I 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.
More 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.”
You 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?