Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cannondale is a major American bicycle manufacturer, headquartered in Bethel, Connecticut USA and manufacturing in Bedford, Pennsylvania USA. The company was founded in 1971 by Joe Montgomery to manufacture bicycle trailers for bicycle touring. Today Cannondale produces many different types of bicycles, specializing in aluminum (rather than steel) frames, a technology in which they were pioneers. (Regarding the development of aluminum frame bicycles, see also Gary Klein).
Recent years saw Cannondale attempt to enter the motorcycle business and failing miserably, causing the company to declare bankruptcy to get rid of its motor sports division.
Road racing frames
Cannondale started its foray into aluminum racing frames in the 1980s with their CAAD series frames. The earlier models sported oversized down tubes for increased stiffness and resulted in frames that are super-stiff and super-efficient, but considered by many to be extremely uncomfortable. It nonetheless gained popularity in the US criterium circuit, helped by its generous warranty policy.
Later editions of the CAAD series sported S-bend aluminum seat stays introduced in the CAAD4 model for improving comfort. The CAAD6 and CAAD7 models reversed the oversized aluminum tubing design and instead used better shaping to retain the efficiency and improve comfort. Interestingly, this change coincided with the transformation of Team Saeco's (a Division 1/ProTour cycling team that rides on Cannondales) from being essentially a lead-out train for uber-sprinter Mario Cipollini to a more balanced team, with grand tour and all-around riders like Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego. Cannondale has recently been criticized for its insistence on using aluminum instead of considering carbon fiber, which is emerging in popularity. Its change in warranty policy has also been criticized.
The six13 model was introduced in 2004 which uses carbon tubing in the main triangle but still uses aluminum rear triangles, contrary to the usual practice of using carbon rear triangles and aluminum fronts. In order to advertise the lightness of its six13 frames, Cannondale ran a competition in which anybody can bring their bikes to compare its weight with a six13 model, and in the case that the competitor's bike is lighter, Cannondale gives them a prize. It is reported that quite a few people won prizes in the competition before it was discontinued. It should also be noted that the Union Cycliste Internationale has established a 6.8kg weight limit for competition bicycles, so anyone with a lighter bike could arrive at these competitions assured of a prize.
Cannondale also developed a proprietary bottom bracket technology called Hollowgram which is featured in its high-end bikes since 2001.
Cannondale's sponsorship in the Division I road racing circuit started with the sponsorship of Mario Cipollini's Saeco team in the late 1990's, memorable for Cipollini's 4 consecutive stage wins in the 1999 Tour de France. The image of Mario Cipollini approaching the TV camera right after a win to say, 'Cannondale makes the best bikes!' propelled Cannondale's popularity among road racers.
Cannondale also currently sponsors numerous road racing teams, including the Saeco team which has won the Giro d'Italia in 2003 with Gilberto Simoni and 2004 with Damiano Cunego. Saeco's Stefano Zanini 's first place win in the US Pro Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA, in 2003. (Saeco International Group, based in Bologna, Italy manufactures Coffee machines.)
The Saeco team is known for their pranks and antics. Cipollini's antics are legendary, including showing up to the stage start at the Tour de France dressed in a Julius Caesar-inspired toga complete with an olive wreath, riding on a carriage pulled by his teammates on bicycles. More recently, the entire Saeco team raced a stage of the 2003 Tour de France wearing a Legalize my Cannondale chaingang cycling kit to protest the UCI's lower bound on bike weight which means that their six13 prototype team bikes were underweight and required the installation of additional weight.
In the mountain biking circuit, Cannondale had sponsored the Volvo/Cannondale racing team, the SoBe/Cannondale racing team and various individual 24 hour racers.
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