Cannondale 4 Caffeine 29er Hardtail

4.45/5 (11 Reviews)
Weight : 30.6 lbs


Product Description

  • Fork: RockShox Dart 329
  • Hubs: Shimano M475 rear
  • Chain: Shimano 9-speed
  • Handlebars: Cannondale C3, 20 mm rise
  • Brakeset: Shimano BR-485 160/160 mm


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

Reviews 1 - 11 (11 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by chad schrum

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2013

Strengths:    frame x5 sram derailer

Weaknesses:    rear free hub

Bottom Line:   
I ride a lot I never have the money to really by the bike I need this bike for the price has good components ive rode this bike a ton I bought new in 2009 ive broke the dart shock arm it cracked put reba air on it the frame is tuff I its 2013 ive went through a bunch of chains bottom crank bearings chain rings cassetes derailers pedals but the frame never cracks an love the color scheme black with greenish blue

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by gtrdave a Weekend Warrior from Pike Creek, DE

Date Reviewed: July 6, 2010

Strengths:    It's a Cannondale. The geometry is perfect for me. The mixed components, while not top-end at all, have held up well over the year with only a minor rear disc issue being my sole problem. My LBS fixed it and I was good to go. The Continental Race Kings are a good all around tire and the low knobs make it easy to street-ride to the trail head, drop in, blast and then road ride home.

Weaknesses:    It's heavy. The Dart 3 shock alone is almost 6lbs, but it does work. The original seat was not to my liking, so it got changed, as did the original toe clip pedals. Yeah, the 6" discs seem undersized for this bike, but they have never failed to stop me.

Bottom Line:   
This bike works for me. It fits me and it handles great. The frame is the same quality as the Caffeine 1 which makes future component upgrades worth while. Cannondale is quality...or was quality...let's hope that the new owners down ruin a great reputation in bikes.
The bottom line: this is a great 29er for the money.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   White Clay, Middle Run, Fair Hill

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Wooden Wheels

Similar Products Used:   I tested the GF Mamba, Kona Kahuna, Access XCL 9.5 and looked at a few other entry-level 29ers before deciding on the C-dale. For me, none of them matched the ride quality and flickability of the Caffeine.

Bike Setup:   Stock w/ Specialized BG seat, Shimano 545 pedals and Lizard Skins locking grips.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by stevez a Cross Country Rider from Clarkston,MI,USA

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2010

Strengths:    Solid frame. I'm a 245lb rider. I paid $20 extra (when i bought the bike) to beef up the Dart 3 fork and boy is it nice for cross-country. Even with a big rider like myself dropping 3-5 foot drops.
The juicy 5 brakes are amazingly smooth. I have not had any problems with them.
The Sram X5 shifters are tight with only having to add one click for cable stretch in 500 miles.
Frame handmade in the USA.


Weaknesses:    The wheel set is the weakest link by far. The weight is "heavy". I've broken the free hub 3 times. Cannondale has fixed it every time for free.
Moving frame production out of USA in 2010.


Bottom Line:   
I would recommend this 29er to any XCer that likes monster trucks. This bike will roll over anything in the trail. Just ask if you can upgrade the wheelset before you buy.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Holdridge

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $840.00

Purchased At:   Pro Bikes,PA

Similar Products Used:   Klein pulse comp hard tail 26er, Trek vrx 300 full suspension

Bike Setup:   Dart 3 fork,Avid Juicy 5 brakes, sram x5 shifters and rear derailure, deore lx front, shimano octolink crank, kenda tires,

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Turp a Cross Country Rider from Danville,Va. USA

Date Reviewed: October 3, 2009

Strengths:    Frame geometry and attention to details (paint and beautiful weld joints), trail worthy components, hydraulic brakes, and tires. Has held up under well under a heavy rider on fairly technical trails.

Weaknesses:    Rear freehub cogs went fast. However, the replacement has done fine.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike and very good component set. I ride at least 1-3 times a week on a fairly technical trail with lots of roots and rock gardens. The bike (29er) is very forgiving on obstacles. It has also held up well under my 200+ weight and has yet to need adjustment. The only glitch has been a free hub which is fine now. This is a great bike for enthusiasts looking for a very good introduction into 29ers. I'll likely run it as is until something breaks with the exception of possibly buying a spare wheelset.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anglers Park

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Outdoor Adventures

Similar Products Used:   No 29ers but previous ride was a rigid Specialized Expedition. I did also demo'd a Trek 6000 26 inch when I bought the 29er. The Cannondale fit better.

Bike Setup:   Stock. Avid juicy 3 brakes, Rock Shox Dart 3, SRAM X5 shifters and rear D. Shimano Deore Front D. Shimano Deore wheel hubs.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by turpster a Weekend Warrior from Danville, Va, USA

Date Reviewed: September 6, 2009

Strengths:    Frame quality and geometry.

