Bike Setup: stock wheels will upgrade in future. x9 shifters,thompson seatpost,fizik saddle, lock on grips...
a Weekend Warrior
from Kansas City, MO, USA
Date Reviewed: January 7, 2010
Strengths: Awesome handmade frame
Lefty Carbon SL
Weaknesses: Stock wheels are more of an all mountain product. 28mm wide rims didn't make much sense to me on a XC oriented hardtail??? They're not "bad" but I feel Cannondale could have spec'd a more fitting wheel set...
LOVE IT! I was hesitant selling my Turner 5 Spot for my first hardtail 29er but I jumped in head first and I don't have a single regret! I haven't ridden any other 29ers but I absolutely love this bike! It accelerates SO much faster than my Turner did. I actually rode my usual loop TWICE on my first ride with this thing! I'm sure my excitement gave me a bit of extra stamina but I also noticed that a significantly larger amount of my energy goes into forward thrust. I can report that I don't feel the handling is slow as some people like to say about 29ers. It may be slow with a typical fork but the Lefty Carbon SL is so incredibly stiff compared to the Fox RL the old bike had, I feel connected to the trail like never before. It's one of those bikes that you won't hate but I can't promise there's not something better out there for YOU depending on your particular tastes. All I know is I'm completely satisfied=) This bike makes a solid trail bike in stock form. With the addition of lighter bars and a lighter wheelset, it will also make a solid race bike. You can't go wrong!
Bike Setup: Converted to 1x9 - X9 shifter/X0 der.
Spinergy Xyclone wheelset
Middleburn RS8 single speed crank set
Kenda SB8 tires
FSA carbon bars
Specialized Phenom SL seat
Sun Ringle Octane pedals
CaffeLatex tubeless conversion
Other than that, all stock;p
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2009
Strengths: Great lefty .fork and frame
Weaknesses: seat clamp ,heavy wheels
My first 29er ,with a short learning curve.This is a fast bike.It makes you more confient in your riding and climbing,I highly recommend going to a 29er ,would never go back to 26inch wheels.If the wheels were lighter this would be the perfect race and crosscountry bike.
Similar Products Used: none (my last bike was a 15 yr old full suspension diamondback Vlink 3.0)
Bike Setup: stock with fox 100mm fork, C29SSMax, XTR pedals, cushier and wider seat
a Cross Country Rider
from portland, or
Date Reviewed: March 19, 2009
Strengths: Light Weight 24.95 pounds XL size, solid frame, fast!!!! MADE IN AMERICA, people need jobs these days.
Weaknesses: tires warped, perhaps from rim strip installed poorly, the strip was bunched up between the tire and the rim side in places. It is much better after I reinstalled the tires with the strip centered, this is not easy, the strip slides around too much. Still some warp but it may go away after more miles. Tires also not great in mud, but that is to be expected from this small block tread.
I have only had this bike for 3 days but I want to update this forum with 2009 info. This year the bike is moss green and is lighter than in years past. Mine is an XL and with regular double sided spd pedals it is only 24.95 pounds. The stock seat is comfortable enough. For the price this seems to be a great value. I'm 6'3" and 200 pounds and it fits great. I have been riding a light hardtail (Homegrown) for 8 years but this 29'er is a whole new experience. It is much much faster and cleans objects that have given me trouble on 26 inch wheels. Instead of looking 10-15 feet in front of me for the line, I look 30 feet down the trail and just keep the power on. Believe the hype, get a lightweight 29'er.
Strengths: 29er, with a few quick upgrades this bike can become very light. Carbon Lefty is top notch. Immediately improved my race results.
Weaknesses: the WTB's it came with were heavy. Replaced with Stan's 355 and immediately dropped two pounds.
I've raced this bike in everything from XC races to 24 hour solo races, and it handles everything like a champ. The lefty is extremely light and stiff. I have this bike down around 22 pounds, but I know people who have it down to a little above twenty.
Bike Setup: Carbon Lefty, Stan 355 tubeless wheels with maxxis ignitors, XTR cranks, Time ATAC Carbon pedals, Selle Italia Carbon/ti seat, x9 shifters. x9 rear derailleur, LX front.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2008
Strengths: its a 29er. it climbs well, it handles well, i dig the avid juicy 7, they are tight, lefty fork
Weaknesses: sram x-9 blow! the strength in my hand has increased by 10%
seat post. I would like it better with a set back post for a little more room. lefty fork, tires not a fan of WTB
its a cool bike, but i'd probably say that about any 29er. i like what the 29er brings to the trail. i dig the lefty fork until i need to do something. if it was my only bike i probably wouldn't care, but the only time i really like it is when i'm already riding. the x-9 suck compared to my x-o, hell campared to my LX shifters too. it handles well, I don't buy into the cry babies that say 29er are slow handling, maybe in the tightest of stuff but really not a problem. having spent years now on a epic marathon its sucks to run a hardtail in the rough stuff, so I only ride the bike on fast, smoooth stuff. overall feeling is its a cool bike depending on where you ride.
a Cross Country Rider
from Detroit suburb, Michigan
Date Reviewed: October 25, 2008
Strengths: This bike is very fast. I am using it on single tracks. Great handling for a 29er (mine is an XL), climbs very well and go over roots and rocks well. I was afraid of the hardtail, but very happy I picked this bike. Very good overall components. Love the lefty carbon !
