Focusing on two key criteria, technology and aesthetics, the Quantum Leap project unofficially began back in 2004 as Cannondale’s Director of Industrial Design, Torgny Fjeldskaar, kicked off a new project. The goal of this project was to bring the kind of visual impact former iconic products like the Cannondale Raven II brought to the marketplace and apply it to the Urban segment.

Key to this new project was the collaboration with graduate students from the Elisava Design School in Barcelona. Just one year later, the Jackknife Concept Bike was unveiled. This concept bike (a non-ridable full-scale foam model designed by students Philippe Holthuizen and Rodrigo Clavel under supervision of Cannondale ID) was launched with much fanfare and received many accolades from the media due, in large part, to its innovative and radical design which included a hydraulic drive-train.

The next logical step? Make it real... Once Cannondale decided to develop the bike based on a very similar lay-out, real world constraints like ridability, stiffness, efficiency and ergonomics had to be considered. From there it become clear that a complete redesign had to be done. The goal was to design and create revolutionary frame and drive-train technologies that would meet the needs of the urban customer, while exceeding their expectations. This new technology also needed to maintain world class industrial design and provide high visual impact. A tall order, but not something that's unfamiliar to Cannondale.

Following a month of industrial design and computer modeling by Torgny Fjeldskaar, Director of Industrial Design and Chris Dodman, Cannondale's Advanced Project Engineer, the boys from Bethel took over the reigns for the next two months.

 The first step was to confirm that the rear chaincase/hub design would actually work. After all, there was no point in making the front of the bike if the rear didn't work. To verify proof of concept, the team made the rear chain case and a modified front end based on a MTB frame. It not only worked, it worked well. It was time to move on to the manufacturing of the front end.

 Thank goodness for big couches (and big refridgerators) in the R&D room since both Dale Krantz, Cannondale Designer and Jeremy Mikesell, Suspension Design Engineer put in 80+ hours per week from mid July to the end of August, including weekends, to complete this project in time for launch at this year's Eurobike.

 In the interest of time and budget, the decision was quickly made to manufacture most of the parts right here in Bethel CT (home of the Cannondale bike Engineers). "To do this", Says Mikesell, "we had to upgrade our CNC mill. Then we needed to learn how to program the thing. Although common place in the Bedford Factory, this was all new ground for what we do here in Bethel. In fact, during the month of August, the mill ran about 12 hours a day. Prior to this project, the same mill ran about 3 hours per month."

The front half of this new bike is carbon fiber, as are the straight sections of the tube from the "pivot" to the bottom bracket. Cut in the Bethel facility, the aluminum molds where then layed-up with the actual molding completed in Cannondale's Bedford PA factory. In fact, the carbon tubes on the seat mast are sections of stock tubes from an upcoming road bike currently being produced in Bedford. 

 "After a lot of detailed hand work to get everything perfectly fitted, all the pieces were bonded together." said Mikesell. "The finish sanding, paint and graphics were all done in one (very long) day, putting all of the pieces together in just 4 days." Assisting with the process were Chad Showalter, R&D Support/Metrology, Tom Nieri, Quality Engineer, Scott Dague, Composite Manufacturing Engineer &  Ron Jones, Cannondale Bike Graphic Designer.

 Mikesell added, "This is the truely amazing thing about our Bedford factory; we can make a stock bike (from raw tubes to painted frame) in just one day and put something completely crazy like the "ON" bike together in just 4 days." 

Dubbed the Cannondale “ON”, these first rideable prototypes certainly lives up to the project goals. What makes it so advanced? A co-molded carbon and aluminum main frame houses internal cable routing and provides fixing points for a custom “Righty” single sided HeadShok Lefty suspension fork. The drive train is also a revolutionary figure head for the overall design, and one of the most challenging aspects of the project.

Working in partnership with SRAM’s R&D team, the I-Motion 9 hub unit and custom disc brake rotor were developed. Cannondale’s Case Closed Drivetrain Technology provides clean, user friendly, maintenance free, internally geared performance with unique aesthetics. “Developing our single sided Case Closed technology, in partnership with SRAM, and making it more than a concept was a particularly challenging task. The initial ride and performance have been very positive. This, combined with Cannondale's unique single sided front fork, makes for a much slimmer package when folded. This is due to the single sided design; an essential feature for the urban user” commented Chris Dodman, lead Project Engineer and Head of Advanced Engineering at Cannondale.

The two show bikes were manufactured at Cannondale’s US facility in Bedford, PA, by Cannondale’s R&D team. Although still in it’s prototype phase with no confirmed production plans at present, customers interested in more information can stay tuned to this web site or call +31 541573580 for more details. Sorry, we're not taking orders just yet....  Check out the photo story below. enjoy.

 Main goal of the project:
To create an urban bike that would provide a quantum leap in terms of both looks and technology. Looks: Focus on high visual impact – a bike that looks like no other bike, easily recognizable even from a distance.

