It looks sharp, but the Cannondale Slice Black Inc is designed to be as smooth and comfy as possible…
Cannondale Slice Black Inc
Cannondale has always known how to put together a proper premium package and the Slice Black Label doesn’t just look incredible but delivers a distinctively user friendly, super comfortable slant on solo speed riding.
FRAME AND FORKS
While many aero bike designs seem almost exclusively designed to minimise drag, Cannondale’s new Slice is also built to be as friendly handling and fatigue reducing as possible. The tapered forks use the same ‘rolled back’ vibration reducing dropouts as the Super Six race and Synapse sportive bikes. The chainstays taper very quickly and dramatically to a very thin profile and the D section seatstays are even more emaciated.
The rest of the bike mixes practicality with drag reduction too. The powerful Dura Ace brake is mounted on the front of the fork rather than hidden round the back and while the headtube is very narrow the stem and steerer are totally conventional. The down tube and seat tube are very skinny with a pronounced wheelhugger cut-out. Vertical dropouts are used to make wheel removal much easier and keep the Slice one of the lightest tri bike frames around at under a kilo.
Dura Ace Di2 gearing and shifting with additional rear mech buttons on the extensions work together with Cannondale’s own super stiff yet lightweight FS-1 aero cranks and Rotor’s solid TT chainrings. Vision supply the forward swept full carbon cockpit and deep section, fat bellied Metron 81 clincher wheels with similarly plump Schwalbe One tyres in a 25mm width rather than the usual 23mm. The Slice is also the first bike we’ve seen with Fizik’s new chopped nose Tritone version of the super popular Arione saddle.
It’s a good choice of saddle too as the geometry can be run properly super steep with the seat post reversed. The stable handling means that getting right forward with vertical upper arms and a flat back doesn’t feel nervy or unbalanced. The small cross section of the frame tubes means it doesn’t get pushed around by crosswinds as obviously as the other bikes on test either. It also makes it easier to stay in an efficient tuck in more challenging conditions offsetting less aggressive frame aerodynamics with better rider aerodynamics. The combination of very obvious engineered frame flex, balanced deep tuck position, calmly casual handling, fatter tyres and snub nosed saddle genuinely make 100psi of tyre pressure feel more like 80psi too. That leaves your shoulders and legs fresher for running and rougher roads that knocked the other bikes out of their stride barely cause a ripple in the pedalling rhythm of the Slice. The lowest complete bike weight on test keeps it impressively responsive as long as you’re spinning tempo not stomping out torque, too.
The downside to this outstandingly creamy ‘ride as far as you want’ comfort is noticeable flex between front and back of the bike. That makes it hard to keep the 80mm deep front wheel on line and it tended to use a lot of road in gusty conditions until we switched over to a 50mm front wheel.
The skinny rear stays also make it easy to scuff the wheel on the brakes when sprinting or grunting up a hill and high wheel weight amplifies the soft feel under power as well. Despite these drawbacks it was still an extremely popular bike with everyone on our test team and the one they’d choose for a long event in sketchy conditions or if they just wanted an easy ride.