This article originally published on BikeRadar
Sometimes Olympic bronze medalists have to make tough decisions — like figuring out which bike to race. When Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) shows up at races, he'll have to decide between his Cannondale F29 with the Italian national champ paint job or his stock Cannondale Factory Team F29.
"I would say they both look great," said Fontana, the current Italian mountain bike and cyclo-cross national champion. "Probably the national championship colors will hit the World Cups. For training and smaller races, the normal team custom paint job will do. I like the fact that the bikes look light, too, with their lines and colors."
Both of Fontana's F29 bikes are built up on stock, medium-sized Cannondale F29 frames, each with their respective paint jobs.
The carbon hardtail F29 has a 2013 Cannondale Lefty XLR fork with remote lockout and 70mm of travel. It's the newest style of Lefty in production, referred to as the "hybrid" because it includes half needle bearings and half bushings instead of all (88) needle bearings like in 2012. It uses air for the suspension and oil for the damping. It also features a round lower leg and ditches the shock boot and air filter vent since the new closed system offers more resistance against weather and mud, Cannondale says.
Fontana works with a European company called 88+ Tuning to dial in his fork. Shims and internals help him adjust travel and fork dynamics.
The biggest changes on Fontana's bikes for the 2013 season are the updated SRAM drivetrain and Enve wheels.
"This year, we're going with the 1x11 [SRAM drivetrain]," he said. "We had switched in the middle of 2012 to a 1x10. We also changed wheels for this season. These are carbon wheelsets, high profile. The changes make for a different kind of ride, but I already feel competitive with this setup."
Fontana's SRAM XX1 drivetrain uses an 10/42 cassette and a 36-tooth chainring.
The 1x11 drivetrain eliminates the front derailleur and therefore front derailleur mis-shifts and dropped chains. It also makes for a lighter, cleaner-looking system.
No front derailleur here: the SRAM XX1 drivetrain
The Enve wheels are XC29 rims with DT Swiss 240S hubs (Lefty-specific up front) and DT Aerolite spokes. Fontana's team mechanic said the new wheels save 250g over the previous wheels.
Another special element of Fontana's bike is the custom XX1 spider on his Cannondale SISL2 crankset, which spins on a Cannondale SI bottom bracket.
At most events, Fontana will race Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.1 tires with Snakeskin protection on the sidewalls.
Prologo handles the contact points at the hands and butt by providing grips and a Prologo X0 CPC saddle.
An FSA K-Force (670mm) bar, with nine degrees of back sweep and 4 degrees of up sweep, attaches to the frame via a Cannondale OPI stem/steerer and Cannondale Headshock headset.
FSA also makes his seatpost, a 27.2mm diameter K-Force with 25mm of setback.
Fontana's bike weighed in at 8.45kg (18.6lb) with tubeless-compatible rim tape and tubes installed. He plans to race a tubeless setup.
The Italian national champion is not making any major changes to his position, but he noted that he is constantly tweaking it.
"I always change my measured position from day to day, from season to season," he said. "When I change the seat, I feel if it needs to be lower or higher. I move the position a lot. I go more by how it feels - it's more about feeling. Maybe on my road bike, I keep the same setup, but off road I'm always moving my cleats and shoes forward and backward. Sometimes my feet are more in toward the cranks, sometimes more outboard, and I have new shoes."
Speaking of both his position and the weight of his bike, he said, "It's not about numbers - that's not what matters. It's not always about what's lightest."
The good-humored Fontana pointed out that there is one remaining important 2013 bike setup detail pending.
Speaking of the bike he intends to race at the Worlds Cups, he said, "I still need to talk with her, and see if she's ready for winning, but we haven't had time to talk yet."
For the record, Fontana has 10 Cannondale bikes to ride for the 2013 season: one national championship F29 bike and one CFR painted F29 bike to stay with the team truck and travel to races; one training F29 bike; one Scalpel 29 bike; one Jekyll (26er) bike; one Super 6 Evo road bike; and four Super X disc cyclo-cross bikes.
Complete bike specifications
Frame: Cannondale F29
Size: Medium (stock size, custom Italian national champion paint job)
Rear shock: None
Fork: Cannondale Lefty XLR Hybrid, 70mm travel, remote Rockshox lockout
Headset: Cannondale Headshock SI
Stem: Cannondale OPI (One Piece Integration)
Handlebars: FSA K-Force 670mm, 9 degrees backsweep, 4 degrees upsweep
Front brake: Avid XX World Cup, 160mm rotor
Rear brake: Avid XX World Cup, 140mm rotor
Brake levers: Avid XX World Cup
Front derailleur: None
Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1
Shift levers: SRAM XX1 (rear only, no front lever)
Cassette: SRAM XX1, 10-42T
Chain: SRAM XX1
Crankset: Cannondale SISL2 (with 36T chainring)
Bottom bracket: Cannondale SI, BB30
Pedals: Shimano SPD XTR
Wheelset: See Rims/Front Hubs/Spokes
Rims: Enve XC29
Front hub: DT Swiss 240S, Lefty-specific
Rear hub: DT Swiss 240S
Spokes: DT Aerolite
Front tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.1 with Snakeskin sidewall
Rear tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.1 with Snakeskin sidewall
Saddle: Prologo X0 CPC
Seat post: FSA K-Force 27.2mm diameter, 25mm setback
Bottle cages: Cannondale Alloy
Computer: Mio Cyclo 105
Rider's height: 1.72m (5'8")
Rider's weight: 68kg (149lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 385
Seat tube length, c-t: 440
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 710
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 560
C of front wheel to top of bars: 645
Top tube length: 590 (actual)
Total bicycle weight: 8.45kg (18.6lb)