Strengths: Light, fast, responsive, comfortable for a hardtail
Weaknesses: Occasional chainsuck
I have campaigned this bike on the provincial race circuit for the season. I have been on a rigid 29er singlespeed for the past 6 years so this is my return to geared biking. I have found many 29ers to be kind of tall and awkward, but this is not an issue with the F29. The bke inspires a lot of confidence, and it more comfortable at the limit that I am. I have been on some loooooong rides on it and have not had any back issues, but then again let's consider that I am coming from an aluminum singlespeed with a rigid fork, so let's face it, anything would be an improvement comfort-wise..
Like many, I found then handlebars a bit wide at first, but after cutting 1/2" off each end it feels a lot better. WHile I have generally liked the 2 x 10 setup, I have had a couple of situations where the chain has dropped off the lower ring while shifting down, even not under load, and got caught between the crank spindle and bottom bracket shell. It's been by no means an epidemic, and it could just be my ham-fisted shifting, but as others have mentioned this as an issue, it bears pointing out.
Finally, while I am a big fan of the ArchEX wheels, I find it interesting that a lightweight cross country rig would not come with the Crests. Curiously, the Trigger, which is an all-mountain bike does come with the Crests. IMHO it should be the other way around and I am curious about why Cannondale specced these two bikes this way.
And no review of this bike would be complete without me mentioning how well the lefty works - it tracks true and is the perfect mix of compliance over smalll bumps and stiffness and good tracking.
All in all this is the best mountainbike I have ever owned.
Strengths: I have never owned a bike that tracks the ground front and rear like this 2013 Carbon 2. It feels like a full suspension as i sit and pedal and dont worry about lines. I love the Sram as well with its 1 to 1 ratio i can look ahead to keep good flow going knowing the 2 x 10 will work as required. Fork tracks off cambers so well and is confidence inspiring. Smooth climber and what a weapon downhill. Keep up with some downhill specific bikes.
Weaknesses: Wheels may be a little heavy but at least they wont break and need replacing.$.So you dont have to slow down lol.
I have 3 x 29ers and one 26er. My Salsa El Mariachi is dam good [x9 + x0 spec]. Had a Merida TFS big nine xtd as well but the geometry is so bad its onlg good for river paths etc. 26inch has lots of cobwebs on it in the back of the shed. Verdict is im at least 30% faster so what a awesome bike..
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2013
Strengths: This bike is incredible comfortable, quick and responsive. Compared to my latest bike - '12 Stumpjumper Expert - doesn't feel very aggressive but it is actually faster at least for me (I have compared data from exactly same rides). At the beginning I felt the lefty to be very soft, but turns out it is just great; very responsive when going at low speed but firm when going fast. I have read complains about the handlebar being to wide, but I think it is part of what defines this bike; absolute control and comfort. I just love it.
Weaknesses: It is so comfortable that sometimes you get very little feedback from the terrain, as vibration. By all means this is great, but at the beginning it feels weird. I'm riding faster than I did in my Stumpjumper, but still it is so easy to handle and control it through tough sections that I don't know it limits yet.
For me this bike is the Aston Martin of bikes. It is as fast as any other sport super car, but it does look and feel like a gentlemen ride. If I were 20 years old and were racing XC, I would probably choose the Stumpjumper over the Flash. But because I'm over 30 years old and prefer a bike that rewards my ability and technique of pedalling above anything else, I can't think in a better bike for me. I absolutely love it!
Similar Products Used: Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29, Orbea Alma
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: January 6, 2013
Strengths: This is the lightest, stiffest bike I've ever owned, and it's noticeable on climbs and also feeling every bump in the trail. While noticeable, it's not uncomfortable. I've only done a few rides, but any concerns about it beating my lower back are now gone. My last hardtail was over 15 years ago, and an hour ride required about that long on the couch for my back to recover. I have no back problems on this bike. The Flash 2 is really quick and handles well, almost twitchy which is weird for a 29er. But lightness and ease of pedaling are the two biggest strengths.
Weaknesses: I can't get anything carbon on carbon, such as seatpost or brake/shifter, to stay put, but that's probably because I am afraid of overtightening and damaging something.
I bought a used midgrade aluminum 29er HT last summer and decided I wanted to upgrade to carbon. I got a screaming deal on a 2012 closeout, and I've only ridden it a few times so I can't speak to durability, but it's amazing the difference between the two bikes. This Flash is light, quick and nimble, which are three words you don't often use to describe a 29er.
