Cannondale Bike Reviews for 2021

If you are riding a Cannondale, you know how amazing it feels. Cannondale produces aluminum race bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, and accessories such as helmets, shoes, bottle cages, etc.

The company has also pioneered several innovations. For example, they own one of the unique mountain bikes, the Cannondale lefty.

If you haven’t been lucky enough to pedal one, we are going to tell you how it feels to ride their bikes. Our Cannondale review will talk about their mountain bikes, full suspension, and hardtails, for every riding discipline out there.

Tech Innovations by Cannondale

All bike brands have had their in-house inventions that have been used to sell their bikes. However, Cannondale is considered the most innovative of all the brands.

Here are some of the bike tech that Cannondale has pioneered.

Lefty Fork

Every time someone shouts Cannondale, I think of the lefty suspension fork. That means the unusual invention is directed associated with Cannondale.

Riders either like this fork or hate it. Traditionally, all forks have two legs, but lefty comes with one left leg. The lefty reduces the weight of the bike and improves stiffness.

CAAD Aluminum Frames

CAAD means Cannondale Advanced Aluminum Design, and it’s a series of aluminum frame designs that make these frames more appealing to cyclists.

It was first introduced in 1996, and these frames are not only stiff but they are also light and comfortable.

In addition, the frames are often tapered, heat-treated, butted, and hydroformed. These light frames make it possible for cyclists to bike with speed.

HollowGram Si Cranks

HollowGram System Integration cranks are known to perform better than the competition. The cranks are used in many Cannondale bikes.

They are stiff, light, and modular. The chainrings are mounted in one piece. These cranks opened gates to the light and power-focused press-fit cranksets available today.

Kingpin Suspension System

The Kingpin suspension system is the latest innovation intended for the rear of some Cannondale bikes.

It was first used on the Topstone carbon gravel bikes. The seat stay is connected to the seat tube with a thru-axle to give the rear of the bike 30mm of travel.

BB30 and BB30A

Before Cannondale availed their BB30 and BB30A bottom brackets to the world of cycling, bottom brackets were very complicated.

It consisted of a shell, an aluminum spindle to connect the cranks with the crank arm on the left, and they let their competitors copy the invention.

With these innovations, Cannondale bikes can be pricey but they are well worth every penny.

Best Cannondale Mountain Bikes

1. Cannondale Trail/Tango

Cannondale Trail Tango

Specs

  • Fork: 75-120mm travel
  • Wheel size: 27.5” or 29”
  • Frame Sizes: XS, S, M (27.5). M, L, XL (29”)
  • Frame Material: Alloy
  • MTB Type: Hardtail

The Cannondale Trail or Tango series has cheap, entry-level Cannondale mountain bikes. It’s a bike that targets newbies and those not willing to spend a lot on a bike but wants an MTB that can take them from point A to B.

The Trail is a unisex bike, while Tango is a model designed for women. Most bike companies have women-specific bikes, including Cannondale.

The characteristics of such bikes are a curved top tube, although not in all bikes, a lady specified seat, and the grips.

The Trail or Tango is a great entry-level mountain bike for commuting and also for casual rides. They ride fine off-road but are not suitable for rocky and steep conditions.

However, if you are the kind of rider that loves exploring mellow trails and gravel roads just outside your city, this is your bike of choice.

These bikes are built with lightweight aluminum with an impressive technology known as AI that allows the company to improve the traction of their bikes by shortening the back.

The OutFront geometry, another technology introduced by Cannondale, gives stable handling to the rider and soaks bumps with the front forks.

The bikes come with a 1x or 2x drivetrain and RockShox or SR Suntour forks, depending on the level of the bike. So whether you are looking for a bike to enjoy light rides and off-road use, you can take the Cannondale Trail/Tango.

The series starts from Trail 8 and Tango 6, which are budget bikes on the list, and the most expensive ones being Trail 1 and Tango 1.

2. Cannondale Cujo/Scarlet

Cannondale Scarlet

Specs

  • Fork: 100-120mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 27.5”+
  • Frame Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Alloy
  • MTB Type: Hardtail

The Cannondale Cujo and Scarlet are budget hardtails but with plus-sized tires for a smoother ride. They are best suited for off-roading. They offer better traction than Trail. Most of them are long-travel bikes due to the conditions they ride in.

While Trail is fast and the trails and rides better than Cujo on-road, Cujo is stable and confidence-inspiring offroad.

Besides, its long-travel features favor many bikers looking for comfort on the trails even though they are on a budget.

Cujo is a unisex bike, while Scarlet, as you guessed it, is women-specific. Both are excellent bikes that are equipped with 27.5+ wheels with tires of up to 2.8” width, although you can downscale.

