With the start of World Cup Downhill season just around the corner, are we set to see a new DH bike from Cannondale soon? Based on their latest video, ‘This is a Test: CFR Downhill’, it would appear a genuine possibility.

Cannondale teases prototype downhill bike with two rear shocks Cannondale teases prototype downhill bike with two rear shocks

Most notably, the bike has the ability to run two different shocks – or perhaps more appropriately, a separate spring and damper. It’s not really clear what the exact set up is, but Cannondale’s Frame Design Engineer Josh Hursh says during the video that with a separated damper/spring combo “We don’t have to tune the damper to handle crazy leverage curves, and really aggressive leverage progression. We can tune the damper to be linear, and we can toy with the spring independently without having to mess with your damper.”

There’s apparently one shock position below and an adjustable position above which seems to open up loads of options in terms of tuning the ride characteristics. There’s no telling if any of this will actually make it to production, and if it does, what the final set up will be, but it’s a pretty interesting development out of Cannondale to say the least. Maybe Bender and Karpiel were on to something? Watch the clip above to decide for yourself.


  1. If a shock absorber is a spring-damper combination, this isn’t really two shocks is it… Just a separated single shock

  2. Cool to see Cannondale still being Cannondale. It makes total sense to me that the right leverage curves for the spring might not be the same as for the damper.

    Don’t UCI rules require races to be run on publicly available bikes? It seems like that would imply that in some capacity someone would be able to buy whatever they end up with. Assuming they hired pro DH racers to race.

    • That is the general rule but there is some exceptions for “prototype” bikes. I believe the rule has some type of clause with a grace period for these bikes so that a company can try it in competition but has to change it or put it into production within a year.

      The GBR track cycling team had this issue with their track bikes. There was a website where you could purchase one but wait times were unknown and the total price was ridiculous. You had to purchase all proprietary frames, forks, cranks, and stems.

    • “Don’t UCI rules require races to be run on publicly available bikes?” Like a homologation rule in motorsports? Gosh I hope not, given the rider is about 90% of the equation (IMO). I like to see the innovation….

    • There isn’t a rule against non-production bikes in downhill (see Honda’s RN-01) and even production based bikes don’t have to use production frames (Sam Hill’s Iron Horse Sunday from the same period, which used the stock Sunday’s head tube, lower shock mount and that was about it). In MTB it’s been sort of self governing, suspension bikes are expensive enough that few brands spend the money on something that will never see production.
      The rules for road, track and TT bikes are many, but the UCI rules for MTB this year fit on half a side of A4 paper. They can be summed up as no wheels larger than 700c, different sized wheels are allowed in MTB and MTB only, no motors, no drop bars or bolt on extensions other than bar ends, no metal spiked tyres, no GoPros, radios, remote controls or other non-integrated electronics allowed for safety reasons, Di2 batteries and powermeter/cycle computer head units are allowed.

  3. Is no one going to mention the prototype Gemini from 2001-ish that Anne-Caroline and Cedric raced? This isn’t the first time Cannondale has played this game. A coil shock handled 6″ of travel, while an air shock let the wheel move rearward by 2″ to absorb square-edge impacts. It was completely out of the box and brilliant too, if you removed drivetrain and braking forces from the equation.

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