Interbike 2015: Cannondale Slate

Cannondale bikes have been around a long time – originally born in 1971 in a crowded loft above a pickle factory! Cannondale were the creators of the cycling industry’s first bicycle trailer – the Bugger – no, we’re not kidding. If you’re familiar with my slang (JOM is an Aussie) or UK slang, you’ll realize the trailer’s name is a bit rude :mrgreen:

Moving on, Cannondale introduced its first bicycle, a touring machine, in 1983. From there, they went onto introduce oversized aluminum frames which were lighter and stiffer than the rigeur of steel framesets at the time. A certain bloke named Mario Cipollini also rode these oversized tubed bikes during his time as a professional road cyclist.

CannondaleSlate2015-1In 2015, Cannondale brings their Lefty front suspension design to the growing dirt and gravel road market with the Slate. Without doubt, the Slate has to be one of the most anticipated gravel bikes of 2015.

CannondaleSlate2015-3Like the folks at Open Cycle, Cannondale realized that the rollout (outer diameter) of a 650b tire (tyre) is the very close to that of a 700c tire. In short, a 700c x 22mm tire equates to about a 650b / 27.5″ x 42mm tire.

CannondaleSlate2015-4Unlike any other gravel bike out there – unless you count K-Dogg’s home built Eldorado contraption, the Cannondale Slate has front suspension courtesy of their Lefty Oliver fork.

With 30mm of travel, tuned towards the lower speed of compression damping with a Coil over Gas negative spring to minimize bobbing, the Oliver also features on-the-fly lockout and rebound adjustment. Additionally, the Slate’s seat and chain stays are shaped to provide compliance and good ride quality over questionable road surfaces.

CannondaleSlate2015-5Features of the Cannondale Slate Ultegra build include:

  • Cannondale 6069 alumin(i)um frameset, with internal routing for mechanical and electronic gear shifting.
  • Cannondale Lefty Oliver fork, 30mm travel, 45mm off-set.
  • Cannondale’s sweet HollowGram Si crankset with SpiderRing 52/36 rings and BB30 bottom bracket.
  • Shimano’s ultra-reliable Ultegra 6800 11-speed drivetrain with R685 Hydraulic disc brakes.
  • Panaracer branded tubeless ready 650b / 27.5″ x 42mm.
  • Cannondale parts complete the rest of the bike.

Available in four sizes, with top tubes measuring 51cm, 54.5cm, 57cm and 59cm, we expect the Slate to be a very hot seller.

CannondaleSlate2015-2The Cannondale Slate won’t be for everyone, but for those looking to take the edge off with front suspension, using a lighter-than-usual fork, this is your option. Expected MSRP is $US 3,520.00. We are hoping to obtain a Slate for review in the near future… watch this space!

CannondaleSlate2015-6Cannondale Bicycles


  1. Avatar Daniel

    Really looking forward to this bike. I’m interested in what you think of it when your review comes along.

  2. K-Dogg K-Dogg

    Let me test that thing JOM! I’ll compare it to my Eldorado Franken-bike.

  3. Avatar Derek

    When you say it won’t be for everybody, what do you mean. My choice for a new rig next season comes down to the U.P. (from Open Cycle) and the Slate. I am intrigued however by the former’s ability to morph from road machine to gravel grinder and anything in between with a simple switch of wheelsets. This is particularly useful in my household where N+1 does not fly. Thoughts?

    • JOM JOM

      Meaning, not everyone wants or needs suspension on their road / gravel bike.

    • Avatar Daniel

      I’m interested in the Open Cycles bike as well. It’s really cleverly designed, there just isn’t any place to buy it without driving out of state and all day to get it.

  4. I’ve had one on order from day 1. Mine was the first in line here in Canada. Just waiting (impatiently) for it to arrive… I’ve been told it should be “soon now”, whatever that means. Apparently it was in a shipping container last week. Whether that means in port, or at sea and being attacked by Somali pirates who are now riding my new Slate around Mogadishu with an AK-47 strapped to the Lefty, I don’t know. It looks like a super fun bike… I bought a CX race bike a few years ago (Alu Giant TCX) and found it horrid to ride on the road (pavement and dirt alike), so sold it and am trying again with this as a gravel racer and general fun machine. Will see. I’ve raced my road bikes on gravel and they’ve been okay (especially my Synapse), but max 28mm tires is limiting for the real rough stuff. Definitely not many tires available for it yet, but I do already have a set of Bruce Gordon Rock N Road tubeless tires ready to go, and will order the new Schwalbe as soon as they’re available too, so those, along with some Compass slicks (similar to what comes stock on the Slate) should keep my busy for a while.

    • JOM JOM

      Good luck Paul, hopefully the bike arrives soon. They are in very short supply at the moment.

    • Avatar Andy

      Just curious if the Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tubeless fit the slate?

      • JOM JOM

        Hopefully someone will chime in. Unfortunately, we have no time on a Slate 🙁

      • Yes, they fit on mine just fine. Not a ton of clearance in the rear, but I haven’t had any rubbing. I also haven’t used them much… they’re heavy and feel pretty slow on the road! If you’re doing serious off-road though, they should be awesome.

  5. Avatar Daniel

    The local store around my place is getting the CX1 and the Ultregra models in November but the 105 model (the model I’m interested in) wont arrive till March, which is strange. Anyone else hearing that?

    • Yes, I’ve heard that about the 105 delay as well. Probably because 105 hydro is a new groupset, and I don’t think it’ actually available yet (I certainly haven’t seen any reviews/reports).

      • Avatar Daniel

        oh ok. I didn’t know that. Makes sense now. I’ll just have to be patient.

  6. Avatar Dan R Reese

    I had a Cannondale XS 800 that had a 25 mm Headshok. I really liked that bike. I didn’t Iron Cross on it and it was great in the rocky single-track. A little bit of suspension is great for monster cross type riding.

  7. Avatar Jimmy

    I’ve already owned the EVO, and I’ve always wanted a gravel fun bike that I can take it on and off road. This bike fits the bill.

    I’ve just ordered the exact version (Ultegra size S) My shop told me they will receive it in mid December (14th to be exact) Can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Avatar Stefan Magnusson

    Realy nice nike. very intresting.

    I would only like a little more tyre clearence between the chainstays for a bigger tyre.

  9. Avatar Gmoney

    I have been told the 105’s will ship January 31st. Ordered the first day so not thrilled.

  10. Avatar Mandy

    went into my local bike shop and hiding there between the sea of mountain bikes was a slate ultegra….needless to say I snapped it up immediately.

    • JOM JOM

      Nice find Mandy! – apparently the Slates are very difficult to find at the moment.

    • Avatar Mike

      Nice job Mandy, what’s your thoughts on it so far?

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