty long time ago but..well…other financial priorities and never did.

  2. 1. I am not replacing all of my wheels with lefty front hubs.
    2. Is this a competition to see how ugly of a road bike can be manufactured?

  3. T. While you dramatize about the bike look..the guys on the video are having a lot of fun and stress free on pot wholes.

  4. What’s the weight of a Lefty?
    Why would I want a suspension fork on a road / gravel bike? If I want a suspension fork I might just as well go for a mountain bike?
    Also, with a normal fork on my cross / gravel bike I’m free to use any of my existing road wheels.
    Perhaps the segment in mind are Cannondale mountain bikers with 29″ wheels that wants to try a drop bar? It would make more sense if Cannondale put a headshock fork on their road / gravel bike?

  5. This looks so nice! I am still riding my old Cannondale Ultra cyclocross bike with the micro headshok. I was wondering if they were going to ever make an updated bike along those lines. I wonder if they will make a carbon bike, or just aluminum.

  6. I think that for a true gravel/CX bike – with disc brakes, huge tire clearance, long/relaxed geometry – this makes sense.
    But not at all for a road bike. It is heavy, not aero, and doesn’t really make sense on the road. You’ll get pedal bob, major problems finding wheels with Lefy hubs, and gawd help you when the Lefty breaks down every few hundred miles.

  7. I’m sure this will a fabulous ride. But for gravel, let alone road, it’d be lighter, simpler and cheaper to use a 21st century version of Softride’s suspension stem. (Don’t knock ’em unless you’ve tried ’em.) And then there’s no need for a special wheel, incompatible with all available loaner wheels.

  8. boom, 3 years using it on my MTB and never had issues. Frippolini, A Carbon lefty with carbon steeter pbr lockout and probably short travel for a road/gravel version can weight under 1300g. Its a stiff fork for laterals…. I swear for it.

    I think for a road racing its not applicable but for weekend/club rides, definitely applicable….and smart and safer.

  9. Now they need to add a electric compressor to the bike so I can dial the shock to my liking for the type of riding I am doing… Lets say I am hammering down the road (think stiff) and then I hit a gravel road…. I don’t want my hands to vibrate so I want to push a button to soften the shock to my precious hands. Then lets say I want to go KOM hunting… I want it stiff again… then at the end of the ride I will probably want a coffee,,,, so they need to add a caffe latte machine to the bike too

  10. @me: if you’ve never had a problem with your Lefty – congratulations, you’re one of the only ones. Seriously. I stopped working at a Cannondale shop because I got tired of working on them.

  11. I now ride a ridley cross bike in the woods where I used to ride a full sus xc bike. Just got sick of climbing with all the weight, the wide bars, water backpack, all of that crap. Also no interest in the “challenge” of getting over rock gardens, just seems so 1994 and pointless when it’s built into a trail. Something like this cannondale would have me flying on natural singletrack!

    And on roads and gravel roads, I ride a regular road bike! Maybe with 25mm tires. What the hell do you need suspension for unless it’s bumpy, rooty, etc?

  12. Just gotta buy the frameset, easy to swap my scalpel wheels and cranks over. Great job C’dale
    Lets see a black inc. hi-mod asap in the lineup rather than waiting a year!!!!

  13. Oh yeah, and after watching the vid, I’d want an electronic lockout so when I get up to sprint and I’m on the hoods I can hit the button and go with out bouncing around or taking my hands off the bars.

  14. Put drops and disc 700s on my 2004 M900 Lefty last year – a bit of a monster, but it works for cross, with just enough clearance for 700 – 35s. People thought I was mad, but I love it!

  15. I appreciate the company’s willingness to explore new directions. (And Tim is cool.) But I can’t see adding the weight for cx racing. And btw – for the love of ZEUS make yer friggn cx bikes available BEFORE cx season begins! …I have a room full of c’dales…but I’m nearly ready to go stigmata…

  16. I hate what Dorel did to this company, they really used to be a respectable band. What next a full suspension “road” bike.

  17. Haters are gonna hate, for sure. Can’t wait to see the comments on Pinkbike when the announcement comes out there.

    I would buy this bike. I don’t race anymore (mostly because there are much more important things to do on the weekends). But I still ride a lot (and far. and fast). And we have some good road routes here, but not many. We do have a hell of a lot of awesome loops that could be made if you mix some road sections with some gravel, forest/atv roads, and single track. I have a CX bike and have tried some of these loops but just a bit too rough on the body for longer rides. I’ve been waiting for a bike like this.

  18. So….
    Lefty – ugly, but only poseurs care about ugly
    Fargo 100mm – FRED!!!

    Hey, I like it, could care less about it’s looks really but I really don’t see the need on a road bike and like someone said, a modern remake of a “soft” stem like Softride may be better.
    Now for CX or a single bike for a rider that rides XC type mtb trails as well as road, sounds awesome.

