Cannondale’s Hardline Prototype DH Bike – Is The Dual Shock Back, With One Shock?

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Cannondale is being a bit coy about the prototype bikes being ridden by Josh ‘Rat Boy’ Bryceland and Sam Hockenhull at Red Bull Hardline, only releasing this official line about the bikes:

LAB71 is all about the next level of performance; this includes prototypes, limited edition products, and special projects as well as the premium bikes already in the Cannondale lineup. We are constantly looking at the future of product development, and if there is an opportunity for us to push things further we’ll take it, even if it means busting out our DH prototypes and using a venue like Redbull Hardline, the toughest downhill mountain bike race in the world, as a test bed for new technology and progression of the sport.​


They’ve released some photos on Instagram, plus we’ve managed to persuade them to give us a few more, because who doesn’t want a closer look? Making bonkers bikes is part of Cannondale’s history, so it’s good to see these prototypes making their way out into the wild today.

How shall we describe this creation? A four-bar mid-high pivot DH bike? Mid-high… is that capris? Pedal pushers?

It’s got the ‘gravity cavity’ from the Jekyll, but then it has a whole other potential shock mount position further up the main triangle. These don’t match with anything current from Cannondale, although a few years back Cannondale had a dual shock DH bike prototype, so maybe these are an evolution or continuation of that? Are they somehow making it work without the second shock? Maybe dampers have improved enough that they can tune things better/separately without needing that second shock?

It looks like they’ve got the bike set up with both a coil and air shock. Here’s that dual shock bike from 5 years ago:

The dual shock bike from 2019
Here’s Josh racing what looks to be the same bike over in Ireland last week.

It’s not like you’d get straight on a brand new prototype and throw yourself off the cliffs of Hardline, so Josh and crew have been out racing in Ireland, apparently on these same bikes but in less attention seeking livery.

A whole pack of cable ties sorts the cable routing. Bike industry take note: many would prefer this to internal faffage!

Whatever it’s all about, it’s interesting to see Cannondale heading back into the downhill space. Or will it be freeride? Josh and Sam generally seem more about the tricks the racing, and Cannondale also has Gemma Corbera on their athlete roster. Is it a sign of where the industry thinks eyeballs will be, or just a marketing move to keep Cannondale in the ‘innovators and inventors’ corner of the bike world?

Josh remembering he forgot to pack a second shock, possibly.

We’ll be wishing Sam, Josh and all the other Hardline riders safe passage this weekend!

How To Watch Hardline

Hardline will be broadcast live globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June at 2.30pm GMT. Ahead of the event, action from course walk and practice will be on the Red Bull Bike YouTube. 

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Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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  • Cannondale’s Hardline Prototype DH Bike – Is The Dual Shock Back, With One Shock?
  • dave_h
    Free Member

    Surely it must be time for them to release another Motocross bike?

    It’s good to see Cannondale getting back to their roots after too many years in the semi-generic bike wilderness.

    Free Member

    …and their Concept Time Trial bike

    Now superceded by the CERV

    Full Member

    I think I probably already know the answer to this question, but is it wrong that I quite like the look of that CERV bike?

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