Cannondale 3 Caffeine 29er Hardtail

4/5 (6 Reviews)
Weight : 26.2 lbs


Product Description

  • Fork: Lefty Speed Bonded DLR2, 80 mm
  • Rims: WTB Dual Duty FR, 32 hole
  • Hubs: Cannondale Lefty front, Formula SS rear
  • Spokes: DT Swiss Champion
  • Bottom Bracket: SRAM GXP
  • Handlebars: Control Tech Alloy, 25 mm rise


Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 6 (6 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Paul a Racer

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2012

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.

Bottom Line:   
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

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Mohican State Park, OHIO

Price Paid:    $850.00

Purchased At:   craigslist


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by IndianaXC 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Winona Lake XC

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $990.00

Purchased At:   Used

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher Montare

Bike Setup:   Stock except: saddle, grips, tires, and SPD pedals.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by christopher032 a Weekend Warrior from Colorado springs, co

Date Reviewed: September 3, 2010

Strengths:    Solid frame, excellent fork

Weaknesses:    Juicy 3 G2CS rear rotor

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $900.00

Bike Setup:   Stock, except the rear rotor and small block 8s

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Hex 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bwine

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Bike Setup:   stock except swapped out EBB for a Bushnell EBB, also swapped out crappy brakes for BB7's

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by chitownmtb a Weekend Warrior from Chicago

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)

Bottom Line:   
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!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   CashCreek Wy

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Craigs List

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

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by chuckjoga 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.

Bottom Line:   
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.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sedalia, Indian Creek

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   new on eBay

Similar Products Used:   Motobecane Outcast 29

Bike Setup:   Hayes HFX9 brakes, Surley 22 rear cog, Time Alium ATAC pedals.

Reviews 1 - 6 (6 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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