Fri, Mar 21, 2008
As a follow-up to yesterday’s look at the new Cannondale Rize comes a look at the big brother living in the lodge: the Moto. The Moto steps into the ring with a burly 160mm of travel and a relatively slack 67.5° head tube angle, which in our eyes push it towards the more aggressive end of the all-mountain spectrum and into competition with bikes like the Scott Ransom and the Santa Cruz Nomad. That’s some pretty heavy-hitting competition, so in order for Cannondale to compete, the Moto had better be a real standout.
At the core of the Moto is a new carbon fiber frame with the aforementioned 160mm of travel. Unlike the Rize, the Moto doesn’t have the benefit of a seatstay pivot, and so the Moto sticks to Cannondale’s roots of stiff and simple single-pivot bikes. However, the Moto is a single pivot bike with an interesting twist: the shock is actuated by what Cannondale marketing types call Hatchet Drive, which floats the shock on a set of pivots instead of anchoring one end to the top tube, as is conventionally done on single pivot bikes. Cannondale claims that by doing this they are able to reduce stiction and transfer the shock loads to the strongest parts of the frame, but honestly stiction seems to be a problem which has all been all but eliminated in today’s suspension. There’s no doubt, however, that this design lets the Moto carry the weight of the shock lower in the frame, which should help the bike ride more nimbly.
The other trick that the Moto has up its sleeve is the Diablo headtube, which has a suitably devilish 66.6mm outside diameter. The massive headtube should give a nice boost in steering precision to the long travel, single crown forks which grace the Moto’s front end.
Unlike its Rize stablemate, the Moto is only available with the full-carbon frame, which keeps the weight of the bike, and also the weight of your wallet, down. The top-rung Moto 1 has a claimed weight of 30.4 lbs, which is pretty competitive for the class (Cannondale claims it’s the lightest 160mm all-mountain bike out there, but the Scott Ransom LTD checks in at a hair under 30 lbs). All-told, the Moto looks like it has strong potential to be a solid all-mountain contender.