I'm a trail rider, not a racer, and one friend described this bike as "overkill" for me, but it's really not. It's a fun-to-ride trail bike that has race characteristics, but you don't feel punished for the light and stiff. It's not cushy like my Santa Cruz Blur, but that's not why I bought it. I wanted a light 29er for the Boise Foothills trails, which are relatively smooth but typically steep.
The Flash's lightness means I am now bunny hopping the waterbars that I would usually let the suspension soak up. It's definitely changing my riding style, which is another reason I bought it.
I am seriously considering swapping the Racer Ralphs to a 2.2 tire (Geax Saguaro) to take a little of the rough edge off the ride. I guess I am willing to trade a little performance for comfort.
Overall, it's met or exceeded my expectations. To be honest, I would have never paid full retail because it's a second bike, but for the price I paid, I feel like a won a lottery.
Great power transfer
Noticeably compliant (for a HT)
Lefty is the best XC fork on the market, period
Did I mention that it's light? 'Cause it's light.
Weaknesses: It'll beat you up after several hours of rough trails, but hey it's a hard-tail.
Steering is pretty twitchy, which is great for twisty XC but requires attention on rough descents.
This is an awesome, awesome XC weapon. Mine (an XL) weighs ~20lbs with Stan's wheels. This bike climbs like a goat, and it'll go downhill as well as any HT. The built-in compliance in the frame, plus the Cannondale SAVE carbon post, make this an impressively comfy HT experience. Throw on some 2.2+ tires run tubeless at low volume, and it feels about like a 26er Scalpel: not plush, but very noticeably takes the edge off bumps. The Lefty is just fantastic, it has the best small-bump compliance of any fork I've ever ridden. With the amazing lightness, this bike is great on the climbs, and it'll slice up semi-technical single track with ease. Not the best in really rooty or rocky conditions, but no HT is going to excel at this. I've dragged this bike over some pretty gnarly stuff though, and if you're up for it the bike will do it.
Date Reviewed: August 14, 2012
Strengths: Fast acceleration
Smooth over big obstacles
Climbing geometry but also great dowhill handling and singletrack
Weaknesses: None. Bike is dangerously fast .Not recomended for recreational users
I decide to try this out. I was initially going for the 3 but medium size was not available.
This bike replaces my Cannondale Rush Carbon and a Road 2012 CAAD 8 sora Training bike.
I took it for a spin and realize this is the most advanced frame/geometry combination you could imagine. Best think ever to experience a 29er, will likely never go back to 26". This bikes is safer, faster, lighter, sleeker, confortable and smooth. handle accurately, has great traction, wheels pick momentum extremely quickly. Almost easy to push it to the max, Very rigid carbon crank, lockout , AVID matchmakers. I cut the bar to 640mm and 160/140mm rotors instead, also de -15 stem.I am 5.8" and 61kg rider.
This bike is extremely fast , 2x10 works perfect , chainsuck never had happen. Avid breaks are better then what I expected. Despite I prefer Formula.
Similar Products Used: Rush Carbon, CAAD 8,F2 caffeine, F600, DeltaV2000
Bike Setup: Flash 29'er, BallisTec Carbon, SPEED SAVE, BB30 1.5 Si head tube( Black and white) medium
Fork:Lefty 29'er XLR, 90mm, OPI, Solo Air
Crank:SRAM S2210, BB30, 39/26
Bottom Bracket:SRAM BB30
Cog Set:SRAM PG-1070, 11-36, 10-speed
Chain:KMC X10SL, 10-speed
Front Derailleur:SRAM X9, direct mount
Rear Derailleur:SRAM X0
Rims:Stan's ZTR Arch 29'er, 32 hole
Hubs:Lefty SL front, SunRingle Dirty Flea rear
Tires:Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo, 2.25" tubeless ready
Pedals:Crankbrothers Eggbeaters L
Brake:Avid Elixir 9 carbon, 160/140mm
Handlebar:Truvativ Noir Flat, 640x10mm
Stem:Cannondale OPI adjustable, -15 degree, 31.8
Headset:Cannondale HeadShok Si
Spokes:DT Swiss Competition
Grips:Cannondale foam locking grips
- Saddle:Fi'zi:k Tundra2
- Seat Post:Flash Carbon, 27.2x420mm w/SAVE
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2012
Strengths: This bike is super fast, light, rigid and can carve turns with the best of them. Climbs like a billy goat. Great components for the price. No shifting problems as others have reported. Very smooth and looks great. Can't say enough about the LEFTY fork!
Weaknesses: Handle bars are a little too wide and the grips are-slippery and cheap.