Weaknesses: Had some issues with the rear hub. Had to get it repaired twice (free from my bike shop).
Best purchase I made in the past years. Looks awesome (raw finish), performs very well and made right here in America !. I am new to the 29er community, but at 6'3" and 210lbs, I wanted a bike that fits me better. It performs beyong my expectations. I put around 600 miles this year, but wish I couls ride more often. I even bought some skinnier street tires so I can ride it on roads for the winter
a Weekend Warrior
from Pittsburgh, PA
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2008
Strengths: Carbon Lefty
Weaknesses: Rear Hub
Fantastic bike in terms of fit and performance. To qualify, I'm 6' and approx. 190lbs and I got the 'large' frame. I had last years model (I did post a review on it), when they only had one spec available and eventually made my way to this model via some unusual circumstances, but have been very happy with the bike so far. It actually rides a lot different than last years model thanks to skinnier tires, a few pounds shed and, although I'm not certain, I have to think that they tweaked the geometry/measurements. End result, a quick/nimble feel through the tight lines, especially for a 29'er. On my first ride, I actually had to look down and make sure that I wasn't riding a 26" Caffeine.
Component spec is nice - highlighted by the Carbon Lefty. I won't get too far into everything, because everyone has their own opinion on avid brakes, SRAM drivetrain, etc. I will say that the sum total can be described as 'responsive' and I'm totally happy with the overall experience.
The only glaring weakness is the rear hub which is a mid-level (if that) Shimano unit. I typically don't get too bent over part specs, but couldn't c-dale charge a few more bucks and give the people a better hub/wheelset? Especially now that they have 3 models of the F29.
I wanted the brushed metal frame but the only one available at the time was the black with the green 'flames'. I've actually been surprised at the number of riders who've commented positively on this finish. In a few short weeks, I've had at least a half dozen riders who went out of their way to ask about it/say something to me (which never happens). Who knew?
All said, I love this bike. I actually love the 29'er ride and this bike, to me, represents the best of that experience. Climbing, descending, clearing obstacles and navigating single-track - this bike does it all. If you're considering a 29'er, definitely give this one a look.
Similar Products Used: F29 from previous model year.
Bike Setup: Stock except Thompson set-back post, new saddle, SRAM PG990 cassette
a Cross Country Rider
from United States
Date Reviewed: March 15, 2008
Strengths: This bike is a monster! For those of you reading this review I am all sure you know how great it is to ride a 29'er. Now Cannondale has totally perfected it.
The large tires really grip well and give you the confidence to really take those turns much faster. The tread really diggs into the pine straw on the trails here in Georgia and really makes you feel on with the trail.
The carbon fiber lefty SL 29'er version has 80mm of travel which is very sufficent for a 29 inch bike. The adjustability is fantastic from the preload to the lockout everything works flawlessly.
The components starting with the brakes are juicy seven which feel very good in the hand and really allow for precise control of your speed, they have an adjustable knob that allows you to customize how far you want to pull in before you get braking resistance. I personally have mine all the way out, but for someone with smaller hands I would imagine this is an awesome feature. Not to mention they look really hot on the handlebars.
As for the shifters how can you go wrong with SRAM X9? I have yet to have any issue theyhave a very distict tactile feel when changing gears. It reminds me of when you shift a high performance car into gear with a good click and wham you are off as it pops into gear. One of the best things I like is the ability to downshift multiple gears at once (I thinkt he count is 3 gears at a time if you want too). All you do is push the shifter all the way in and you can just about go from bottom to top with your rear derailer.
Speaking of the rear derailer what can I say, its simply the best. SRAM X9 has continuously outdone similarly priced shimano gear in pretty much every revierw I have read so far and though I have never used Shimano XT rear derailer, I can tell you this one is awesome. Even after I shift late and am putting alot of stress on the derailer it does't even whimper and make alot of noice like others I have tried. It just pops you right into that lower gear and pulls you right up that hill.
Overall the bike is well thought out and looks great on the trail. The paint job is smoking and being on a well made Cannondale is just a joy in itself. The bike is incredibly light esp for a 29'er and with a few upgrades (see below) I have gotten min down to just under 27lbs and its an XL size.
Weaknesses: Seat is slightly uncomfertable, I would prefer the cables did not run underneath the crossbar (personal preference for my bike racks sake)
If you are looking for an awesome 29'er frame with an outstanding components package this is the bike for you.
Does anybody have an accurate weight for the a Caff.1 29er in large ? Sounds kinda like a drink order at Starbucks. I'm also looking for the US MSRP's for the 2009's. Any one have a link.
Thank youRead More »
There were a few requests for more pics. I hope this will help. I also got my final weight on the bike down to 22.66 lbs for a large.
[IMG]http:/ ... Read More »
I picked up my '08 Caffeine 29'er 1 the other day and had a chance to swap some stuff over. I stripped all the reflector and junk off it - 26.66 lbs. with no pedals. I got the bike down to 25.74 lbs. with pedals and two bottle cages.
Here are some pics..
[IMG]http://bp0.blogger.com/_iWI6YZm0 ... Read More »