Cannondale's Slice reminds me of what's happened to the power meter market over the past 6 or 8 months. The market, rather than the manufacturer, seems to have set the price for this bike.
The MSRPs on Slices took a big dive within the week, as in about 30 percent. The market spoke, Cannondale heard, and what was a pretty good bike became a really good value.
The MSRP on Cannondale's Slices are now as follows:
Slice 105: $1,969
Slice Ultegra: $2,699
Slice Ultegra Di2: $3,199
As to the chassis, this bike very successfully ridden by Heather Jackson, Michele Vesterby (pink version pictured), Andreas Dreitz and others. Dreitz rode a 1:57 half-Ironman split on this bike. The price might be entry-level, but not the bike. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. As James (Sean Connery) Bond reminds us, “There's no sense going out half-cocked.” Let's discuss the pluses and minuses of this bike.
The Slice as introduced last year was, frankly, a miss if Cannondale's goal was to make a bike that competes with the Speed Concept, Felt IA, and others in this class. But it was a hit if the intended customer was a triathlete who didn't need fancy or overly sexy, and wanted a bike that fit, did not come apart underneath you while riding, could be adjusted, and you could travel with it.
How is it aerodynamically? Cannondale never really did make a big deal out of it. What data I have seen is that it's about even with its old Slice, which was a pretty slippery bike, not far behind the Shiv and the P3. This is what you might expect because, well, look at it. This frame doesn't have a lot of surface area. Do you want to speed it up? Change a couple of components and the gap is closed between this and frames that are slightly more aero. If you look at some of the images embedded, this is how the bike is ridden by the pros.
As the Slice is not a surface area frame, it's lighter. Pay some attention to the big chain ring, a brake caliper, aerobars, wheels and tires and you've got an inexpensive, lightweight, nice-fitting, easy to adjust, speedy machine underneath you. Hop the bike up at your own pace.
The 105 Slice is tempting at its price, but the Ultegra Slice is the better deal in certain circumstances. There is Ultegra instead of 105 and it's Ultegra throughout except for the chain. And the wheels and tires are upgraded. But the decision in my opinion pivots on the saddle and the crank. I've always been a big fan of Cannondale's Hollowgram cranks and bottom brackets. These are BB30 native, that is, they were made for the BB30 standard that Cannondale has pioneered. These are great cranks, and expensive. Hard to make. Consider that the 105 Slice Cannondale cannot even afford to put its own crank on that bike. That's how good these cranks are.
The Hollowgrams are compact (110mm) bolt pattern cranks, which makes them very adaptable to a variety of riders over a variety of courses.
Then there's the saddle. On the Ultegra bike it's a Fizik Tritone, and Fizik first made this with that “valley” in between the walls on either side quite narrow. They modified this saddle, widened the front of it, and it fits comfortably for a wider group of riders. We've had a lot of folks on these two widths of the Tritone. If the Slice comes with the wider Tritone, and that's a saddle you like, this saves you $150 right there versus having to buy an aftermarket saddle to replace the OE saddle on this bike. Use your negotiating skills, see if you can make sure the wider Tritone is what comes on the Slice you're ordering.
There is just one problem with this bike. The Visiontech aerobar that is pretty well height unadjustable, at least in the way we'd like it to be adjustable. And, the bloom is off the rose of the (almost) straight aerobar extensions. Unless this aerobar works for you, then you may have to change it out but at these prices you can afford to.
Let's place this in perspective. Felt's IA Ultegra Di2 costs $4,999, and this is a screaming deal. The Slice electronic bikes start at $3,199. Is the frame comparable? No. The Felt is a better frame in my opinion. But if you're on a budget it's not half-again better, and that's the price difference between these two electronically-shifted bikes. This means you can afford some upgrades, including the aerobar.
These new prices make this bike the kind of value that only comes around every few years, and honestly it wasn't planned this way. Market dynamics – the state of tri bike inventories, how many of these bikes Cannondale built, competitive forces – have conspired to push the prices down to where they now are. What wasn't an entry-level bike now is, not because of the bike, but because of a market reality that, at least temporarily, results in a sweet spot for buyers. Long live supply and demand.