Cannondale Super V 500 (1999)

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Big bike with a personality crisis.

Nov 14, 1999
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Amazing Quality

Cons:Confused purpose

The Super V 500 is a bike with, if this is possible for a bike, a bit of a personality crisis.

The first issue comes with the Super V chassis. In doing some rather rudementary informal studies on the sources of biopacing between the major designs as represented by Cannondale (single pivot) Gary Fisher (URT) and Specialized (Linkage). Basically what we did was take the the three bikes, each with a coil sprig set with the same amount of sag for the test rider, put the bikes on a trainer, spin as consistantly as possible and measure of different amounts of shock movement at different pedaling cadences. What we were trying to proove was that the resonace point of a rear suspension, the point at which uneven pedaling foces correspond with the compression phase of a bouncing coil spring, was found when you pedaled at 90 rpm. The results were just as we expected for the fisher and the cannondale, up to around 75rpm there was very little suspension motion, but as the cadence increased towards 90 the bikes began to biopace severely, and then as it increased father towards 120rpm at which there was a decrease in motion.
From this test it was concluded that the Fisher was the worst, followed by the cannondale. The specialized FSR suprised us by having less than 30% the resonating motion of the cannondale.
So what does this have to do with the Super V 500 specifically? Well it proves that if you want to get a Super V for cross country you should ante up and purchase one with an air shock that you can stiffen up. So if you are not riding your super V for XC use you will probably be pointing it downhill, an aplication that the super V platform accells in due to its unparalleld sensitivity and unwaveing lateral stiffness. However, despite the the feeling that the suspension is well balanced in a parking lot, the SV500 Super Fatty M undamped fork poorly matches the excellent controlled motion of the rear shock. It is ironic that this forks downfall is what makes the other HeadShok forks so nice, the stictionless needle bearing setup does not offer enough friction to keep the front fork form becoming bouncy and toping out rather harshly. This basically boils down to a bike that is both ill suited for XC and Downhill oriented riding, much like full suspension of the past.
This is a real shame, considering that the Super V 500 is such a nice bike in the ends of quality and spec.

The moral, either spend more money and get a bike like a Raven or super V 1000, or spend the same amount of money and get a Specialized FSR or FSR XC


Recommend this product? No


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