Cannondale have never been afraid to innovate. The Slate is
different, that's easy to see, but it has also been a real success
over the past few years.
The most striking feature is of course the Lefty Oliver fork,
with just one leg. A closer look reveals 650B wheels - smaller
diameter than a traditional road bike, but when fitted with these
chunky 42c tyres they have a similar rolling diameter to a
traditional 700x23c wheel. So you have a bike that can handle rough
terrain whilst still travelling fast.
In fact, contrary to appearances, this has a lot more road bike
DNA than many of its gravel/adventure cousins. Geometry is very
similar to the Cannondale road range, just tweaked slightly for
extra ground clearance and a slightly shorter wheelbase.
The rear triangle uses Cannondale's specially shaped "SAVE Plus"
tube profiles to provide an extra bit of shock absorption, and
combined with those large-volume tyres this opens up a whole new
world of trails to explore.
So, it's unconventional, certainly, but also a pretty good
example of "road plus"... fast on the tarmac, fast off it too.
photos by Bence Bujaki