Did you know that you can also ride this bike downhill without any stress?

Yes, with the 120mm fork, you can run over rocks and drop downhill like a DH racer. Cujo is just one of the best and most affordable hardtails out there.

The bike is also equipped with a set of hydraulic brakes and a 1x drivetrain. Though lightweight, Cujo, and Scarlet have the firmest aluminum frames capable of taking any technical rides as they come.

Just like the Trail, this bike is not suited for very rocky or ste4ep conditions. There’s only one Scarlet available in the series, and Cujo 1, 2, and 3. Cujo 3 is the most affordable in the lot. You can upgrade the parts for a smoother and better ride.

3. Cannondale F-Si

Cannondale F-Si

Specs

  • Fork: 100mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”, 27.5”
  • Frame Sizes: XS for 27.5”, S, M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • MTB Type: Hardtail

The F-Si is the first Cannondale Lefty has featured on our list, and it’s one of the hottest hardtails ever.

This is one of the lightest high-quality bikes in the market. What’s more, if you are looking for an XC race-type hardtail, you can never get it wrong with a hardtail.

All the models, except the Carbon 5 model, come with a lefty fork. Carbon 5 is the most affordable in the F-Si series. The bike is suitable for racing or XC racing, and it climbs well.

According to Cannondale, the Lefty Ocho fork found in these bikes is the stiffest and smoothest cross-country forks ever made.

They also have a powerful braking system with the help of disc brakes. I have ridden the Cannondale F-Si, and it does feel like a completely different bike.

Now that the fork is Cannondale’s, they have developed the fork and the angles to improve handling and stability at high speeds. The fork also delivers super sharp and slow turns.

The weight of the bike’s frame is estimated to be less than 2.2 pounds, and a fully built bike with a lefty fork does not exceed 20 pounds.

The bike is ready to concur those XC trails and get you to the finish line before everyone else, but it can only roll as fast as you can pedal it.

If you have been looking for the lightest carbon MTB, then the F-Si is just the kind of bike you need to become the next champion.

However, if you want a bike that is fast on steep and technical, and bumpy trails, you need the bike that’s coming next in the review.

4. Cannondale Scalpel

Cannondale Scalpel Carbon SE

Specs

  • Fork: 100mm travel
  • Shock: 100mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame Size: M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Carbon
  • MTB Type: Full Suspension

Before the Scalpel, there was the Scalpel-Si which was discontinued in 2020. There wasn’t much development with the title, though, except excluding “Si.”

The 2020 Scalpel came out harder and more equipped and tougher on the trails than the older version of herself.

The Scalpel is an XC bike, and the fun does not end there. It’s a full-suspension bike, and whatever the F-Si can do, the Scalpel, with its both suspensions, can do better.

If you thought the flexing seat stay on the new Scott Spark was something, you probably didn’t know about Cannondale’s FlexPivot technology.

The FlexPoint is a patented technology, meaning only Cannondale can use it. It excludes the need for bearings and bushings to save not only on weight but maintenance. The chainstay flexes from both sides to produce up to 100mm of rear travel.

The bike comes in different models, the Carbon 3 being the budget option while the Hi-MOD Ultimate fetches the highest price.

This is the ideal ride for the cyclist looking for a more flexible bike than its hardtail sibling. The bike is most suited for the most unforgiving bumpy, steep, and fast technical tracks.

This bike can fly around the hills and your local trails because it was built to get punished. Like the F-Si, the Scalpel comes with the Lefty Ocho fork for precise handling even when making complicated turns.

The results of these two suspensions are explosive sprints, fantastic traction, effective climbing, and fast speeds on descents.

5. Cannondale Jekyll

Cannondale Jekyll

Specs

  • Fork: 150/170mm travel
  • Shock: 150/165mm travel
  • Wheel Size, 27.5, 29”
  • Frame Size: M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Alloy/Carbon
  • MTB: Full Suspension

If you are a downhill or enduro type of rider, let’s gather here. We have the perfect bike for you, all the way from the town of Cannondale, and it no other than the Cannondale Jekyll.

Jekyll is also the bike with the longest travel from the company. It’s indeed a killer on downhill trails, just like the name sounds.

You can decide to get a 27.5” bike or go with the 29er. It’s great that you have an option. This is the type of bike for you if you want an enduro or downhill bike capable of descending at rocket speed.

The 29er option has the rolling advantage and can also run over obstacles more quickly than 27.5.” For that reason, it comes with 150mm long-travel front and rear.

