2017 Cannondale Slate Ultegra
Redefine what a road ride looks like on Cannondale's Slate Ultegra. Cannondale's unrivaled SmartFormed aluminum is lightweight, sports puma-like responsiveness, and—thanks to SAVE Plus micro-suspension and slack angles—handles a host of surfaces with panache. A Lefty Oliver fork breaks all the road bike rules, adding 30mm of ride-anywhere suspension to your rig. Press the norm a little further with 650B Slate Disc wheels and fat, 42mm-wide Slate tireswhich give you the same rolling diameter of a traditional road wheel while providing all the plush, comfortable, and grippy benefits of a high volume tire. Throw the Shimano R685 levers to effortlessly engage the 11-speed Ultegra drivetrain, or apply the smooth, powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes to scrub some speed. You'll love the weight savings from Cannondale's own handlebars and stem, and a Fabric Scoop saddle provides compliance and support for the long haul. So, forget old ideas of what a bike should be—the Slate will wipe them all away.
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On a recent 100km ride that was mainly gravel - rail trail, bike path and back roads - the Slate had me grinning like a schoolgirl with a new Snap filter. I absolutely loved every minute on this bike. The Slate is very comfortable - not just the suspended front end but the rear end was smooth as well. The wide tires at lower air pressure helped, too. I could point this bike down any hill - paved or rough - and it literally took off! Doing 60kph down a concession road or 70+ down a paved hill, the Slate always felt stable. I could bomb through loose sand and gravel without a deflection. Acceleration was snappy - just ask the Mercedes SUV driver I passed on the gravel road :-) The Ultegra shifters are peerless - solid and accurate - well worth the upgrade over 105. Thankfully, the disc brakes worked very well, too. My only sore point was the saddle, it's not designed for rides this long.