The Raven 2|
Thursday, April 15, 1999
The evolution of Cannondale's Raven continues as the company gets set to roll out the Raven 2 for the 1999 season. Totally redesigned, the new Raven is stiffer and lighter than the original. 1.3 pounds lighter to be exact. To put this in perspective, this is nearly twice the weight savings that Cannondale achieved with the introduction of the original Raven. However, the latest changes go far beyond shaving some weight. One look at the naked carbon fiber frame and sensual curves of the new front triangle and you'll think the bike looks more like a serpent on wheels rather than its namesake. In fact, the revamped Raven is such a quantum leap beyond its predecessor that the only parts that the two bikes share in common are the rivets used to secure the cable guides to the frame.
As with the original Raven, the Raven 2's spine absorbs vertical, in-plane loads and secures the frame's skins to the channels along the spine's lateral faces. The spine also provides secure mounting points for the frame's headset, bottom bracket, seatpost and swingarm. The new spine however, is crafted from lighter magnesium instead of aluminum, and is composed of five vertebrae instead of the original Raven's ten.
On both the Raven and the Raven 2, the frames' carbon fiber skins provide excellent resistance to torsional loads generated by pedaling forces. And because they're not required to fully absorb in-plane loads, the skins can be thinner and lighter than the walls of standard carbon fiber frames.
The Raven 2's skins are made from thermoplastic carbon fiber versus the thermoset skins on the original Raven. The Raven 2's skins also feature recesses that enhance stiffness and strength, allowing the skins to be even thinner and lighter than the original Raven. The combination of the thermoplastic skins and the magnesium spine save a half of pound and only increase the performance of the new Raven.
The Raven 2's new swingarm trims 9 ounces from the frame's weight and uses a disc-specific asymmetric design. Unlike the right-side chainstay which curves downward from the pivot for drivetrain clearance before heading back to the rear hub, the left-hand chainstay goes straight back. The direct routing adds stiffness and saves weight. This means the bike is actually lighter even though it has disc brakes. And with disc brakes you get increased stopping power and control of the bike.
Yet More Weight Shaving
Cannondale didn't stop with the frame and swingarm. Company engineers revisited every fitting and piece of hardware on the frame. A total of thirty grams were saved with a newer, lighter sealed cartridge-bearing pivot and new seat post clamps with additional cut-outs which saved another twenty eight grams. Reducing the derailleur cable housing diameter from 5mm to 4mm saved another seventeen grams.
Without a doubt, the Raven 2 is lighter, stiffer, faster and simply a better bike than the original. If you liked the first generation you'll love the new one.
The Raven 2 is available in three sizes. The large weighs in at roughly 24 pounds. Street price has not yet been set but you can count on it being fairly spendy. No matter-the Raven 2 is worth every penny.