The swansong of the Cannondale motorcycles (a short-lived subsidiary of the American bicycle company) was the E440, an enduro twin of the X440 motocrosser. It was a disaster, the culmination of an $80 million investment that bankrupted the motorcycle division.
The E440 and E400 were spec’d with premium components, like Ohlins forks and rear shock, Magura controls, and fuel injection. The company said all the right things when developing the bike – Dirt Rider magazine even named the 400 the bike of the year two years before it was released! Part of this was because of the features. In certain ways, it was a decade ahead of the times. Features like a backwards cylinder, an upfront airbox, electric start, and fuel injection took several more years to make it to the dirt bikes of the big 5 manufacturers. Unfortunately, all this tech (especially in the engine) caused engineering problems that Cannondale struggled to solve. Pre-production units showed lots of little problems, and Cannondale rushed the bike to market, where it was revealed to be heavy, undersprung, and fairly unreliable.
In addition, the electric starter was useless when the bike got ho, and there was no kickstarter backup. Fast forward a couple of years, and Cannondale made some fixes (and increased displacement) to create the E440. But by then, it was too late. Cannondale was still losing money on each bike they sold, and the improvements in the next generation were not enough to remove the stigma the company had earned itself. Cannondale filed for bankruptcy in January of 2003, and ATk bought the rights to the engine soon after. Want to learn more about why this bike flopped? PulpMX has an interesting read on the X400 as part of a “Worst Bikes Ever” article. Find it here.
This example is said to have just 10 hours of use, though it needs an air filter and light bulbs. The sale includes the original kick stand, number plate, and left number plate. There’s some scratches on the plastic but it otherwise looks like it’s barely been used. Find this Cannondale for sale here on Craigslist for $2,100 in Menifee, California.
This bike-uriousity brought to you by Hugh D!