A few weeks ago, Cannondale invited Gear Patrol to its Wilton, Connecticut HQ for a sneak peek at a top-secret project. They said it was called LAB71 (in honor of the brand’s 1971 founding), but additional details were scant. So I hopped on my Bonneville and rode up from New York City to learn more.
What I discovered within the walls of the spacious compound was impressive. LAB71 essentially poses the question: If there were no limits, what kind of bike would you build? And its designers and engineers answered by developing the highest-performance road, gravel and mountain bikes they could imagine.
I got to see and touch the yet-unreleased road and gravel bikes up close, and while the current SuperSix EVOs and Topstones are already winners, these editions are truly next level. Imagine the lightest materials (sooo much carbon fiber), shaped for premium responsiveness and aerodynamics, combined with the most innovative componentry and topped off with lovingly applied details and custom paint jobs, adding up to two-wheeled stallions with speed matched only by their style.
Yes, I am waxing ecstatic here, but it’s hard not to after seeing the bikes up close — and of course lifting them. For the road bike, we’re talking like 15 pounds, right on the edge of the UCI legal limit — which stands to reason, as these are the bikes Cannondale’s sponsored racers are actually competing on right now.
Of course, that kind of performance comes at a price. Cannondale was hazy on specifics but hinted the road bike price points will exceed even the most expensive current framesets and full builds, so something like $15k for the latter. That figure is simultaneously bonkers and completely reasonable, because LAB71 is the playground where the biggest dreams of the brand’s designers and engineers go to ride free.
Individual models will begin rolling out March 1st, at which point we will be able to share many more details — and subsequently test to find out if these bikes actually ride as good as they look. In the meantime, the video below provides a glimpse of the brand’s grand ambitions. Yes, it’s a marketing tool. But it’s worth watching anyway before your next ride (on any bike) because it’s brief, beautiful and inspiring as hell.