As a lot of the marathon racing world moves to full suspension, Australian racer James Downing has just received his 2015 Cannondale F-Si – the update version of the ever popular F29. Quite possibly one of the most popular carbon hard tail race bikes for privateers, along with the Scott Scale 29. We’ve heard about the changes between the two models already, here’s a look at the F-Si in race spec – for the Easter in the Alice stage race in Alice Springs
You need to have control, and how you contact your bike makes a big difference. Downing is a very handy bike handler so really pays attention to his setup. He’s running a Fizik Tundra 00 saddle with carbon rails, finding the flat profile is the right shape.
Handlebars as the stock FSA units, with 5 degrees sweep, run at their full width. While he’s used a Leonardi stem to get really low on his F29, the shorter headtube of the F-Si means Downing can run the stock stem.
Having used Lizard Skins grips in the past, Downing fitted Ritchey WCS Ergo foam grips, but soon shopped away the bulge, finding it uncomfortable.
You’ll notice the fork lockout is close to hand, an easy way to set a bike up when running a 1x groupset.
Pedals are Crank Bros Ti – without the sleeves. The Louis Garneau shoes Downing has moved to for 2015 have enough support with the sole that they aren’t required.
You might have picked up from the first look we did on the bike that the Cannondale spider doesn’t look too standard. It isn’t. It’s a custom unit that has come from Sweden, that works with the Rotor QX1 ring. Downing is about the one percenters, and he reckons the oval rings are one of them.
The rest of the drivetrain is pretty much XX1 save for the X01 cassette. Brakes are XX with 160mm rotors front and rear.
There are ports for a Shimano Di2 drivetrain on the frame.
While the bike comes stock with ENVE wheels, Downing is running his 2014 ENVE rim that’s built 3x onto an American Classic on the back. He finds the 3x feels stiffer than 2x under power, and the hubs spins more freely than the DT unit in the stock wheels.
Along with his bottom bracket bearings, Downing repacks his own bearings and runs upgraded ceramic units, often without the inner seal, to gain more of a free roll whenever possible. And trust me, this bike feels smooth.
Tyres are Maxxis Ikon 29×2.2 with EXO casing. They are possibly one of the most popular tyres for racing in Alice Springs. They have a good bag size, roll well, grip well, and the casing is close to bombproof. They’re not what Downing usually runs, but they’re his Alice Springs Specials.
This bike is prepped for a stage race, and you have to make sure you can finish every stage. Downing has a tube taped in front of the seat post on top of the downtube. It’s out of the way of grit, and keeps the weight pretty low on the bike.
Two titanium cages keep his bottles secure, and there’s a Lezyne CO2 inflater and levers held neatly onto the Cannondale SAVE post.
A Garmin 510 helps track the numbers for analysis in the Today’s Plan software.
While the race didn’t have a great start for Downing with some misdirection on day one, his bike is letting him race very competitively, in an area he calls one of his top 3 singletrack destinations.