The smaller sibling, the 27.5” comes with a 170mm and 165mm combo forks and rear suspension, which make the bike as capable as the 29er. Both bikes are racers and can also be used for casual mountain biking.

The shocks of both bikes were developed by Fox and Cannondale, with both featuring the Hustle and Flow.

Flow mode allows the bike to take big hits and the shock to operate in full gravity, while Hustle makes climbing and pedaling easier.

You can opt for either aluminum or carbon frames when purchasing your Jekyll, but you can be sure that the carbon frame will cost you slightly more.

Once you set your eyes on the bike, the things you’ll notice about the bike are the LockR pivots and AI offset, among other Cannondale technologies.

These are meant to help keep your bike more stable and stiff during your rides for better handling.

If the downhill trails in your town code give you sleepless nights thinking of which bike to take there, or you want to take part in the next race with a bike that will not let you down, get your own Jekyll.

6. Cannondale Habit

Cannondale Habit

Specs

  • Fork: 130/140 mm travel
  • Shock: 130 mm travel
  • Wheel Size: 29”
  • Frame Size: M, L, XL
  • Frame Material: Alloy/Carbon
  • MTB Type: Full Suspension

Cannondale Habit is the hulk of all Cannondale MTBs. It’s such a quiver killer that some of the world’s most famous athletes are competing for a piece of it.

The bike is versatile and capable of rolling over every type of terrain laid before it.

Whether you love cycling in the desert, running the bike across the woods, or crossing rivers while on top of a bike, Cannondale Habit will be just the perfect bike for the job and your ultimate companion in discovering the adventurous trails.

Some say it’s like the Jekyll 29, meaning it’s excellent for enduro riding. Other riders state that it rides better than the Scalpel.

The Habit is the kind of bike you can ride every day, with all the controls on your bars. Yes, it’s a bike with an adjustable geometry.

The whole geometry can be changed via a flip-chip. This model is more of a trail bike that can do other types of rides. Habit is fast uphill and on steep descents. It’s the perfect bike for climbers and those who love riding over rocks and stairs at times.

One more thing the flip-chip allows you to do is adjusting the suspension and run some 27.5 wheels.

The bike comes as a 29er, but you might decide to change the wheels to 27.5-inch ones for more agility and the bike to negotiate corners better.

One of the notable advantages of this bike over the Scalpel is the design that makes it easier to service the bike.

Full-sus bikes can be a headache when it comes to servicing and maintenance, but the Habit will make your life less stressful and make your trips to the service shop minimal.

What’s more, the bike can also be used for jumps and tricks. It’s not the type of bike that will break under you after hitting the ground.

Habit is for the pro-rider and novice who wants to climb a hill, turn around, and ascend the same hill first. There are also two frame options, alloy, and carbon, and you can choose the one you prefer.

Also Read: Cannondale vs Trek

Warranty and After-Sale Service

Cannondale offers a lifetime warranty for the frames, but only to the original owner of the bike.

The limited warranty does not imply that the frame will last forever, so it covers the manufacturing defects that may occur within the normal lifespan.

Downhill and dirt jump and other frames of gravity have a three-year warranty from the date of purchase. Chainstays, shock links, swing arms, and full-sus frames have a five-year warranty.

Forks are covered under the frame warranty. Cannondale branded components have a one-year warranty.

All warranties do not apply to subsequent owners but the original owners. The warranty only applies to bikes bought from an authorized retailer.

The bike should be accompanied by the purchase receipts, assembled, and cleaned. Damage from normal wear and tear is not covered.

The company offers after-sale service to its esteemed customers. For any queries with your purchased bike, or if you need assistance, visit Cannondale’s official website and click “Contact Us” for more help.

History of Cannondale

The Cannondale Bicycle Corporation is American-based, but it’s the sister company of Canada’s Conglomerate Dorel Industries.

The corporation was founded by two family members, Murdock and Montgomery McGregor, in 1971. The company’s sole purpose was to create precast concrete housing. 

It went from private to public in 1995, following a $22 million IPO, and the rest is history.

It’s Cannondale that introduced carbon fiber frames to the bike industry before other companies realized, whoopsy, so aluminum is not the best option after all? They also have lightweight steel or titanium bikes.

The production of MTBs started in 1984, and today, they have some of the most advanced mountain bikes in the world making them one of the best MTB brands for beginners and pros alike.

The Cannondale lefty, for instance, which I ride often, is a masterpiece. They also have a lefty gravel bike version.

Last Remarks

Whether you are looking to buy your first or next bike, you can try gifting yourself a Cannondale. It’s a beautiful bike from my own experience. Try it and let us know your experience in the comments.

From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 10+ trails across the globe, for Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

Leave a Comment