2015 Cannondale Slice Ultegra
Slice Through the Wind While Saving Your Legs
It’s an easy sell: a TT bike that handles like a road bike and is among the lightest on the market. The new Cannondale Slice balances windtunnel and real-world enhancements. The featherweight Ultralight BallisTec Carbon Frame is stiff, responsive and aggressively aero. Working with Guru fit-specialists, Cannondale has created a fit range that is ideal for the majority of riders. “The resulting design keeps the rider more centred on the bike while in a true aero position for the best possible stability, handling and control,” says Cannondale. This lower centre of gravity makes riding in windy conditions a breeze.
Specifically with long course athletes in mind, Cannondale developed Aero save (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) for the rear stays and fork, which increase compliance and better absorb imperfect road conditions. The benefit of this increase over longer rides, but I took the Slice through a stretch of chip seal to test out the company’s claims and even while in the aerobars I could stay low without having to shift my weight around to def lect the jarring road. The Naero Tech seat stays are super slim at just 8 mm wide and are solid rather than hollow. Although they aren’t uci legal, they’re definitely windcheating and compliant. AeroPlane chainstays and a new fork with an offset dropout also smooth out the road.
Curtis Detwiler, Cannondale’s Global Director of Engineering, explains: “First and foremost this is a bike designed for triathletes on the principle of trying to make them go faster overall, not just in the bike portion. It’s a paradigm shift in terms of thinking about bikes. The Slice is really about a balance. Our design philosophy was to find what is it that’s important and how to optimize all of those things. We improved aerodynamics measurably, but also added stiffness, reduced weight and added comfort features, allowing us to build a well-rounded bike.”
It’s not unusual to get some wet snow mid-fall in our climate, but it’s rarely enjoyable to ride in those conditions on at TT bike. Yet, I felt surprisingly steady when one of my test rides got snowed on – the handling remained f lawless. Tight turns on slippery descents were no problem. The new cable routing now enters the top tube behind the steerer aiding the improved front end geometry.
The new Slice features Cannondale’s tap (Truncated Aero Profile) shaping, most visible on the down tube, which aims to streamline the airfoil without adding weight, a trend that’s appearing on more and more TT bikes.
The seat tube, features what Cannondale calls a “windtunnel channel” (first seen on the Slice RS) to reduce the dirty air getting kicked up off the tire.
With two positions for mounting the saddle, the new Slice includes a range in angle options from 77 to 81 degrees, allowing riders to choose the best fit. Cannondale has lowered the BB and paired it with a shorter crank arm to help riders get an even lower position.
Among my favourite features is the beautiful shifting of Shimano’s Di2 Ultegra – it’s just about effortless. Even when shifting mid-climb on an icy, steep hill, I felt like I was driving rather cycling. There’s no kickback at all. Standing or seating, the Slice climbs with assertion. This is also where you’ll most notice the road bike feel of the Slice. It’s so light it you’ll blast up hills. Climbing, however, is where you will notice the absence of base bar shifters. Cannondale has left them off for an affordable option, but there is the option to upgrade.
The Shimano direct mount brakes on the front of the fork, and underneath the bottom bracket/chainstays at the back, allow for easy maintenance and offer confidence-inspiring stopping power. There is absolutely nothing jerky about this ride.
A conventional stem and base bar setup, rather than the integrated front-end of the Slice RS, makes for easier assembly and disassembly so the this TT bike travels well – a perk for the long course triathlete who likes to see the world. With this kind of speed, comfort and practicality, you’re going to want to beef up your race schedule.