Weaknesses:    Hubs. I have had problems with freehub failures. I am on my third.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great riding bike. I ride 2-3 times a week and love this bike. The stock setup is okay for entry level riders looking for the next step. The components work well and are solid performers. The only issue I am having is the free hubs which are not well suited for cross country on 700 sized wheels and a heavier rider. I will likely upgrade to XT. All in all, a nice package on a great frame.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Angler's Park

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   Adventure's Bike Sho

Similar Products Used:   Specialized

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by TheUsualSusp3ct a Weekend Warrior from Brackenridge, PA, USA

Date Reviewed: July 23, 2009

Strengths:    Good frame & stock components for the money. The Avid Juicy 3 brakes, SRAM shifters, drivetrain, & wheels/tires are all good quality. So far, I've had no problems with the RoxShox Dart 3 fork, either. All-in-all it handles, climbs, and rolls very well.

Looks great, too. Black & Seafoam green - the white AVID Juicy 3 brakes are a sweet accent.


Weaknesses:    Front brake disc overheats/warps - you can feel it unevenly grab . My LBS explained that this is a common problem with these smaller discs and with this bike's setup I can't just put on larger discs to rectify the problem. I think they're like 180mm. They warrantied the discs and replaced them for free, but the same thing happened (warping) the very next ride. I'm no downhill bomber, either, just you're average 210 lb rider. I've just been ignoring it for now.

Bottom Line:   
This was my first 29er and I haven't been disappointed with my purchase. I've really put this bike through some tests this summer - four mtb races, a few epic rides, and tons of less strenuous XC rides @ my local park . It's withstood a few wrecks too with minimum damage. I think this machine is worth the money. A good step-up at the right price for me.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Moraine State Park, Laurel Mountain

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $950.00

Purchased At:   Gatto's Cycle Shop

Bike Setup:   Stock, except for the pedals. I'll probably be looking into upgrading/changing the brake system for next season.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by FooserX a Weekend Warrior from Denver

Date Reviewed: July 16, 2009

Strengths:    All the components seem to be working great. For the first few rides, the shifting was absolutely flawless...but then it started ghost shifting...took it in...fixed!
Price is cheap for what you get in my mind.


Weaknesses:    Heavier than what I'm used to, but that's normal for the price and a 29er and an XL size.
Brakes were sqeaking bad but the cycle shop fixed them for free.
The clearance is less than I'm used to, but that's because of the 29er wheels. I love riding it, but one crash had me coming down hard on the bar which sucked bad. It was a pretty unique fall though - but still...
Also don't like the wires underneath the top tube...it makes it awkward to hold sometimes when moving it up and down my stairs.


Bottom Line:   
My budget was $1000...so I knew I wasn't going to get some top of the line bike that people are going to be envious of. When I tried out the 29'er, it felt so much better than the 26" tires, so I went with this. For $800, it seemed like a nice entry bike.

The brakes are awesome, the Dart 3 fork is getting horrible reviews, but so far it's been perfect for me. The tires aren't knobby...so I think the traction is lacking at times, but that could just be my experience or needing to upgrade to better tires.

I've put on some good rides on technical trails, and have to say - I absolutely LOVE this bike. I love the way it feels, especially when my legs are fresh and I can roll up big boulders. I'm a beginner, but I still love how it handles and goes over rocks. It definitely keeps going once it's going too. And yes, I'm noticing the less nimble steering, but that's just going to come with time too. I can't say anything really bad about the bike's performance because I'm just a noob...but I can say it feels great to ride.

The first week was great with it...then I found myself doubting the bike because I just don't know enough to compare it too...but then once I put in more trail time, I can't get enough of riding.

I would like to see the weight come down a bit, but everything's working so far perfectly, so I am not going to fork out more money to bring it down 4 pounds. All in all...if you're looking for a nice bike to start at to see if you want to get into mtb, this is a great buy! Also want to give props to Littleton Cyclery for having the cheapest price...cheaper than REI...and all the nice customer support/maintenance.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   White Ranch

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Littleton Cyclery

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Thrillseeker123 a Cross Country Rider from Buford,GA US

Date Reviewed: August 26, 2008

Strengths:    Canonndale 29er's....you can't go wrong with that. This bike is insanely strong and fast. I'm 6'1, 180lbs frame is the BEEF...wait more like BISON.
Climbs excellent, rolls over everything and I did some 4ft drops with out any problems.


Weaknesses:    Dart 3 fork has to go, brakes are very good but I will have to upgrade to 8" rotors for better stopping power.


