Written by Adam Kelsall
Published: 29 March 2016
I have been riding mountain bikes for many years recreationally and in the last 18-24months have started racing cross country. For the first year I was racing 6hr+ races, with a focus on 24hr solo races, building for WEMBO 24hr Solo World Champs. This event I was fortunate enough to come away with the win in my age group! Since then I have decided to make the dramatic switch to XCO racing in the elite category at a national level. Possibly a foolish decision, but I'm having fun and learning lots. The speed is still building!
Where I ride
I live in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. A majority of my riding on the mouno is done on the local Yarra trails out to Westerfolds Park and Hans Loop… very underrated trails in my opinion. I also ride a fair bit at the You Yangs and Lysterfield regularly and I race across the whole county and internationally!
Smooth but aggressive? Is that a thing? I like to use my power to get up climbs and along faster open sections and I like to think I'm fairly smooth in my line choice and descending.
Bike I used to ride
My previous bike was a Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SL - It was amazing.
I’m riding Cannondale because…
I recently started work at North City Cycles who are a Cannondale dealer. I jumped at the opportunity to get on their F-Si. They have been developing this bike a lot over the past few years so I am very excited to have the chance to be on one. I have also been an fan of and wanted to try a Lefty fork. (My socks don't even match… why do i need two fork legs!?)
What i changed on the bike before i rode it…
I #slammedthatstem and fitted a -25degree stem to get the bars low how I like them. I fitted my carbon railed Prologo Zero II saddle which me and my bum love so much. I also fitted some silicone grips and some tubeless Maxxis tires. The rest remained as it was out of the box
My thoughts on…
Good looking, light, simple and easy to service and maintain. External cables was a massive plus for me being a mechanic!
So far I have found the bike to be super responsive, light and stiff. It just wants to be ridden fast! And you feel like if you aren't out of the saddle smashing the singletrack then you aren't doing the bike justice! The size small Cannondale F-Si comes with 650b wheels, which for my stature and riding style I have become a big fan of, more so than 29er clown wheels.
Cockpit(handlebars, stem, grips, shifters) (room for garmin?) etc
Carbon FSA bars at 700mm wide with 6degree backsweep and 0degree rise. I thought about chopping them down to my preferred 690mm but couldn't be bothered. Stem is a 90mm -25% alloy Cannondale stem, might try a 100mm soon. Grips were standard Cannondale lock-ons, which I swapped for some PRO silicone grips (same as ESI grips). Garmin room was a bit of an issue. Stem is a bit fat and stumpy, so no room for a standard Garmin mount. Fortunately I have a very clever mate with a 3D printer who made me a 1.5” steerer adaptor for a K-Edge mount which works brilliantly.
The F-Si came fitted with a set of Sram Guide Ultimate brakes. So far they have been faultless and work amazingly. Good modulation, feel and power. My preferred brakes have always been Shimano… but these could be changing my mind.
Bike came with a Prologo Nago which is quite possibly an awesome saddle. I fitted my Prologo Zero II straight away though because I know its rad.
Wheels and tyres
ENVE! Enve rims with a DT320 rear hub and Cannondale Lefty front hub. Amazing faultless wheels, light and stiff. Good times! Very easy to convert to tubeless.
1 x 11
SRAM XX1 groupset with Cannondale Hollowgram crankset. Incredible, I wont ever ride anything other than 1x on a mountain bike again. No need! Super light and super simple, never skips a beat. I also usually like to run an Absolute Black oval chainring, but unfortunately when I fitted a 34t one of these it rubbed on the chain stay… so round ring it is for now!
As my Dad said when he first saw one, “Thats not a fork… Thats a KNIFE!!!”. I’ve been wanting to try one of these for ages! Looks a bit funny, yes. But rides amazingly well. My previous bike had the Rock Shox RS1 fork on it which is the best xc race fork i have ever used (I’ve used lots in the past including World Cup SIDs and Fox 32 Terralogic) and the Lefty is a close second. Surprisingly stiff and super plush! Plus its only half a fork so its mega lightweight too. Lockout is also the best I have used. I don’t lock out my forks often, but when I do, I want them proper locked out! And the Lefty does just that.
Out of the box it was 8.5kg without pedals and bottle cage.
Any changes you think you will make to the bike in the future?
Not many, I’d like to try and fit a power meter and an oval chainring. Also try a slightly longer stem. Other than that, for a XC hardtail, this bike is almost perfect!
Who would you like to thank?
I would like to thank Paul and Rob at North City Cycles in Thornbury for giving me the opportunity to be on this bike for this season. You have both been most generous and helpful.