I was looking to upgrade my 2008 Specialized Epic comp 26" MTB. I was skeptical about the 29ER hype and after test riding several 29ERs, hard and full suspension, I decided I liked the responsiveness of the 29ER hard tail. At the right tire pressure this has a a relatively cushy ride compared to a 26" hard tail. I do not miss the rear shock at all. Fatigue sets in after 2.5 - 3 hours regardless of the set up. This hard tail is extremely fast. I race in the local MTB series and this bike definitely made me a faster rider. It carves turns and handles great.
Strengths: So value wise it's ok. But performance is crazy fast! For the price I paid value would be a 6 out of 5 but msrp is a bit much. $4k would be about right IMHO. Now let's talk about the bike. The frame is the perfect balance between rigid and comfortable. wheels are great. Rear hub surpasses my expectations. Avid brakes are mehhhhh....ok. Shimano are hard to beat. Crank is rigid. Great post and saddle. Lefty is a lefty. I like it, and don't notice it which is a good thing. My thoughts are if you don't think about something when Riding then it's doing it's job. Overall this baby is just blazing fast.
Weaknesses: Not much. Brakes maybe...
a Cross Country Rider
from raleigh nc usa
Weaknesses: stock handlebars are too wide - opted for narrower Truvativ noir carbon bars.
I bought this from the LBS on an end of season closeout. The price was right for me and after a few hours riding it I knew I made a great decision to buy it. I've been riding/racing mountain bikes since 1987 but I'm mostly a roadie/track rider (Cat 2, and Expert level offroad). I was looking for a lightweight 29er that felt responsive like the road bikes I've been used to, while still being a stable bike. I really like the value this bike offers. Very well equipped for the price. It's a bit twitchy in handling but after a few hours of riding I adjusted to it and now it feels very predictable to me even on twisty single track.
This bike is a great 29er because of its quick handling and overall lightweight. It certainly allows me to climb better and I love the way it rolls over stuff and feels very compliant on all sorts of surfaces. The BB area is quite stiff but the frame doesn't beat me up. The Flash Carbon 2 29er has made me a better off road rider and I look forward to using it in a couple cross country events this season (2012). I don't think it's the ideal bike for really technical stuff, but then again, I don't ride really technical stuff. I love fast single track and this bike just flies on the fast trails near my home. The faster I go, the better this bike feels. This is my first Left fork experience - I really like the way the front end tracks through turns at speed. You won't be disappointed with this bike, for the price, IMO.
Weaknesses: foam grips, handlebar width, attaching a computer to the Lefty fork
Although I am 6'3" 170lbs I was hesitant to make the move to a 29er because I like a fast accelerating rear wheel. My Ibis Silk Ti has Crossmax SL wheels with Specialized S Works Fast Trak LK tires set up tubeless with Calfelatex and 177.5mm XTR cranks. I don't notice any difference accelerating with the Flash wheel (Schwalbe Racing Ralph/Calfelatex/Stan's Arch rims) using 180mm XTR cranks. The ride is as compliant as my Silk Ti which I attribute to the Flash's engineered microsuspension/S.A.V.E seatpost and the larger wheels. I am running 28psi. The traction is awesome. So nice being able to get out of the saddle to hammer and not losing rear wheel traction as on my 26'er. The handling is great overall. I am still able to negotiate tight slow speed switchbacks and still feel ultra stable at high speed. The cranks spin effortlessly on the BB30 bearings. I changed out the stock light foam grips to Oury's for some cushion and more grip. I cut off 3/4th of an inch of each side of the bars. Amazing bike. I am a 29er convert.
Bike Setup: tubeless with Calfelatex, Shimano XTR 180mm 2x10 crank, Oury grips, Titec bar ends
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2011
Strengths: lightness and overall ride compliance and Lefty fork
Weaknesses: stock bars and seat post clamp
I have a couple other nice AL Cannondales but this bike's ride is noticeably more compliant. Don't know if it's the 29er wheels or Cannondale's carbon layup. specifying Stans rims is great. tubeless is no problem and they're light. The stock stem,185mm f. rotor, seat and 38t cassette are all wayyy too heavy. the seat post clamp sucks. nice post but ditch the clamp.
Bike Setup: 12-28 cassette FSA carbon bar Selle Italia SLR SC seat and 160mm front rotor
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2011
Strengths: Weght, compliance, ride, design, and lefty fork.
Weaknesses: Stock bars are too wide. Swapped bars and seatpost for Ritchey WCS carbon.
