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More 6, less 13: Cannondale System Six

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Cannondale has launched another mixed breed road frame, the System Six. Cannondale's website has been teasing us with this flash promo, counting down to the launch date of 06-06-06, with the tag line, "This is not a fashion statement", whatever that means? Prototypes of this new frame were already spotted at the Tour of Georgia, making this a likely replacement for the Six13 race bike. Though not the lightest frame on the market (1115 grams in some undisclosed size), Cannondale has stepped up their R&D revenue to bring a frame that exceeds Six13 stats:

"The company’s test lab data indicates that the new System Six down tube is 44 percent torsionally stiffer than the Six13 down tube. The top tube tests 304 percent laterally stiffer. The head tube is 36.8 percent stiffer."

Those numbers are quite impressive. The System Six frame is much like Lemond's spine design, except backwards, taking a full carbon front end (headtube, toptube, and downtube) and mating it with an aluminum back end (seattube and stays). In doing so, Cannondale hopes to capture the acceleration of a CAAD8 aluminum frame with the lightness of a Six13. Another notable difference with this new frame is the conical headtube that tapers from 1.25" top cup to 1.5" bottom cup. This will make upgrading forks real fun.

Time will tell whether the System Six can hold its own against other currently available racing frames. Mixing frame materials was so 2004 and it seams that the current trend this year was to go back to (Lemond Triomphe), transition on to (Serotta Meivici, Litespeed Pavia, Merlin Works C110), or fine tune (Colonogo Extreme-C, Cervelo R.3, Trek Madone SSLx, Specialized Tarmac SL, Wilier Le Roi), a full carbon frame. But then again, the cycling industry isn't the fashion industry - or is it? Remember: this is not a fashion statement.

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