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Cannondale CERV concept bike

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Cannondale CERV concept bicycleI have been a fan of Cannondale concept bikes for a long time. Some of them I loved, like Alex Pong’s CNC machined Magic Motorcycle full suspension bike from the early 90s (one of which is apparently still around at the Cycling Sports Group office in Connecticut). Others I thought were a bit strange, like the crazy mid 90s concept with inline skate front wheels. In all cases though, I admired Cannondale for deviating from industry standards and creating concept bikes that elicited a strong reaction (positive or negative) from everyone who saw them.  I listed a few Cannondale innovations that are commonplace today in that older post, so I won’t rehash them here. Suffice it to say though, that Cannondale’s willingness to question standards did lead to quite a few changes (especially for mountain bikes) throughout the 90s.

Cannondale CERV detailMore recently, Cannondale has created a few interesting concept bikes, but nothing like the ones of 15 to 20 years ago. The CERV (Continuously Ergonomic Race Vehicle) concept bike, designed by Cannondale Senior Industrial Designer John Michie, seems like a throwback to those wild concepts from the 90s though. The bike features “a dynamically adjustable headset that moves both fore-and-aft and up-and-down,” which automatically puts the rider in an optimal position based on the terrain without altering the seat-to-crank height. Priority Designs, the industrial design consulting firm who worked with Cannondale to built the working full size model, explains on their site:

“The headset translates forward and down for a clean, low-drag position when descending. When climbing, it moves up and back, creating a more upright position for maximum leverage on the crank. Doing all this with a traditional fork in place wasn’t going to cut it, so a single-sided swing arm was proposed. Designing a forkless front-end has its own challenges, integrating it into a multi-axis adjustable system is another degree of difficulty altogether.”

Cannondale CERV concept bikeYou can see additional photos and renderings of the concept on the Priority Designs website.  They also show a rough development prototype that is quite interesting.  As to be expected, the design is getting a lot of exposure on the web. Some people seem to love it, and others don’t…but a strong reaction is the goal with a design like this, right?

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  1. Nick F September 12, 2012 at 1:19 am -  Reply

    Pretty sweet. The prototype is awesome.

  2. William C September 12, 2012 at 8:17 am -  Reply

    High negative steering trail will make it all but useless…maybe make it hub center steered, but then will need significant turning clearance on the forward sweeping arm, Maybe they should look a basic handling dynamics before dreaming up pretty shapes…design is much nicer when practiced based in reality.

    • art September 14, 2012 at 9:24 am -  Reply

      The trail situation looks a lot less dire on the test mule.

  3. Erik Eagleman September 13, 2012 at 4:07 am -  Reply

    Just wanted to be clear on something here. The working full size model was done by Priority Designs, but the design/styling/surfacing was done by Cannondale in house Senior Industrial Designer, John Michie. John has been with the company for over 4 years now, and is kicking ass and taking names. He has done countless projects for the company but finally got the chance to do a Concept bike of his own. This shows his skills not only for design and styling, but also how Industrial designers are more than stylists, but problem solvers as well. I just wanted to make point to credit John on this fantastic showcase of design and innovation for the company.
    -Erik Eagleman, Senior Industrial Designer, Cannondale

    • James Thomas September 13, 2012 at 8:18 am -  Reply

      Thanks for the correction, Erik. I’ll change that in the post so that John gets the credit he deserves. My apologies.

  4. Kimmo September 17, 2012 at 4:43 am -  Reply

    The negative trail seems like a bit of a deal-breaker, but the engineering that’s (apparently) gone into this is breathtaking (or would be, if there were actual pics instead of renderings).

    Also, the shaft drive seems pretty gratuitous. What racer would want one?

    But mad props for floating the notion of dynamic positioning. Years ago, looking at beam bikes, it occurred to me that it seems feasible to include a quick-release on the beam to let it pivot much lower than normal to allow a road bike to ride off drop-offs of more than a foot… a pretty limited demographic to be sure, but it’s an example of something more realistic.

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