Strengths: Lightweight. Fast. Good geometry for climbing. Lefty fork is very light, rigid and cool. GOOD FRAME.
Weaknesses: tight turns : the front wheel sometimes sucks me into a corner - I think the newer caffeine frames have adjusted this. Going down switchbacks can be nerve-wracking I think the geometry is built more for climbing than descending. Components are not that great.
the EBB is self-extracting. Once you know how to use it - it works perfectly! there are two hex heads - unscrew the inner one and it pushes against the outer one which forces the EBB to loosen.
Good race bike
a Cross Country Rider
from Milford, Indiana. U.S.
Date Reviewed: June 20, 2011
Strengths: Light, Fast, Lefty fork, Nice Crankset. Wheelset has held up well and seems pretty stiff.
Weaknesses: The fork feels wierd when locked out, it feels flexy, but unlocked its a dream. Stuck EBB is a pain! The stock brakes are horrible. Front end is a bit high for me, but thats just personal preference.
Coming off a 26er this bike is so fast! A few wrinkles to iron out with the brakes and getting the fork set up, but the end result is awesome! The Eccentric BB sticks, its not a big deal, but is kinda a pain to switch gear ratios. The lefty fork feels great, and the 80mm travel is awesome for the trails i ride. The frame is an amazing work of art, the welds are smooth, the paint job is excellent, and its quite stiff.
Bike Setup: Stock except: saddle, grips, tires, and SPD pedals.
a Weekend Warrior
from Colorado springs, co
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2010
Strengths: Solid frame, excellent fork
Weaknesses: Juicy 3 G2CS rear rotor
I love this bike. It is fun and simple. I will probably upgrade a few parts and race it in the SS class next summer. On the first ride I got the dreaded avid "turkey gobbles," but I swapped out the g2 for a Hayes rotor and haven't had a problem since. The lefty with lockout is amazing.
Bike Setup: Stock, except the rear rotor and small block 8s
a Cross Country Rider
from Wilmington, DE
Date Reviewed: July 22, 2010
Strengths: stiff frame
Weaknesses: where do i start?... Juicy 3 brakes are CRAP. rear hub failed after 2 seasons, rear tire clearance, EBB... the list goes on.
the rear brake squealed like crazy since day 1! spent the next 3 months trying every imaginable fix but nothing worked. FINALLY got the LBS to trade in Juicy 3's for a set of BB7's. rear hub litterally imploded after 2 seasons for riding. constant battle with adjusting the EBB and the squeek was almost constant. i upgraded to a Bushnell EBB and have been happy ever since. the Lefty is a nice fork but even that had to be rebuilt after the first season.... luckily it was still covered under warrenty.
Bike Setup: stock except swapped out EBB for a Bushnell EBB, also swapped out crappy brakes for BB7's
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2010
Strengths: Light Weight, Great Frame, Lefty Fork, Sneak Multi Tool fits in the head tube, Frame Fits large tires. Fits My 6'2" 140lb frame perfectly.----
My First few rides I kept reaching for the shifter on the first few down hills, had to get used to that. Im running the 20t right now and it is a bit short for path riding and flat illinois, but probaby perfect where some hills would challenge your rides. The Lefty works fantastically at taking the small bumps and the progressive air spring even's out the big ones. The frame is nice and ridgid in the right ways. I have been a cannondale fan since my first F1000 back in 1996 when 60mm of elastomer headshock travel was the norm. This bike brings back all of those memories with some awesome advancements with the lefty front suspension, easy and creak free eccentric bottom bracket adjustments and a frame that fits me spot on. Way to go Cannondale on Nailing the single speed 29er thing.
Weaknesses: No cable guides to option a 1x9 set up, Frame and lefty fork has very little ability for quick disc brake adjustments if they are rubbing, Thin washers are your spacers, lots of futsing to get it to work right. $1700 new for this bike is asking quite a bit. I thought I spent a bunch at $1100 with the upgrades used but it was hard to find an XL size and the 2010 model is not offered with the lefty. For just a few Pennies more you can have the Caffiene 2 that is a full geared bike, Cannondale is praying upon the rarety and specialty of the single speed riders here with this price tag. 29er wheels don't fit in the trunk like my 26ers do, especially when you can't just quick release the wheels (remember that last one)
This bike rides like a dream. Its fast, fun and gets you out on the trail with no maintinance to speak of. Bravo... Now why is this bike so expensive brand new????
Buy This bike if you are looking for a High End Single Speed that you want to modify into a cross country rocket or a good base for a bike that you want to race in the single speed class. I would love to try Spinergys New PBO 29er Wheels on this bike :-)
Don't Buy this bike if you are watching your budget and want to get into the 29er thing.
3 Chilis on Value, 4 Chilis For over all as this bike is a blast to ride and ride for a long time!
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Hifi Deluxe And Paragon 29ers. Trek 69er were test ridden before this purchase.
My Current bikes. Felt Cyclocross and Giant AC AIR.
Bike Setup: Frame: XL Caffeine 29 1FG (Made in the USA!)
Fork: Lefty 29'er w/ DLR, 80 mm (integrated air)
Front Wheel: Cannondale Lefty front hub laced to Jalco Disc X320 29, 32 hole (stock)
Rear Wheel: DT Swiss 240S Singlespeed hub with 36step Engagement Laced to Stock Rim
Tires: Kenda Small Block 8's
Brakes: XTR Disk Calipers/rotors with LX Hydraulic Levers
Crankset: Truvativ Stylo with Salsa Chainring
Saddle: WTB Pure
Seatpost: Thomson Elite Silver 440MM
Handlebars: Easton EA70 w/ESI Grips
17t Surly Cog, 18t Chris King Cog, 20t Generic Cog
a Cross Country Rider
from Denver, Colorado, USA
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2008
Strengths: Lefty fork has incredible feel, stable handling, beautiful frame and finish. Stiff bottom bracket. Good stock seat.
Weaknesses: Stock mechanical brakes are weak. Large front rotor should have more stopping power. Stuck/sticky eccentric adjuster. Lefty fork can't be used on rack for drop-outs unless an adapter is used. A little heavy. MSRP price too high.
Buy this bike discounted or used. MSRP is only about $150 less than the better spec'ed geared Caffeine 2. Brakes are adequate, but need more power. The Lefty fork makes it unique and works very well. Geared a little tall for Colorado. If you are looking for a factory single speed with front suspension, you will not be disappointed. If you are not sure that a 29er single speed is for you, buy a cheap rigid first. Only 4 chilis for value because $1600 is way too much. 4 chilis overall because of brakes.