The new Cannondale 2017 women's bike range is out, and it's bigger than ever. With two new mountain bikes, a brand new women's version of the award-winning Slate, and new leisure bikes in the line-up, this has to be one of the most complete women's bike ranges out there.
It's the biggest women's range Cannondale has ever offered, with nine bikes and a whopping 26 models overall across road, mountain, urban and leisure. Notable in the range for 2017 are the new women's specific Slate Women's Apex (an adventure road bike), and the women's Habit and FS-I mountain bikes, which cover trail and cross-country riding respectively.
Cannondale Slate Women's Apex
The Slate is a bike that's designed to be a go-anywhere road bike, and by that Cannondale means that it' can handle gravel roads, off-road, trails, and more. It features the unusual Solo Rigid fork, a rigid version of the ever eye-catching Lefty fork that Cannondale is so well known for.
The alloy frame and fork are matched up to SRAM PG and Apex gears, and SRAM Apex hydraulic disc brakes. The Lefty 50 Road front hub and Formula thru-axle rear hub are fitted with DT Swiss spokes and Slate Disc 650b rims.
Large volume 650x42c tyres provide increased traction, due to the larger contact patch they have with the ground, and cushion against impact on uneven terrain.
Available in small and medium, the women's Slate covers sizes that sit below the range that the unisex/men's version go to, which opens the range up to smaller riders. As with other women's specific bikes in the Cannondale stable, it features a women's specific Fabric Scoop Radius Sport saddle with compact handlebars.
The new Slate Women's Apex retails at £1,700.
Cannondale Habit Women's
The Habit is a short-travel full suspension trail bike designed more towards the XC side of trail riding, though is, Cannondale claims, up to bigger terrain. They describe it as "your up-for-anything, sweet-handling, smile-inducing, shred-ready trail companion" — a versatile trail machine.
A reasonably slack 68-degree head angle should translate into stable handling on descents, while the steep XC-style 74-degree seat tube gives an upright position that's good for power transference on climbs. The Habit has 120mm travel front and rear, and 27.5 wheels.
The top of the range Habit Women's Carbon 3 comes in a striking acid strawberry colour, with RockShox Pike RC fork and Fox Float DPS shock. Gearing is a mixture of Shimano SLX and XT in a 1x11 setup, with Shimano Deore M615 hydraulic disc brakes. It also has a TransX dropper seatpost with a 120mm drop and internal cable routing.
Coming in a no less striking purple haze colour with acid green decals, the Habit Women's 3 is the alloy version. Suspension comes in the form of a RockShox Recon Silver fork and X-Fusion 02 RL. A SRAM GX/X5 2x10 set-up covers the gears and there are Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes to provide the stopping power.
Both bikes are available in extra small, small and medium sizes, with a size-specific suspension tune to suit lighter riders in the smaller sizes. As with the women's F-Si models (below), the frame geometry is the same as the unisex Habit, but the contact points and some key componentry is selected for female riders such as a women's specific Cannondale Stage 3 saddle, shorter crank arms and narrower 740mm handlebars (compared to the 760mm handlebars on the unisex versions).
While the Habit has been out in the US market for a few months, this is its debut in the UK and it will be retailing at £2,700 for the Habit Carbon 2, and £1,400 for the alloy Habit Women's 3.
New Cannondale F-Si Women's Hardtail
The F-Si range has been around a few years now, with the race-focused XC hardtails being ridden at the highest level during World Cup events. Now for 2017, Cannondale has released two women's specific models; the F-Si AL Women's 1 and F-Si Al Women's 2, both alloy framed with 27.5 wheels.
Neither of the women's versions come with the Lefty fork, but do have long fork offsets to, as Cannondale says, "balance high-speed stability with low speed agility." They also don't have separate geometry, with the frames the same design as the unisex/men's versions but with women's specific components such as a Stage 3 Women's Ergo saddle and shorter cranks. Interestingly, the handlebars on the women's version are actually wider than on the men's; 740mm rather than 700mm
The F-Si Al Women's 1 has a RockShox Recon Gold RL fork with 100mm of travel, Shimano SLX and XT 2 x 11 drivetrain, and Shimano M445 hydraulic disc brakes. The F-Si Al Women's 2 has RockShox 30 Gold fork, Shimano Deore 2x10 gears and a Shimano M396 hydraulic disc brake system.
Both bikes are available in sizes extra small, small and medium, and retail at £2,700 for the F-Si Al Women's 1 and £1,100 for the F-Si Al Women's 3.
Cannondale SuperSix Evo Women's
There are no new additions to the SuperSix Evo line-up with the same two highly-regarded models carrying over into 2017: the SuperSix EVO Carbon Women's Ultegra and the SuperSix EVO Carbon Women's 105.
The women's version of the SuperSix EVO does have a different geometry to the men's/unisex version with lower standover, shorter seat tube length and fractionally shorter reach. Women's specific contact points are also served, both models feature Selle Royal Seta S1 women's saddles, narrower compact alloy handlebars, and 11-28t cassette rather than the 11-32t cassette that's fitted on the men's/unisex version — which Cannondale says is selected for the women's bikes to "make your bike ride better and fit better".
The SuperSix EVO Carbon Women's Ultegra (pictured) is fitted, as the name suggests, with Shimano Ultegra brakes and gears, a Shimano 105 rear cassette, BallisTec carbon frame and fork, Mavic Aksium wheelset, Cannondale Si cranks and alloy seatpost, stem and bars.
The 105 version of the SuperSix EVO Women's comes with a BallisTec carbon frame and fork, Mavic Aksium wheelset and alloy bars, stem and seatpost. It has Shimano 105 drivetrain and brakes, and Cannondale Si cranks.
Both bikes are Di2 compatible if you want to upgrade to electronic gear shifting in the future.
Cannondale Synapse women's road bike
As with the SuperSix EVO there aren't any new additions to the Synapse range, but with a 7-model line-up that ranges from £650 to £2,500 — including disc brake and carbon versions — most bases are pretty much covered already.
The Synapse is built more towards endurance, as opposed to the more aggressive SuperSix EVO, though it's certainly on the performance side of endurance.
Leisure hybrid bikes
Cannondale Althea Women's
A hybrid bike that's more towards the mountain biking end of the spectrum, the women's specific Althea features 50mm front suspension forks and a low standover that make it well suited to dirt and gravel tracks, while still working well as a commuter bike.
Both models, the Althea 1 and Althea 2, have a women's specific frame geometry with SR Suntour NEX forks, alloy frame and 700c wheels. Knobbly Kenda Happy Medium tyres in 35c are designed to be a good compromise for off-road traction and on-road low rolling resistance.
The entry-level Althea 2 features Shimano Altus and Acera derailleur with a Sunrace 11-32 cassette in a 3 x 8 setup, which provides a wide range of gears — good for getting up steep climbs as well as powering along flats. The Althea 2 has rim brakes rather than disc brakes in the form of Cannondale C4s, and the bike also has a Cannondale women's CX Ergo saddle.
For an additional £50 you get the Althea 1, which has Tektro hydraulic disc brakes that provide good stopping power in the wet, and the same 3x8 Shimano/Sunrace drivetrain.