Bottom Line:   
You gotta have it! I love the color and the looks on this bike...it's definitely an eye-catcher.
Overall this bike is monster I'm very satisfied!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fort Yargo, Winder, GA

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $999.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   K2 ZED 4.0
Motobecane fly team


Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by rossyo14 a Weekend Warrior from Morgantown, WV, USA

Date Reviewed: July 25, 2008

Strengths:    Love the frame. Can't go wrong w/ Cannondale. Made in USA. Disc brakes work great. Shifts very smoothly. Climbs well, just rolls over rocks and trees. Great bike for the price at only $1000.

Weaknesses:    I've noticed a lot fewer reviews of this bike than I saw before. My only complaint with this bike is the shock. It worked well for a few weeks but then started leaking oil and the lockout stopped working. From what I read before this is not an isolated incident. Fortunately RockShox responded quickly to the problem and my local bike shop is fixing it.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great bike for the price. For more serious riders I would upgrade; if you have the money I would at least go w/ the Cannondale 29er 3 Caffeine to get the lefty fork and a little nicer specs. If I had the money I would have. Other than the shock though, I love this bike.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Pathfinder


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by slbrook a Weekend Warrior from Austin, TX, USA

Date Reviewed: June 21, 2008

Strengths:    Comfortable bike, a great ride. Picks up momentum and goes. Enjoy the larger size. Just rolls over dirt.

Weaknesses:    Sometimes hard to find parts (not all lbs stock 29er tires, etc, looked hard to find a rear rack that works with 29 and disc brakes). That should change. Just barely fits on bus rack.

Bottom Line:   
This is a perfect bike for me. I commute, ride trails and enjoy the great outdoors. Wheels are even bigger than my road bike. Have gotten quite a bit of attention from this bike. I considered a commuter instead, but once I rode this bike and considered my desire for off-road, I have not turned back. Found that PlanetBike Eco rack for disc brakes fits nicely on rear. Others were too short. Old Man Mountain probably could have fixed me up too, but Planet Bike Eco rack is cheaper and works great.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Greenbelt

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $999.00

Purchased At:   REI

Similar Products Used:   hard tail 26 and full suspension 26.

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Scott G a Cross Country Rider from Pensacola, Florida

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2008

Strengths:    Made in USA. Looks slick (black w/black wheels looks awesome). Non-lefty fork. Nice wheels and tires. Hydraulic brakes. SRAM thumb shifters hook up well. The bike is fast, responsive, yet sucks up the bumps. Bunny hops like a 26er but climbs like a mountain goat.

Weaknesses:    No weakness with the frame. The components bought new makes the bike a bit heavy. The grips are not the best.

Bottom Line:   
Cannondale has a winner with this bike. Its performance for the price is amazing!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bookcliffs - Fruita, Co

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $999.00

Purchased At:   CycleSports - Pensacola

Similar Products Used:   I've only ridden 26ers - full suspension and hardtail.

Bike Setup:   Basic setup from the factory: RockShox Dart fork, SRAM shifters, Shimano hydraulic breaks, WTB wheels.

Reviews 1 - 11 (11 Reviews Total)

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


Price Check: 2009 Cannondale Caffeine 4

Looking at a nearly mint 2009 Cannondale Caffeine 4. The guy bought it and hung it in his garage. It looks nearly showroom. What price range would you consider? [url=http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?Year=2009&Brand=Cannondale&Model=29%27er+4&Type=bike]BikePedia - 2009 Cannond ... Read More »

Used Trek 6700 or New Cannondale Caffeine 4

Hi all, these two bikes differ a lot in price but I am total beginner and would appreciate your opinion what is better to get me started: 05 or 06 used Trek 6700 with upgraded fork, Hayes hydraulic breaks, and Bontrager XXX Race Lite stem and handlebars - for $500 or 08 new Cannondale Ca ... Read More »

does 2.4 inch tire fit rear caffeine frame??

Hi, Since of all the mud this season I tried to mount a 2.4 inch tire. It failed. is there any one owning a caffeine having mounted a 2.4 inch tire on the rear? Did it work? Whilst trying I found that my chainstays are not properly attached to the bottom bracket. even though the axle of the r ... Read More »

Anyone a Caffeine 29'er 4?

I haven't seen much (if any) threads on it so I was wondering if it is decent bike for the price range. It's one on my list that I have been thinking about. Really don't want to go over $1000.Read More »

Cannondale Caffeine F3 vs 29er 4

I am in the market for a new mountain bike and would like some input. I get a good discount on Cannondales (which is why I've narrowed it down to these two models). I'm 5'11, 245 pounds and will be riding mostly single track, fire roads, trails and hard surface - nothing too technical. Trying to ... Read More »

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