Tuesday, March 25, 2014

And the Worst Press Release of the Year Award goes to...


How much travel does it have? What damping adjustments does it offer? Full cartridge damper, emulsion, or open bath? Adjustable air volume? Does it run a full length 1.5" steerer or can I mount it on a non-Cannondale frame that doesn't suck?

None of these questions are answered, but after reading the press release I can cite several vague buzzwords that probably maybe sort of kind of represent the opinions of three athletes who are paid to ride the fork. Sweet.

Press releases can be daunting things for the uninitiated, so Team Robot will help translate for those not versed in the language of PR:

PR: "The team riders were instrumental in the development of the SuperMax’s new internal components, most of all its new Wide Mouth Piston, which increases the small bump sensitivity and high-speed suppleness of the fork."

Translation: All four team riders were brought together for two important product development meetings. The first meeting was two years ago, where marketing and engineering got together and listened to input from the riders on what they would like to see in a new all mountain fork. One of the four team riders asked for specific product features and specs, citing other comparable products and sources of design inspiration. The other three riders asked for a fork that was "totally sweet," "more badass than the last fork," and "bitchin on bumps and turns." The input from all four riders was promptly ignored by marketing and engineering departments, and development of the fork began as if the meeting had not occurred. The second meeting happened 4 months ago, before the fork went to market, but long after all important decisions were made and after any significant changes could be affected. After presenting the mostly-final product to the riders, one of the riders cited specific shortcomings in the product and asked for iterative changes to upcoming model years, and the other three riders nodded up and down whenever representatives from marketing or engineering used large words or acronyms. When pressed for their opinions, the same three riders said the product "looked pretty dialed" and that it "should ride pretty sweet."

All four of the team riders currently believe that "Wide Mouth" was the name of the informant in Woodward and Berstein's famous investigation of the Nixon Whitehouse in the 1972 Watergate scandal.

PR: "Cannondale is excited to announce that its North American OverMountain team will be racing and adventuring on the all-new SuperMax suspension fork for the 2014 season and beyond. The SuperMax will debut in the Enduro World Series under OverMountain team riders Mark Weir, Ben Cruz, Jason Moeschler and team newcomer Marco Osborne."

Translation: All four guys have been talking about which race will be the designated 29er pedal-fest race where they can run this new Cannondale quagmire and not hate life, because they have to race this fork at least once to get their Lefty paycheck. They all agreed it would probably be the Scotland race. When asked if he would consider running the new LeftyMax in EWS events, Cannondale's Jerome Clementz apologized and explained that he's trying to actually win races.

PR: "The SuperMax’s dual crown structure makes it radically stiffer than the competition, yet the minimalist single-leg design makes it as light as some of its competitors lightest cross country race forks."

Translation: This was literally copied and pasted from Cannondale ad-copy from the '99 Raven Super-V 2000.

PR: “Going into the SuperMax testing I was a bit apprehensive,” said mountain bike legend Mark Weir. “After I got on it and started riding, it is a difference you would have to ride to believe. I’ve been riding the same corners for 15 years, and I try to carry my speed through every time. On the SuperMax, I’ve never been faster.”

Translation: I was pretty sure this fork was going to suck, but then it didn't suck as bad as I expected. Mercifully for my riding and personal well-being Cannondale has never required in my contract that I ride their forks, but this year they were offering some serious money. I shopped around for a long time trying to get a better deal, heck I even talked to X-Fusion! They couldn't match what Cannondale was offering, so I'm happy to report that the Lefty Max is now officially the fastest fork in the world. And you can trust what I say, like when I told you that the Weirwolf was a good cornering tire.

PR: "Weir’s teammate, Jason Moeschler, says “After riding and testing the SuperMax, I never want to let my fork go.”"

Translation: Cannondale team rider Jason Moeschler was actually out riding when the emails started circulating to finalize this press release. The above sentence was actually penned by Dylan Overton, a Cannondale marketing intern who is currently getting C's in business classes at Southern Connecticut State but who has always wanted to ride Slickrock in Moab, who loves the "soul of the ride," and who states that the "technical, rooty, and rocky" terrain in Connecticut "is the sickest." Others in the marketing department felt that the sentence was vague and meaningless, but also recognized that sentences that far into a press release never get read by anyone anyway, and they returned to emailing videos of motorcycle crashes to each other.

PR: Cannondale’s newest OverMountain rider, Marco Osborne, comments “The new SuperMax fork is perfect for my style of riding. I am pretty hard on my equipment and so far it has taken everything I could throw at it.”

Translation: I have been riding this fork for two months and it's still working. Normally that's not worth writing home about, but I don't have much to go on. It's a Lefty. I'm trying to anticipate people's number one concern with this fork, and 15 years after the first Lefty came out it's still "holy crap I'm going to die it only has one fork leg." I figure anyone who actually cares about fork performance is going to buy a Pike or 34 anyway, so I'm not going to waste your time talking about the damping or spring curve.


The industry said...

Reality hurts.

Peete. Sr.LC said...

Mountain bikers need stuff that has more practical uses. You know, I've heard this company in Seattle is experimenting with a seat tube design that integrates a small double chamber bong inside, and you run the inhale hose along the top tube, like it was a third brake line.
That's innovation that has appeal to the recreational mtber, as well as the hardcore Enduro racer - who doesn't want to slow his time down, just to light up some juicebud.

Innovation.........u cant stop it

Anonymous said...

Can we just stop for a second an appreciate just how bloody ugly that thing is? It was almost semi-cool in that strange late 90's early 2000's weirder-the-better-y2k-moar-futuristic-the-betterz era but come on, it's 2014 and that thing just looks terribly dated. #onebeer to the first one of those guys who pulls some vintage CG 180 degree turnbar moves for the fans.

Ruth, duh! said...

Kyle's gonna start running these on his race bikes - they're paying him so much! I can't wait to have kids!

Anonymous said...

Do you remember that company that offered an aftermarket steel swingarm for the SC Bullit, that upped the travel to 8" and featured an integrated weed pipe?

Me, neither

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

That first picture makes me want to cry and sell everything and move somewhere flat and hot like Alabama or Mississippi and just sit inside my trailer for the rest of my life with the A/C on full blast.

Stikman said...

To the guy that said he wants to move to alabama, I just read that youporn did a study, what location watches the most gay porn on their site...it was the south. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

I really hope some of these Cannondale racers come up here this year and race in some of the OES and CDC races.

TyoToutTerrain said...

integrated weed pipe on an aftermarket bullit swingarm?

must've been risse...

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- you are wrong. The Specialized Press release announcing their 650b bikes surpasses this…by a long way, IMHO.

Some highlights:
There are also some riders, particularly newer riders, who might be intimidated by the look of the 29-inch wheel. (what noob is dropping this kind of coin on a bike, that would be intimidated by a wheel-size?)

our priority is serving the riders, who have clearly asked for this type of bike. We are not slowing down one pedal stroke on 29-inch innovation, as we believe in 29ers. (but not so much we won't cash in on some 650b business)

They won’t go away altogether, but expect to see more 650b bikes and equipment. We call them 650b because that is what they are. The name 27.5” is misleading, as they are not in the middle of 29” & 26”.
(thanks for that clarification, and way to stay on top of market trends - makes it easier to follow, eh?)