First Look: Cannondale’s 2016 Fat CAAD fat bike

Cannondale brings respected aluminum frame to the dirt side

Fat Bike Interbike
Cannondale brings their CAAD aluminum frame to fat bikes for 2016.

Cannondale brings their CAAD aluminum frame to fat bikes for 2016 (click to enlarge).

Cannondale Fat CAAD

Cannondale’s revered CAAD series of aluminum road bikes has been around since the CAAD 3 in 1997 (according to Wikipedia) and that model designation is still in use today with the CAAD12 series. For 2016, Cannondale is bringing their CAAD heritage to the dirt side with the all new Fat CAAD fat bike.

Olaf ’s wider clamps and inset axle offers the largest tire clearance of any fork.
Olaf ’s wider clamps and inset axle offers the largest tire clearance of any fork. (click to enlarge).

The CAAD series of road bikes has reached almost cult-like status for it’s ride qualities, durability and race-readiness. The Fat CAAD is no XC race bike, by any standards but it is interesting to see Cannondale bring their premium aluminum frame to this category. The geometry of the Fat CAAD is designed to keep the bike nimble and fun, even with fatties on and the short chainstays also help achieve this goal. The Lefty Olaf maintains the great tracking qualities of the standard size Lefty but also adds in a good bit of fork rake to keep things agile without resorting to steep head angles (which causes unwanted characteristics elsewhere). This means the Fat CAAD won’t handle like a plow even at low speeds. The Olaf has 100mm of travel, Cannondale’s PBR isolated damper technology and 60mm of offset.

One of the key feautres of the Fat CAAD is the 120mm BB30XL bottom bracket that is Cannondale’s own spindle mated with their custom offset chainring(s) and the Si crankset allows them to move the crankarms further inward without sacrificing chain clearance. This creates a fat bike with the narrowest Q-factor on the market (198mm for 1x, 204mm for 2x) which provides a more natural stance and pedaling platform.

Check out this highlight reel featuring the Fat CAAD ripping it up on both snow and dirt.

The Fat CAAD 1 (shown above – black w/green highlights and Lefty Olaf) is spec’ed with SRAM’s X01 1×11 drivetrain, SRAM Guide disc brakes, Sun Ringle MuleFut rims, DT Swiss spokes and Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 26×4.8″ snakeskin tubeless tires.

The Fat CAAD comes in five sizes (XS, SM, MD, LG, XL) and 2 models. The Fat CAAD 1 is the top-of-the-line with the Lefty Olaf and retails for $3730.00. The Fat CAAD 2 (below) comes with a Fatty-Fat rigid fork and SRAM X5/X7 2×10 drivetrain with a retail price of $2130.00.

Equipped with a Fatty-Fat rigid fork and SRAM 2x10 drivetrain, the Fat CAAD 2 is a less expensive option.

Equipped with a Fatty-Fat rigid fork and SRAM 2×10 drivetrain, the Fat CAAD 2 is a less expensive option (click to enlarge).

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This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2015 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. For more from Interbike CLICK HERE.

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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  • Andy says:

    Where was this filmed?

  • stiingya says:

    wonder how slow they climb? (notice they omit that part) 🙂 kStill, fat bikes look like fun!

  • Smitty says:

    C-dale has used CAAD in their mountain frames before. I think all their alu frames were caad back in the day. My bike was a F700 CAAD4 mtb

  • Smitty says:

    Also, I know C-dale likes the Lefty, but I think this would have been a good application for a new Headshok type fork with 80mm travel. Then you wouldn’t have to mess with different axle standards or have another front wheel when changing forks.

  • mj says:

    Have to tell ya, the pics of that bike look super cool. Really made me think hmmm, I’d love to have that bike. But did you notice how hard the (pro) riders appeared to be laboring everywhere??? They looked like they were struggling for pace and control!

  • Kit Carson says:

    Pace and control? Fat bikes are about just going out and having fun. I’ve been riding a 40+++lb Motobecane for 2 years now and it is a blast. I can climb ragged steeps on that thing that I could only dream of climbing on my “race” bike. Down hills with tons of roots?? Don’t pick lines, just rip ’em. 20 miles of nasty singletrack WILL wear you out if you try to be fast. 30 miles of snowmobile trails will feel like a century on the road but it will keep you off the trainer in the winter here in the northeast. Fat bikes are fun and I may just grab one of these Fat Caads for my birthday.

    • Stac says:

      Kit said it well, I bought a Fat this year and live in Pa. It did keep my mind fresh when I needed a mental break from Zwift and the trainer/rollers. As a mid 50 yr old ex racer that need that recovery time more as I age it gave me a reason to smile when I saw snow in the forecast. Yea, Ill have less miles in come Spring buy it helped me keep my base and sanity. Does this Cannondale come tubeless or with that ability with these wheels. Im seriously thinking about getting one if it does..if not gotta say that is an ice breaker for the price. Yea my Moto C came with that option, I swap to tubless and it was so much more fun. Ride safe

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