Weaknesses: Doesn't have a cup holder for my beer on the handlebars. Didn't come tubeless.
The only other weakness isn't a weakness - it's just what it is. This is a racing bike. Nothing practical here whatsoever. But I do appreciate a bike that accepts a rack on the back so I can put a kid seat there once in a while.
This is my first 29er, so part of my passion for this bike comes from it being my "first".
That said, I LOVE this bike. Light, stiff, responsive. Push and GO GO GO. Rolls right over the obstacles. The new lefty has tons of travel and is plush and incredibly precise. I'm faster on my local trail which is a steep up and down. The 2x10 works great.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Scalpel 900 (2004), Cannondale F700
a Cross Country Rider
from Mt Holly, NC
Date Reviewed: September 18, 2011
Strengths: Climbs and handles great.
Love this bike. I still love my Scalpel, but decided to take advantage of end of year 20% off sale and try the 29er revolution. Handles as good as a 26er. Does climb better than my Scalpel but will take getting used to a hardtail again. I think I will feel it more at the end of a long ride. I wished I could get a 29er that fit my wife. I can only have one bike so the Scalpel will have to go. I would love to keep it. Too bad the Flash is made in Taiwan. My Scalpel was made in the USA. Bad move on Cannondale's part. I have also have not had the best customer support in the past.
Similar Products Used: Trek and other Cannondale hardtails (26") and a Scalpel.
Bike Setup: Stock.
a Cross Country Rider
from Grand Rapids, MI USA
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2011
Strengths: Compliant frame, powerful Avid brakes, good looks, Lefty
Weaknesses: FSA crank
This is a review of the 2011 Cannondale Flash 1 Alloy 29er.
After being away from the sport for a couple years I had been feeling the itch. I'd wanted a Cannondale ever since riding my friend's F700 years back and their Lefty front shock has always interested me. That old F700 really was a step up from the other aluminum hardtails I'd ridden. It was just so efficient, every pedal stroke seemed to just launch the bike forward effortlessly. It also held a line much better than my old Giant, but that may have more to do with the stiffness of Cannondale's Headshock/Lefty design advantages.
This newest iteration of Cannondale's alloy hardtail has only improved on the strength of their previous designs-lighter, stiffer and more compliant. The Flash frame feels different in that it seems to finish it's recoil more quickly and maintain it's composure better over impacts. It's the most compliant alloy frame I've ever ridden but at the same time it transmits the trail surface in a very responsive way which helps you know when the bike is near the limit of traction.
This is my first 29er. The geometry took some getting used to but after about the third ride I feel right at home and can't believe how much more comfortable I am on the Flash than on the old 26er Giant. You sit more "in-between" the wheels instead of on top of the bike. The handling is the perfect balance of quickness and stability for our trails here in Michigan. 29ers are better in every way in my opinion. I'm able to clear larger obstacles with ease and there is more traction. I'm sold and will never go back.
The bike is light at about 24 lbs and the components are solid except for the crank, but this issue is being addressed by FSA. They are replacing the 27t chain ring upon request due to issues of chain drop/suck. Mine was really bad, dropping the chain probably every 4th or 5th shift. Called the bike shop and had a new ring on the bike within 2 weeks. The bike is shifting great now.
The Avid Elixir R brakes are a tad finicky to eliminate rotor drag but have excellent lever feel and modulation. Also better than Shimano in cold weather due to use of DOT brake fluid vs mineral oil. The Lefty is, well, a LEFTY!
Overall, very pleased with this bike. Only thing that would make me happier is if it was still made in the USA but I don't blame Cannondale for that, I blame our government, but that's another story for another day...RIDE ON!!!
Similar Products Used: Owned: Giant XTC SE1 (1999, and 2001 models,) ridden: Cannondale F700 (1998,) Specialized Rockhopper Comp (2006)
Bike Setup: Stock except for the warranty-replaced 27t front chain ring
a Cross Country Rider
from New York
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2011
Strengths: Great acceleration, stif, light even stock.
Weaknesses: FSA Afterburner crankset. The Kenda Small Block 8 tires are good for their intended purpose, but they suck as an all-rounder. Also the X9 rear derailleur had some tension issues but was replaced by the LBS with a medium cage and no more problems.
This review is for the 2011 Flash 1 Aluminum which comes with a diferent build kit than the one provided by MTBR. The bike wheighs about 26lbs, but with a racy wheelset it can be dropped at under 25 lbs. The bike responds very well to the rider's input, it accelerates super fast and it rolls nice over rocks and other obstacles. I raced this bike in both short XC races, as well as a recent 50 mile marathon in Pennsylvania, where the conditions were extremely rocky. By this I mean miles after miles of riding over rocks off all sizes. The Lefty fork performs outstanding. However, at the end of the 50 mile race my body felt the beating it took. The frame is more compliant than other aluminum frames I have used in the past, but is not a full suspension bike. As a result, I ordered a SAVE seatpost and hopefully this will, at least partially, take care of this matter. The spec on the bike is what it would be expected for a 29er hardtail in this price range. The FSA Afterburner was replaced by the LBS after having constant issues with the front shifting. Same for the X9 rear derailleur and the X7 front derailleur which was replaced with an X9. The cockpit and the brakeset (Avid Elixir R) performed flawlessly so far. After changing the tires to the Ignitors I started enjoying riding this bike more and more and I realized that I am taking it out more often than my 6" AM FS bike. I am amazed by the way it climbs. I mean I've never liked climbing, but now I actually find myself riding the trails I ride an my AM bike in the opposite direction, just because of how easy climbing seems on this bike. Descending is similar to other 29ers I have ridden, but the Lefty does a better job overall. Of course, it will not descend as a FS bike, and I have to constantly look for the line I am about to take. I also commute on it and it's fun to jump all the curbs and other natural city obstacles.
