The History of Cannondale Bicycles

cannondale bicycles

Cannondale bicycles are some of the most highly sought-after brands. Here's how they got that way.

The Cannondale Bicycle Corporation is a Canadian owned bicycle company that was started in 1971 by Joe Montgomery. The company is located in Bethel, Connecticut. Cannondale didn’t start out making bicycles. Instead they manufactured camping bags and backpacks and then bicycle trailers for touring. In 1983, they began making aluminum frames for racing and touring bikes and eventually expanded that into mountain bikes which became popular for their super efficient quality. They were the first company to be able to manufacture aluminum frames at a high volume. Later, they began manufacturing carbon fiber composite frames.

In 2004, Cannondale launched a composite frame made from carbon and alloy. It featured a carbon seat, down, and top tubes that were chemically bonded to alloy head tubes, staysets, and bottom bracket junctions. The Six 13, as it was called, was expanded to include the Slice triathlon trial bike.

In 2005, the company developed its all carbon frame called the Synapse which they sold as a budget priced item. In 2007, they introduced the SystemSix which was a reconstruction of their flagship road bike using carbon materials.

Today, the company’s line of carbon frames includes variations of the Synapse and the Supersix.

Cannondale Bicycles develops other bicycle related items including a suspension fork called Lefty. The suspension fork uses 88 needle bearings to promote a smooth ride by reducing friction. It is called Lefty because, unlike other suspension forks, it only as a left blade. It is used for many of the company’s high end bicycle models such as the Scalpels and Rizes. They are very expensive and only compatible with disc brakes.

The company also manufactures an electric bike that uses a battery module designed based on the Toshiba lithium ion titanite rechargeable battery. Other components manufactured by the company include a bottom bracket and crankset technology called Hallowgram.

The company has sponsored road racing teams like most other bicycle manufacturers. In the late 1990s, they sponsored Saeco whose member, Mario Cipollini won four consecutive stage wins in the 1999 Tour de France. They also won the Giro d’Italia five times.

In the mountain biking arena, they sponsor the Cannondale-Vredestein racing team and in triathlon racing they have sponsored Faris Al-Sultan, Dejan Patrcevic, and Chrissie Wellington among others.

Cannondale Bicycles ran into financial trouble and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2003. They were purchased by Pegasus Capital Advisors who eventually sold them to Dorel Industries.

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