Slippery green machine
By James Huang
Basso's Vision aero bars
are fitted with straight extensions.
A dropped down tube supposedly
Basso prefers 177.5mm crankarms
on his TT bike
Liquigas mechanics keep
the internally routed cables
The stout front derailleur
mount keeps flex at bay
The included carbon seatpost
incorporates two offset positions.
The Cannondale Slice Hi-Mod is one of the newer time trial shapes in
the ProTour having first seen action in competition less than two years
ago at the 2007 Giro d'Italia. Though late to the all-carbon TT bike
game (the previous Six13 Slice used a mix of aluminum and carbon tubes),
Cannondale at least enjoyed the benefit of already knowing what would
work and what wouldn't.
Proven aero technology on Basso's Slice Hi-Mod includes the deep 'Speed
Shadow' rear wheel cutout, a more compact rear triangle for reduced
frontal area, a slender horizontal top tube, and an aero fork whose
crown integrates relatively tightly with the slightly dropped down tube.
Of course, aero-profile tubing is used wherever applicable and the included
deep-section carbon seatpost sports two offset positions to accommodate
both time trial and triathlon events.
For the 2009 season, Cannondale upped the ante further with a new Hi-Mod
version that uses a stiffer blend of carbon fibers. According to Cannondale
marketing manager Bill Rudell, the new version is stiffer than before
and also lighter. Frame weights now hover at just over 1100g - awfully
respectable for a carbon road frame and exceptionally light for an aero
time trial machine.
However, the complete bike of returning Italian star Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
isn't quite so svelte - total weight was a comparatively portly 8.92kg
(19.67lb) when we caught up with it prior to this year's Tour of California
while Cannondale's own Slice Hi-Mod Ultimate production version reportedly
weighs as little as 6.44kg (14.2lb) without pedals.
Why the huge discrepancy?
Like an increasing number of pro riders, Basso chooses to both race
and train with a power meter and though SRM offer a model based on Cannondale's
own ultralight Hollowgram crankset design, its 175mm maximum arm length
falls short of Basso's preferred 177.5mm dimension for time trials.
As such, he has to resort to SRM's solid aluminum version plus its
accompanying Shimano Ultegra Octalink bottom bracket and threaded BB30
frame adapter and pays a 500g (1.1lb) weight penalty in the process
- or roughly 700g heavier than the standard Hollowgram SL unit.
Other major weight additions include a Vision Trimax semi-integrated
aluminum aero bar with an additional brake lever (about 980g with brake
levers as compared to the stock 699g USE Tula), the Mavic Io five-spoke
carbon front wheel (750g vs. 568g for the stock Zipp ZEDTech 4) and
the matching Mavic Comete rear disc (1150g vs. 780g for the stock Zipp
Factor in a pair of stainless steel-axled Speedplay Zero pedals (206g
per pair), last year's Campagnolo Record 10-speed componentry (the stock
bike uses SRAM Red), and the large 58cm frame size and the 8.92kg suddenly
begins to make a little more sense.
Basso's Slice is at least supposedly rather comfortable, though, thanks
to Cannondale's Slice Aero Vibration Elimination (SAVE) stay shaping.
According to Cannondale, slightly flattened sections on the chain stays
and carefully designed bends on the slender seat stays yield a modest
leaf spring effect as Basso rolls down the road.
Basso has not always been known for his prowess in time trials but
the returning Italian rider is certainly hoping to shed that reputation
in 2009. Prior to his doping suspension in the summer of 2007, Basso's
performances against the clock had begun to improve thanks in part to
wind tunnel work with then-team CSC and he had also been scheduled for
another session after the Tour of California before a knee injury sidelined
With stated targets to include the upcoming Giro d'Italia, it seems
that Basso may still have some more work to do though. Basso posted
a mid-pack 66th in the opening Tour of California prologue and more
recently, a reasonable 19th place finish during stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico
- 1:14 down on stage winner Andreas Klöden (Astana).
However, the surprisingly long and hilly time trial on stage 12 of
the Giro may prove to be decidedly interesting with its long 61.5km
route and two climbs: the Passo del Bracco (600m of climbing) and the
Passo del Termine (500m). Basso supposedly has yet to decide though
whether he will use a time trial bike or a standard road machine for
what is likely to be a decisive stage but rumors suggest Cannondale
may uncork something special for Basso just for that day.
An even lighter Slice perhaps or maybe even an aero-tubed road frame?
Check back with us in May.
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