  19. I’ve had a few Leftys over the years and never had anymore trouble with them then I had with any other fork.
    Back to the story, I think this is cool, while maybe not for everyone, but still cool.

  20. I believe Lauf would be a better choice for this application if they would do a variant of their trail fork with a shorter axle-to-crown and possibly narrower tire clearance. A 26er version alone would probably do but they only do 27.5.

  21. This bike is perfect (well when once it is in carbon) for me as I live in northern california, Marin and sonoma county is where I ride and this bike will be the one bike that can take me anywhere. I want the freedom to go anywhere, down back county roads that haven’t been maintained for years to fire roads up and over mountains and single track etc. If you don’t understand it then maybe its not for you. But for me it is perfect I cant wait to take it on the grasshopper adventure series.

  22. Some of these comments are pretty funny.

    I like suspension on pavement because I have nerve damage in my right shoulder and right hand. Delays the onset of some ride-killing pain.

  23. @ Donald: why don’t you just use a mountain bike, or put a drop bar on your mountain bike?

    @ me: thanks for the reply. I still don’t understand why anyone would want to add a kg (slightly less) to a cx / gravel bike; or perhaps there’s some obsession with suspension I’m not tuned to?

  24. “Frontal area of the bike just doubled.” It hasn’t, but so what if it did?

    “why don’t you just use a mountain bike, or put a drop bar on your mountain bike?”

    Because there are significant differences in fit and function between mountain bikes and road bikes. Stack and reach are very different making “putting on a drop bar” impractical and tire clearance, gearing, wheelbase, Q factor etc are significantly different. A mountain bike with smaller tires will generally not have the desired BB drop. In short, if you want a bike to ride like a road bike it needs to be designed like one.

  25. Fripp: its not the same. Its the versatility this bike would offer me that matters the most to me. I have mountain, cross and road bikes. this bike would roll all of them in to one package.
    Bill : I do hope the production has rear thru axle as well but I have a feeling its not gonna.

  26. Well, bigger choice for those who need it. I personally prefer to save my €s for gravel feasts or a good beer, just came back from a week backpacking around Tuscany. A laid-back hardtail 29″ (or whathever” for that matter) with the right tyres and air pressure works just marvels on road, gravel and even singletracks. I guess I’m not much of a buppie* after all,

    * (bike yuppie)

  27. Its looks super racy and super fun to ride on pavement, I want to get my leathers on and hit a corner super moto style. The tires look huge, at least 40’s so I could easily swap some bigger meats in there for the really rough stuff. I want a bike that can be aggressive on the roads, feel confident in the singletrack/gravel and just be stupid fun anywhere. I wish it was carbon but looks crazy fun.

  28. I love the comments about it not being aero. Sorry but if you think aero makes that big a difference you’re either a professional (in which case you’re not posting here) (deleted). Vast majority of riders don’t ride fast enough for aero doodads to make that big of a difference. They don’t even make that big a difference at the pro level (want to argue this? Go look at the average speeds of the Tour de France for the past 30 years – they’ve barely gone up despite aero this, lighter that, stiffer, blah, blah, blah)

    This bike probably isn’t my cup of tea but I admire Cannondale for trying new things.

  29. Who cares about areo? this is not a bike you would be riding if you are worried about areo and I agree with the previous poster, most peope aren’t fast enough to even start to worry about that. If you were, you’d be racing for money. I love companies that think outside the box. Trek’s Iso seat post is cool and even BMC soft tail. Companies are realzing that people want to ride a little of everything and have fun. I can’t wait to see when this comes out! The only question I have is do I use a really light weight XC 29er and put narrowier tires or go with a bike like this with chunkier tires. Some where along the spectrum they meet up. Very cool stuff!

  30. We don’t know how much travel it has and we don’t know what kind of valving it has. We also don’t know how much the fork weighs. I cant tell what angle it is,but with the recent weights of their EVO and Flash and “balis-tec”carbon I would guess this will end up as light as a competitive CX disc bike.
    I cant wait to ride a bike like this on some dirt roads.
    Always kinda wish Specialized made a carbon road-suspension fork and used their BRAIN inertia valve. That thing would eat washboard no pedal bob! cobble gobble nonsense looks like a DaVinchi drawing gone bad.

  31. Are we still using TdF average speeds to make statements about bike advances? Do we still not understand that except for TTs, stage aren’t run at the fastest speed possible?