On a side note: I am 180cm ( I guess that is just over 5'11") and went with a large, but changed the stock stem to a 80mm. I also moved the saddle forward a few mm and I am confy like this. However, if I was just a tad shorter the medium would have been a better fit.
I would have given it 5 chilis for value, but I had a lot of troubles with the front shifting. My LBS thankfully took care of it, but for a hardtail at this price point this is not acceptable.
Similar Products Used: Stumpjumper 29er, Raleigh XXIX
Bike Setup: Stock except for Sram X9 crankset and Maxxis Ignitor tires.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: March 23, 2011
Before purchasing, rode Trek and Specialized (price equivalent bikes, all 29ers) and found the Cannondale the best fit (large frame, I'm 6 foot). I'm a weekend rider, on the local trails of Southern California. The frame is stiff, light, and has excellent power transfer. It climbs steep and rough hills almost effortlessly. It'll take some time getting use to the 2x10 gearing, but that just involves some conditioning on my part. My only complaint so far is the tires lack of grip in cornering on loose dirt. That, though, may be in part due to the slightly higher center of gravity on the 29er verse the limits I'm use to on a 26er. I’m Very happy with the purchase.
Bike Setup: Crank brothers bars, wtb nano 2.2 tubeless, esr grips, fizik tundra seat.
a Cross Country Rider
from Pittsburgh, PA
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2010
Strengths: Light weight, Part Spec.
Weaknesses: The schwalbe tires, I just cannot feel confident cornering the bike the tires seem to break loose way early.
I also seem to have excessive chain slap, enough to ghost shift.
Excellent component spec. and the lefty fork is really sweet. The ideal buyer of this bike will most likely want to race it. I do have some concern about the clearance between the rear tire and seat tube but so far it has not been an issue.
If you have fork mounts for a bike rack you will also need to purchase an adapter for the Lefty fork to work with it an additional $40 to $80.
a Cross Country Rider
from apple valley ca usa
Date Reviewed: July 17, 2010
Strengths: Weight, Frame Strength, Lefty, 29 wheels, Components, Stands tubeless set up
Weaknesses: Stock Handle Bars, lack of clearance between rear derailer and rear tire
Great cross country bike. The lefty with 80mm of travel is perfect for just about anything that is thrown at you. The frame is very stiff and power transfer is great. This bike climbs wonderfully and is also a joy on the DH. The bike stock before bottle cages w/ crank brothers candy 3 pedals weighted 24.6 lbs frame size large. The racing ralph tires are not very durable especially in the rock of the high desert. I love the bike and cant wait for the single speed version.
23.2 lb with the stock build, set up tubeless, no pedals.
22.0 lb XTR Kit, Edge Composites wheels, w/ Crank Bros. Eggbeater S.
Out of the box impressions.
-Not much crank clearance, XTR's only clear ChainStays by 3/16" when installed.
-Lots of tire clearance in width.
-Not much tire clearance from front of tire to Front Derailleur.
-Great stock build, only relplaced because I had a deal on XTR kit.
-Specs different from web site: XT Cassette (11-34)+, XTR Shadow Rear Derailleur +, Straight Gauge Spokes -, Fizik Aliante XM Saddle +.
-Great looking bike with a good finish.
-Stans Rims are a great spec., stock tires aired up tubeless without issue. (Stan's yellow tape & stems).
I had been waiting for a Flash Carbon, but this was available at the shop, and I was getting depressed without a mountain bike.
At 5'11" with long legs, I sit pretty high up on a bike, and the 29" wheels stabilize the bike noticably over a 26". I did NOT notice slow handling because of the big wheels. I have two 29'ers and have yet to notice "slow" handing in any situation. The bike does seem to roll faster than a 26" FS bike, and I don't really miss rear suspension at all. The only time I find myself wishing for rear suspension again is on extremely rough descents (5"+ rocks/ledges) or when I am just playing around on jumps or small drops. I am faster on this than a 26" FS both uphill AND down.
The bike has a very compliant feel to it vs. a Scott Scale 29'er I demoed. The scott did feel like it responded to hard pedaling just a tiny bit better, but the Cannondale would be my frame of choice for both racing and trail riding vs. the Scott...it just has a better balance of compliance vs. pedalling stiffenss. If I was a heavier rider(I'm 160 lb), I may feel differently.
The Lefty is great, very rigid, and actually offering a hair more than the claimed 80 mm travel. It does not allow the tuning flexibility of the Fox 100 RLC I had before, but that's it's only drawback. Overall I prefer the Lefty, definately a well designed product.
I give the bike as delivered 5 five chilis, both overall and for value. It comes in at the same weight as a Fisher Superfly and costs significantly less, although, it's not Carbon. I think the bikes main competition comes from another bike within the Cannondales line, the Flash 2 Carbon 29er. From what I've seen, it's about 1/4 lighter and may be better value at only $300 more. Either way, they're both hard to find in stock!