First Look: Taiwanese-Made Cannondale RT1

lantingsFacebook truly is an interesting animal with regard to how one door opens another to perpetuate the social network.  Case in point, I am friends with Rick L. up in Michigan noting we both share a strong affinity for tandems and frequent some of the same discussion forums and are both blessed with wives who are just as enthusiastic about tandems and tandeming as us!

Given I’ve been pretty much grounded since May 23rd with some type of infection that has been sucking the life out of me I’ve had even more time to surf than usual. In doing so I discovered that FB gives me insight into what my “friends” are doing on FB, even when they’re doing it with other FB users whom I know nothing about.  Well, low-and-behold, as I scrolled my way through the list of activities by my friends photos and postings were popping up and much to my surprise a 2013 Cannondale RT1 appeared on my screen: I had to do a double-take on that.


Apparently, Rick and his wife Kim are friends with their local bike shop, Alger’s — always a good thing to have a local bike shop that’s worthy of friendship — in Wyoming, Michigan and Brian from Alger’s was in Park City, Utah where the photo was presumably taken at the 2013 Cannondale OverMountain Press Camp.

I should note, it would appear they are marketing the RT1 as the “T1” and have adorned the frame as such just aft of the captain’s seat tube on the top tube.  They also had an RT2 (T2) and a 29er at the event and photos of those were captured by Dan Gerous and posted out on his FB page:



But, its fair to say that any information on the new Cannondale tandems has been very hard to obtain, aside from some of the details that our friend Mel at Tandems East has had on his website, noting that Mel has been the go-to guy for Cannondale tandems for many, many years and has helped them develop the specifications for some of their tandem models.  In essence, what was released only pertained to the Road Tandem 1 (RT1), which is their high-end road-going / go-fast tandem, and even then it was a short list of key components, including the optional Gates CarbonDrive sync drive that I mentioned in some BikeForums / tandem sub-forum discussions, i.e., a new 29″ spec set of drive sprockets for the Cannondale tandems with the “large” stoker compartments.

  • Bottom Bracket: BB30
  • Cranks: FSA SL-K Carbon Triple
  • Shifting: XTR RD, Ultegra STI,
  • Wheels:  DT
  • Brakes: Avid BB7 discs (Now appears to be Shimano spec)
  • Sync Drive: Gates CarbonDrive CenterTrack available

A geometry chart was also released:

2013 C'Dale Tandem Geometry

Again, from Brian of Alger Bikes who was at the show, at least confirmation of the same specs that have been on the Tandems East website, including the Avid BB7 spec which is clearly not correct just looking at the bikes: they’re sporting a mechanical Shimano disc.

The fork is Aluminum, it’s very similar to the fork Cannondale is using for their 29’er Single Speed MTB (I have one if you want to see it). Wheels are DT Swiss, Cranks FSA SLK Light (belt timing), Ultegra components, BB7 disc brakes.

Brian also snapped a few more photos of the T1 and I’ve done my best to adjust the exposure settings and sharpness to make them a bit easier for viewing purposes:





rt1_3In closing I have to be honest: I’m really not all that excited by these new tandems for one very simple reason: they’re imports.  On the bright side, I’m not in the tandem market and if I was there’s not much here that gets me too excited so I know I won’t have to worry too much about eating my words.   But it’s really a punch in the gut to see what I’m sure is an omen of things to be as our beloved tandem builders begin to feel the pressure to follow daVinci and Cannondale by going off-shore to fill a price point.   Hmmm. I wonder if Mel still has that made-in-the USA L/M Street Tandem that I was dying to take home back in March?

BTW, last I heard was that dealers would not begin to see inventory until late July or early August.

Parting shot: I sure hope some of those decals are on top of the clear coat… what were they thinking with that?  Oh yeah, that’s right… I’m old and out of touch with the target demographic.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
This entry was posted in Advice & Commentary, Analysis, Bloggishnish, Industry News, News items from the web, Off-Road Tandems, Pimpin' for our Friends, Shameless Promotions, Tandem Folks, Technology & Equip.. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to First Look: Taiwanese-Made Cannondale RT1

  1. Paul and Rachel says:

    Hey Mark, off topic but I was at Tandems East having Mel do a couple of tweaks to our tandem and he was wondering if you knew a frame builder or a pro sho that could re-space a rear triangle in Georgia or Alabama?


    • TG says:

      I’m assuming we’re talking about a steel or Ti frame? If I had to have something tweaked and didn’t want to do the cold-set myself (it’s not that hard), I’d call Michel Lamar at Free Flite here in Marietta, GA to get his recommendation. I know there are a couple builders — Zukas in Augusta & Snyder in Atlanta — but I don’t know if they do piece-meal work on bikes they didn’t build: it’s a feast or famine business and both were pretty covered up last time I checked. There are a few other shops around at Atlanta that offer frame repair, i.e, The Bike Doctor in Norcross and I”m sure the same is true with the bigger shops around the large cities in South Georgia and in Alabama.

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