Cannondale Begins Shipping FX400 ATV
Cannondale announced that they have begun shipping production
units of their highly-anticipated FX400 ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle). The
American-made $7,950 FX400 features a host of innovations, including a
sophisticated four-stroke engine with electronic fuel-injection, and the
industry's first twin-spar perimeter aluminum ATV frame. The announcement
came at the start of the 2001 Dealernews International Powersports Dealer
Cannondale Founder & President Joe Montgomery praised his design and production
teams for bringing the new model to market so quickly. "Our people have
put a tremendous amount of work into this project," said Montgomery, "and
the heart and soul and sweat that they've invested show in the amazing
quality and performance of the FX400."
Besides electronic fuel-injection, the FX400's electric-start engine also
features a one-piece crankcase, cassette transmission, reversed cylinder
head with a dual overhead-cam design, and separate engine and clutch oils.
The FX400's race-ready, TIG-welded 6061-T6 aluminum frame is every bit
as radical, with a linkless rear suspension, in-frame oil reservoir, and
replaceable engine rails, brush guard, grab rail, sub-frame and steering
Cannondale's designers haven't spared any expense in outfitting the FX400
either. Along with its innovative frame and engine, the new ATV has high-quality
Ohlins front and rear suspension, a nickel-plated FMF exhaust pipe and
silencer, ITP aluminum wheels and Holeshot tires, and an oversized steering
column from Arens Brothers. The FX400 also boasts forged, aerospace-quality
aluminum front and rear hubs, sprocket, rotor carriers and knuckles, with
other high-strength forgings used in critical stress areas.
The combined result is impressive. According to the company, the FX400
is not only the lightest production sport ATV available, but it also has
the highest power-to-weight ratio of any quad on the market. Cannondale
has also put the FX400 through extreme testing to ensure its reliability
and durability. Besides extensive dyno and track testing, the FX400 has
also been subjected to a battery of tests in the company's ESAL (Experimental
Stress Analysis Lab) facility, including frontal-impact simulation, jump-landing
simulation, and a pair of endurance tests.
Pennsylvania motorsports dealer George Gatto of Gatto Cycles received
the first production FX400 shipped from Cannondale's factory last week,
and he shares Cannondale's enthusiasm for the new four-wheeler. "The FX400
looks awesome! It looks mean," said Gatto. "It really hits the mark with
the ATV market." A Dealernews Top 100 dealer, Gatto pointed out that the
ATV market is much bigger and much stronger than the motorcycle market,
and "the FX400 is a home-run."
Gatto, who is also a long-time Cannondale bicycle dealer, went on to praise
the company. "The fact that Cannondale makes its products here in the
U.S. is very important to us, and so is the relationship we've developed
with the people at Cannondale. There's a great stability with Cannondale.
I can name a number people there who we've been dealing with for more
than 15 years," said Gatto. "I don't have those kind of long-term relationships
with my other suppliers. Cannondale has great people, and what they've
accomplished in motorsports in just three years is nothing short of phenomenal."
The debut of the FX400 is just the latest in a string of positive developments
for Cannondale in the motorsports industry. The company's first motorsports
product, the MX400 motocrosser, is now garnering extremely positive reviews
from consumers following Cannondale's successful resolution of some reliability
issues during a production hiatus last fall. Cannondale is also preparing
to begin production of a second motorcycle model, the cross-country oriented
XC400, in April.
Finally, Cannondale's Montgomery is featured in a five-page interview
in the latest issue of Racer X Illustrated magazine. The article, titled
"American Beauty," touches on the difficulties the company experienced
last year, how Montgomery and his employees worked through them, and Cannondale's
prospects for the future. Look for the Connecticut-based company to receive
additional exposure in the coming months, as tests of both the FX400 and
the XC400 make their way into the pages of other industry magazines.
In addition to its motorsports products, Cannondale (NASDAQ: BIKE) is
the world's leading manufacturer of high-performance bicycles. The company's
bicycles and bicycle accessories, which include clothing, packs and bags,
and HeadShok suspension forks, are marketed under the Cannondale brand
name and "Handmade in USA" logo, and are sold in the U.S. and in more
than 60 foreign countries.