SLICE HI MOD DURA ACE DI2
Can the good-looking Slice perform as well as it impresses with its appearance?
CANNONDALE TOOK a radical step with their latest aero chassis and if you want beautifully smooth, effortlessly lightweight performance with calm all-weather handling then the Slice is in a class of it’s own.
FRAME AND FORKS
Cannondale’s ultra light Hi-Mod chassis are among the lightest around and even with the heaviest wheels on test it’s the lightest bike here by a clean kilo. Narrow gauge wheel hugging seat-tube, vertical seatpost, ultra thin seatstays and carefully flattened chainstay profiles aren’t just about weight watching either. Minimising side profile means the Slice gets shoved around by gusty winds much less than a big slab sided bike. Comfort levels are also outstanding even on the roughest roads too. The Hi-Mod fork is also super light with a rolled wrist at the tips to increase front end comfort too. While the conventional brake placement and stem design might not be the most drag efficient, they make adjustment very easy. The twin position seatpost head also allows a 77 or 81 degree effective seat angle although the hidden bolt head on the clamp makes switching the cradle a real patience tester.
The fact it’s shop bought is a big advantage for less experienced riders but it comes at a cost, with the Slice rolling on £350 worth of Mavic Cosmic Elite alloy wheels and matching, relatively slow Yksion Comp tyres rather than deep section carbon wheels and race quality rubber. The spec is definitely dream bike level otherwise, with shift buttons for Shimano’s flagship Dura Ace Di2 electronic gearset on both the carbon base bars and extensions of the superlight FSA/ Vision cockpit. The cranks are Cannondale’s own ultralight HollowGram SiSL2 running on the oversized BB30 alloy axle standard they co-developed. Fizik’s Arione TriTone saddle is one of our favourite snub nosed seats.
THE RIDE While the saddle obviously helps, it’s the frame and fork of the Slice that make it such an outstandingly comfortable and smooth place to spend time. The minimal seatstays and centre flattened Aerosave rearstays, plus the small curved seatpost screen out serious wallops and irritating rattle and buzz that’s a constant back drop to most UK road riding. The rolled wrists of the fork also allow more rake than normal without affecting steering geometry, creating a
smoother front end under the already noticeably sprung cantilevered pads of the Vision bars.
There’s no stress from the handling either as less side surface and carefully shaped tubes give less for crosswinds to bully so it slips easily through turbulent conditions that can make for tense times on slab sided bikes. It has a relatively long chainstay and overall wheelbase too, which also underwrite stability to keep you relaxed right through to the run.
The top quality carbon and super stiff Cannondale chainset means there’s no shortage of punch when you need it. Add the super low weight and shifting buttons on the base bars, it attacks climbs and charges out of corners with remarkable responsiveness for an aero bike. Less weight means more energy left for a given climbing speed so you’ve got more left in the physical and mental reserves as you rack it up in T2 and head out on your run.
The downside is that it doesn’t have the same aerodynamic advantage as the most aggressively profiled state-ofthe-art bikes. Having ridden it with deep sections we’d also suggest staying low (30/40mm) on the front rim to retain it’s relaxed handling as it feels flexy if you’re fighting with a deeper front wheel in gusty conditions. The advantage of cheaper wheels means you’re free to choose whatever you want as an upgrade and considering the frame and component quality it’s still decent value.
“It attacks climbs and charges out of corners with remarkable responsiveness for an aero bike”
Shimano’s Dura Ace Di2 transmission is smooth, and double button set-up means you can shift when you’re in a tuck.
The super skinny rear end members suck fatiguing rattle and buzz out of the road, keeping your fresh and on tempo.
Cannondale’s Hollowgram SiSL2 arms on a 30mm alloy axle create some of the lightest yet stiffest cranks around.