The Art of Bringing The Pieces Together
By Thierry Manfe on Jan 28, 2010
By now you certainly heard about the acquisition and about the 5-hour webcast given on the 27th about the Sun-Oracle joint strategy. So I am not going to discuss that. In fact, as an exception to this blog, I am not going to write about IT technologies. As something really unique, I am going to discuss mountain-biking.
This bike is certainly the lightest mountain-bike ever shipped fully equiped, ready to use. Weight being one of the top 3 - if not top 2 - key performance indicators in mtb-racing (with a 3% slope 60% of the biker energy is spent on fighting gravity), this makes this bike extremely competitive.
But what is really interesting is to understand how the engineers who designed the product could get such a result, and the answer is: integration. Nowadays the majority of bike manufacturers design their frame, get them built by a third party, and assemble them with of-the-shelf components. As a result, the way the frame and the components are put together is pretty much standard accross the industry.
Cannondale is one of the few player in the game that has its own set of components, such as the front suspension (yes, again, one of the lightest in the industry), the stem, or the bottom bracket, and they design them to get a straightforward integration that reduces weight. By the way it is still possible to set up their very special front suspension on a non-Cannondale frame.
So, it's because they design all the components that the complete system performs so well. Also, since Cannondale manufactures the frame themselves, they can offer a life-time guaranty on it - wathever the weight of the pilot. Yes, controlling the technologies your product is made of comes with its own set of advantages.
That said, next time, I'll get back to IT technologies