Right now at approx 22.5 lbs for a medium. This bike is extremely nimble, compliant and fast. At first, the bike was a bit squirrley, but after putting a longer stem and a set back seatpost, this is my favorite bike to ride. Unless I am in Tahoe or a real Rocky area, this is the bike I am having the most fun on and my 26" full suspension rig is gathering dust.
Bike Setup: X/O gripshift, maguras, Stan's arch wheelset.
a Cross Country Rider
from Stellenbosch, South Africa
Date Reviewed: March 4, 2011
Strengths: Cannondale Frame (no weight limit, lifetime warranty, light) Lefty is awesome, Great wheels (ZTR Arch), Brakes, Seatpost.
Weaknesses: Massive problems with front shifting. Gets Chain suck even though the bike has only done 300km. Chain drops on the inside was sorted with adjustment, but changes from large to small ring is extremely BAD. Chain stays on big ring and gets caught in the FD from below. Have seen a few owners complaining about this-but Cannondale has not come up with a solution yet. Don’t know if it is the Crank, chain, FD or RD spring tension? Not acceptable for a bike in this price range-any price range for that matter-just POOR! The chain drops is irritating and causes unnecessary damage to frame, FD, Chaining and carbon cranks! Can accepts damage through wear and tear, but not when caused by equipment problems.
If it was not for the irritating shifting problems the bike is 5 chilies overall. Bike is expensive compared to Scott but well priced compared to Specialized. With full X0 and SL Crank, value will be 5 chillies. Will come back to update when bike is back from my LBS and a few more rides.
Climbs much better than a 26". Traction is outstanding. I don't know if this is attributable to the wheel size, tires, geometry, or a combination but the difference is impressive. The 29er "contact patch" benefit claim is bogus because tire PSI, by defintion, determines the size of the contact patch, regardless of wheel diameter; but the roll-over benefit is real and the gyro-effect stability is dramatic. This bike is smooth and fast.
Downhills are fast and handling is responsive but very stable. This bike outperforms both of my other bikes (Cannondale Raven Super 4000SL and Cannondale F1000 hard-tail) hands down. The Flash handles fast corners better than my other two bikes, which tend to push in corners where the Flash tracks like it is on rails. I have had to learn that I can take tight corners much faster than I was previously used to. In fact, I sold the Raven and am giving the F1000 to a friend because, after a few weeks on the Carbon Flash, I knew I would never ride them again. Going back to the 26: F1000 felt like riding a BMX bike.
My number two choice was the Specialized carbon 29er but the fork paled in comparison to the Lefty.
Weaknesses: Stock handlebars way too wide. Need to be cut to a comfortable size.
I am 45 years old, 5'11", and 170 lbs. I am an advanced intermediate rider with 25 years of mountain bike experience. I ride three to four times per week.
The Carbon Flash 29er is not cheap but it is state-of-the-art and, at my age, I cannot imaging buying another mountain bike in the years I have remaining to ride. As for value, my Carbon Raven was almost $6,000 ten years ago, which makes the Flash 29er a comparative bargain. The Specialized carbon 29er was about the same price and had slightly better components but, oh, that Lefty Carbon fork -- it's Cannondale's ace in the hole.
At some point, I will probably replace the drive train with a Roholff hub, having ridden one on a Spot and fallen in love with the precise shifting and zero maintenance. I will gladly take the small weight penalty.
If you are in the market for an upper-end 29er, definately consider the Carbon Flash. This bike has made me a better rider and I would definitely recommend it.
If you have not ridden a 29er, take one out for a few rides.
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THE SAMTECH BIKE ... Read More »
I'm in the market for a 2012 Flash Carbon 29er 2 and was wondering what current owners in the forum paid. Also what were the first things that you upgraded - just curious. Thanks for your time.Read More »
Got it on Friday! Rode twice over the weekend with long climbs and some fast decent single track and fire roads. All I can say is WOW. Im 5' 7" on a long day. Im coming from a Trek Fuel Ex 9 FS. Yes, the difference is night and day and yes I know Im comparing apples and oranges, but if your in m ... Read More »
Does anyone have any information as to if the DT Swiss XCR 1.2 is the correct wheel set for the 2011 Flash Carbon 29er's 1 and 2 to be release in the summer? And if so, do you have any information on the wheels them selves? These wheels are a mystery.
:madman:Read More »
Have some serious shifting problems with my new bike which has SRAM X9 2x10 and FSA crank. Anybody with advice, or similar experience?
Bike has a 27-39 FSA SLK 386 cranks and X9 RD and FD. KMC X10SL, 10-speed chain.
The problem is that when I shift from large to small ring, the FD sh ... Read More »