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Pro bikes, May 28, 2006

Gord Fraser's Health Net Cannondale SystemSix

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Photos ©: James Huang/Cyclingnews

Bigger and better

By James Huang

Cannondale’s signature welds
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Perfectly radiused joints
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Fraser was also sporting
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Fraser was one of only two
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Reynolds Stratus DV wheels
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Back at the Tour de Georgia Health Net sprinter Gord Fraser was spotted on what we now know was a proto of Cannondale's recently announced System Six frame. Fraser's team-mate Mike Sayers was also aboard the new ride, indicating, as Cannondale later said, that stiffness was a priority for the new design: who better to trial the protos than two of the fastest guys in the US domestic peloton? Sprinters tend to like stiff bikes.

Fraser put together a respectable mid-pack finish in the race's hardest stage, that climbed to the top of Brasstown Bald Mountain and afterwards had nothing but praise for his new preproduction ride. "It's definitely the best bike I've ever had, and everything I wanted in a frame: super stiff, really light, what more do you want?"

Fraser was also impressed with the SystemSix's descending capabilities. "I did a pretty sketchy descent yesterday but had super confidence," he said. "This bike tracks really well and steers very predictably."

The SystemSix gets the handling traits that Fraser liked from its enormous front triangle. Cannondale has always advocated large tubes, and with the SystemSix it brings that philosophy to an all-carbon front end that includes perhaps the biggest head tube ever seen on a road bike. In fact, it appears to be identically sized to that of Cannondale's Headshok-equipped mountain bikes. Those machines use a 1.5in diameter steerer, but Fraser's bike and the bikes shown to the press at Cannondale's recent official launch of the SystemSix used standard 1 1/8in steerers.

Cannondale plans to announce full details of the SystemSix on its website next Monday, which is of course the sixth day of the six month of '06. However, nobody called Damien is believed to have been involved in the development of this bike.

Beyond the new fame, Fraser's bike was more or less standard Health Net issue. the team runs Shimano brakes and gears, though when we shot his bike, Fraser had swapped his usual sprinter's 11-23 cassette for a more Brasstown Bald-friendly 12-27.

Reynolds Composites supplies Health Net's wheels and while the deep-section Stratus DV wheels on Fraser's bike might seem like an odd choice for a mountain stage, they made plenty of sense for the faster approach to the final climb - and when you're going to finish 15 minutes behind Tom Danielson anyway, you want to conserve every spare bit of energy for the final slog. Reynolds also supplies the team's Ouzo Pro carbon handlebars, while the wheels are shod with Maxxis tyres.

Ritchey supplies Health Net's stems and seatposts, and the latter was topped off by a Fi'zi:k Carbon Arione saddle - one of only two in the Georgia peloton. For the remaining contact point, Fraser uses Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals on his race bike. In fact, Speedplay made a special orange
Zero for the entire Health Net squad, designed to match the accent paint on the Cannondale bikes.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews

Full specification

Frame: Cannondale SystemSix
Fork: Cannondale SystemSix Carbon
Colour: Team Health Net presented by Maxxis

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 175cm/ 5'9"
Rider's weight: 70kg/ 155lbs
C of BB to C of seat tube: 510mm
C of BB to T of seat tube: 556mm
C of BB to T of seat: 763mm
Top tube length: 545mm (C-C)
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 570mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 570mm

Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7800, 172.5mm, 39/53
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7800
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7800
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7800
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace ST-7800
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7800, 12-27 (normally 11-23)


Wheels: Reynolds Stratus DV clincher
Tyres: Maxxis

Bar: Reynolds Ouzo Pro Carbon, 42cm (c-c)
Stem: Ritchey WCS Carbon, 135mm (c-c)
Headset: FSA Integrated

Pedals: Speedplay Zero Titanium
Seat post: Ritchey Pro Carbon
Saddle: Fi'zi:k Carbon Arione
Bottle cages: Reynolds carbon
Cycle computer: Cateye Micro Wireless

Total bike weight: 7.63kg/ 16.8lbs