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Cannondale Begins Shipping FX400 ATV
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 Expo.

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 stop.

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.

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