Cannondale - ATK or Dinli?

Mar. 01, 2004 By Dean Waters
Many of you probably heard about ATK purchasing all of the Cannondale ATV parts inventory and hiring some of the top staff. "American Made", "Race Ready" - it seemed to fit with ATK and their product line.

Having heard the same news over the past few months, via rumors or official press, we were surprised when we walked by the Dinli booth at the Dealer Powersports show in Indy and saw that familiar aluminum chassis spotlighted in the center of their booth. In fact, Dinli purchased all of the Intellectual Property from Cannondale and hired one of Cannondale's top engineers.

We tracked down Justin Brown, Vice President at Dinli USA, to find out just what was up. Shown in the headline photo here is the Dinli Speed 500. The Dinli Speed 500 was just unveiled to the dealers before the Indy Dealer Expo. Dinli will be producing two new models - the Speed 500 and the Cannibal 450.

The Speed will be marketed towards the big-bore recreational rider and will compete directly with models like the Yamaha Raptor and the Polaris Predator. The Cannibal 450 is for the racer and meant to go head-to-head with the Yamaha YFZ450 and Honda TRX450R. To break into the market in a big way, Dinli expects to sell the new Cannibal 450 at $1,000 less than the YFZ450.

Changes from the Original Cannondale The engine will be a new design that the Cannondale engineers have been working on for quite some time. The engine will feature a larger case with more oil capacity and they expect horsepower to be in the high 40's, making it comparable to the YFZ450. An external oil cooler will also be used, as the oil will no longer be circulated through the frame. The frame will be cast rather than extruded. Dinli expects that the new cast frame will be lighter than the previous Cannondale frame. Dinli is also casting the swingarm, and pre-production versions show it is both lighter and stronger than the original swingarms.

Other changes will include a new transmission with reverse. Suspension will be an aftermarket high-end version, but most likley not Ohlin. Dinli is still talking with several suspension companies and has not signed a manufacturer they can announce. Speed Vs. Cannibal

The Speed will have a taller, more-agressive tire, a slightler taller stance and plusher suspension. The engine mapping will be less aggressive to create a machine that is more trail-friendly. The Cannibal version will feature a low profile MX-type tire and will have a more MX-style suspension setup for the racer. It will also come with a more agressive, harder-hitting engine MAP.

Production Full specs will be made available in the next few months and production units are expected to be at dealers in the October time frame. Dinli is talking with many of the previous Cannondale dealers and expects many to come aboard. They currently maket the Dinli product in 19 countries and sold 75,000-80,000 units in 2003. ATV Racing

These developments follow a busy year for a new Taiwanese manufacturer building on American-made Cannondale technology. 2004 will be a building and development year as well, preparing for the launch next year directly into battle with Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki. Dinli is accepting race resumes... ATK?

So where does this leave ATK? ATK is not ready to make any formal announcements, but say they will have units available - in the mean time, they can take care of all of the current Cannondale owners with a full line of parts available.

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