 Project Recap
May 2004: Cannondale Urban Project initiated with European based development team. Sept 2004: Cannondale Industrial Design Dept. starts futuristic bicycle design project at Elisava Design School, Barcelona




Heritage: Cannondale Raven II with Lefty fork (1999)


Raven III Urban Concept (2004)




Jackknife Concept Bike (Sept 2005) – designed for 2015
Designed by graduate students Philippe Holthuizen and Rodrigo Clavel under supervision of Cannondale ID dept.





Jan 2006 – ID Dept. starts The Quantum Leap Project Goal:
A ridable and fully functional bike inspired by the Jackknife





Pictograms used to get across the point about visual differentiation



Benefits for Urban users : Style and Technology
1. Single sided Headshok fork – smooth ride, small folded package
2. Frame – unique looks and  folds for easy storage
3. Disc brakes – clean, low maintenance and tech appeal
4. Folding Seat Mast  for easy storage
5. Hub gear - clean, maintenance free, easy to use




Oct 2006: SRAM recognizes project potential and commits to
co-development of drive train.


SRAM iMotion-9 was the perfect choice being the premium hub gear on the market.


Technical challenges – Case Closed Technology Stiffness –
this is why it has not been done before!
Weight –comparable with a plastic chain case and frame
Ease of assembly & maintenance
No chain rattle



Nov 2006: Cannondale and SRAM engineers start developing
the most challenging engineering part of the whole project: 
The single-sided drive train.




Cannondale developed CAD model of Case Closed Technology (patent pending)
Removable cover for chain installation
Octagonal tubes – stiff and stylish
I-motion 9 cable exit



Wheel can be removed – gears stay attached and chain tension is unaffected




Sweet looking final Product


Final Silhouette sketch, Jan 2007






Single-sided front and rear makes for a flatter folded package






Sketching 3D tube shapes before CAD-modeling frame



Hinge concept allows for internal cables to run through pivot



May 2007 - SRAM developed a swing arm “mule”
based on a Prophet front for single sided i-9 hub testing


Scott Dague bonding the CNC chain case parts in our factory in Bedford, PA


2007: First ridable mule prototype ready.
Initial feedback from test riders is very positive.


Phase 3 – June 07- Creating the Show bikesEarly manufacturing concept



Frame, Righty Fork, and Case Closed Technology



Final marker-sketch for paint and decals




Jeremy Mikesell, Suspension Design Engineer
 CNC Machining Frame Nodes in the R&D workshop



28th August 2007:
The Quantum Leap Project launched at Eurobike as the Cannondale “ON”
A ridable concept bike not meant for mass-production - for now...



The  Team- for now...
Torgny Fjeldskaar– Project initiator & Industrial Designer, Cannondale
Chris Dodman   – Project leader & Head Engineer, Cannondale
Dale Krantz   – Frame Engineering & Manufacturing, Cannondale
Jeremy Mikesell  – Frame Engineering & Manufacturing, Cannondale
Steve Extance   – “Righty” Fork Engineer, Cannondale


"ON" Concept Bike Spec: Eurobike 2007

Frame...........................System 6 Unidirectional Carbon Fiber tubes
                                     Cnc Billet 6061 Bonded Clamshell nodes
                                     Chain Case Cnc Billet 6061 Bonded Clamshell
Fork............................."Righty" Carbon 110
Transmission..................Custom SRAM i-9 - 9 speed Internal Gear hub
Cranks..........................Hollowgram SL w/custom 34T spider-ring
Bottom Bracket:............Cannondale "Double Wedge" Eccentric w/ custom Bearings
Chain.............................Sram 9-speed
Brakes..........................Avid Juicy Ultimate w/ 185mm rotors (Custom Rear Rotor)
Front Hub.....................Lefty SL
Rear Hub......................SRAM Custom i-9 CNC Billet with Ultra Thin bearings
Rims.............................Gigantex Carbon WH19 32h
Spokes.........................DT Aerospeed Black
Tires.............................Vittoria Randoneur Pro 26"x1.5
Stem.............................SI Stem Steerer
Handlebar.....................Control Tech 25.4 carbon
Shifters..........................Sram i-9
Seatpost........................USE Alien Aero carbon
Pedals...........................Cannondale Octupus 2
Lights............................Cannondale SI stem light front , Fizik LED rear


Can't get enough? If you made it this far than you deserve to find these. Here are some exclusive images grabbed recently at the factory as things were wrapping up before Eurobike.


From left to right: Dale Krantz, Jeremy Miksell, Chris Dodman, Ron Jones.


From left to right: Ron Jones, Tom Nieri, Scott Dague &  Archi Ziviello

Chad Showalter


Chris Dodman


From left to right: Dale Krantz, Ron Jones, Scott Dague

Stay tuned......

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