  32. For those of us who race gravel, road, cross and xc, this is going to be a great bike when it arrives. I hope its available before DK200 next year. No it won’t be my go to cross racer, road racer, light xc racer; but for training, esp a winter road, a light xc rig also for JRA and those long gravel races the extra cush is going to be welcomed.

  33. common, these bikes above are not heavy…just by looking at it…its 17lbs for sure…don’t tell that’s heavy as a everyday ride.

  34. cannondale was doing this same bike in like 1996… its coming back around… this looks like a killer bike if you want to ride it all in the same ride… i like it- modern version of 1996 bike to go with his modern version of 1996 CCB jersey…

  35. I think this looks sweet. Not for everyone for sure, but now it could easily replace my cross bike now that I don’t race it anymore. I have a lot of mellower single track near me that is linked up by roads that this would be fun on. Sure an xc hardtail could do alright with it, but drop bars are more aero on the road sections and there is something fun about ripping single track with drop bars. However, you do get beat up fast with a rigid fork and 33c cross bike setup. Also, the Lefty rocks. I’m 200lbs and the Lefty is the only xc race fork stiff enough to make me feel comfortable riding it, and I’ve not had one issue in 3 years. I also worked in a C-dale shop ages ago, and headshocks/ leftys weren’t any less reliable than everyone else. My manitou/ rock shocks/ foxes all had more problems than my lefty. I can’t count how many blown fox seals I’ve dealt with.

  36. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t made put that lefty to a FS or soft tail. In my opinion this is an half assed solution. With such a bike I’d like it full rigid and light OR a bit heavier but fully suspended. This looks a bit half assed, the lefty won’t give you an added traction.

  37. finally a bike for my wintertraining!
    full gaz point to point racer.
    pavement, gravel, dirt, everything goes…
    Game on!

  38. Peter Sagan is now riding S-Works 😉
    And Cannondale team do not win any single freakin cycling competition nowadays.

    I’m all set for S-Works for my next bike!

    Leafy = ugly bike

  39. I’d think Rockshox could produce something using their RS1 platform….that I would go for. Lefty good but I freak out when I ride one.

  40. Dumb question, how would this be different from running a very lightweight 29er MTB with drops and CX tires? I really like the concept and want to build something like this. I agreewith Joe P that something the Rock Shox RS-1 would be great!

  41. @Mike, Rep confirmed they are 27.5, does not seem like a great choice for the application. There is a reason you do not see 650b road bikes any longer.

  42. I believe that using a 700c wheel with a 35mm tire or so, roughly equals the height of a 27.5″ tire/ wheel. I should know this since most of my mtb’s are 27.5 and my cross bike has 35mm tires

  43. 650b is quite popular on road bikes if you have noticed. Heck even Surly and Soma are offering road 650b frames and complete bike along with quite a few other brands. 650b tires are not normally stocked in most shops but Compass Cycles (made by Panaracer) offers a nice selection of 650b tires. You just need to step away from your little circle and see 650b has been around for over half a century.

  44. Love the idea and I’m down for one. Looks like a Reverb lockout lever. Good idea but better yet get the right handed version and mount it upside down under bar on the left to keep it stealth. Also It looks like these are mounted to a superX. Will “gravel” geometry change to a longer wheelbase? Lower BB?

  45. Correction: Canadian bike shop Dukes Cycle posted this last week frm RoadBikeAction.com
    • Other new cool thing: New Cannondale SLSi 1X spiderless road crank.

  46. Can’t wait to try this bike! For me, in Northern California, it will open entirely new back-country epic ride options. My road rides start on fairly descent pavement, and when I get into the mountains, that changes to poorly maintained pavement, and then gravel in most places. The game changer here, of course, is the front suspension, albeit relatively minimal. That will allow me to comfortably extend my rides onto huge networks of back-country gravel roads, away from cars, and into very remote, beautiful country. Sure, I could use my mountain bike, but the knobby tires would be a drag, and the full travel suspension would be complete overkill. Not too mention hauling that extra weight up those steep mountain roads. Thank you Cannondale!

  47. Interesting, wonder if it will go the way of the Rockshox Paris-Roubaix SL fork from like 20 sum years ago. Cool, but just not on my ride.

  48. Looks fine to me, I’d have one. If you combined this with a pinarello dogma Roubaix suspension bike you might have the ultimate allrounder.

  49. Great to see other companies incorporating suspension systems within road bike designs. Interested in equipping your bike with a suspension setup? We were! Thats why we designed the Sta-Fast suspension stem. Check it out here: http://www.sta-fast.com and let us know what you think!

  50. I’m as big of a curmudgeon as anybody, but I also do a lot of gravel races, and I love this idea… I’m already dreaming of backyard engineering a Lefty gravel grafted onto a Trek Boone frame with the seat tube decoupler!

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