The Rize is the Swiss Army knife of the trail bike world. It's a bike that brings all-new metalforming technology to the industry, and combines it with carbon-fiber fabrication techniques. It uses a dreamy-riding multi-pivot suspension with 130mm of balanced travel. The means that riders can use it as a do-it-all rig, whether you're riding notoriously gnarly rock gardens in the Northeast or the gently rolling foothills of the inter-mountain West.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2012
Strengths: Great Frame and fork , solid engineering , weight distribution , very light for price , excellent over all handling , it is as light as the double priced carbon ones
Weaknesses: Junk SRAM , components , very frail , no reliability and last like 500 kms , sqeaky avid brakes unbelievable
Frame Fork are worth marrying , very stable handling
Like the Handmade in US logo , bit pretentious but that is what it really is ;) true blue blood Cannondale
It is not a frail weight conscious super model but stuff that will last with some good memories to be made together
Its hard to say something bad about something u love but , change the drive train , change the tyres , change the brakes , are those tyres really maxxis , i think they are some cheap imitation even a feather can flatten it , zero reliability and zero traction .
Some how the rize range has diminished over years but with 1300 mm both front and back was good sweet spot between all moutain and trail
Hope there are similar great things to come from Cannondale .
The left reminds me of good old engineering days when engineers were bold and experimented to defy norms .
Sort of times when B17 , P-38 Lightning were being made
SRAM lets u down Cannondale , Switch to RaceFace or good old Shimano
a Cross Country Rider
from Gatineau, Canada
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2010
Strengths: Lefty is really stiff, great components build, pretty light for 5 inch travel bike
Weaknesses: did not come in a BB30 bottom bracket
I've been using this bike for 3 months and I ride about 250 KM per week on it. I ride pretty hard and I have been beeting the snot out of this bike and so far it's been a delight. There was major chain slap that I eliminated using old tubes and tie wraps around the rear triangle and since then it's been pretty good. All smiles ;-)
It is a very good climber and a great descender. Although I do prefer going down rough rocky/rooty descents with my Nomad because the angles make for a more slack position.
The only disappointments are that this model did not come in a BB30 format and it did not come with the advertised Avid Elixir Carbon brakes. The white Avid Juicy Seven's are nice though and they work really good.
For the price I think you are getting a really good piece of equipment compared to other bike companies with same components that charge way more.
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Nomad (6 inch travel)
Bike Setup: stock except for Kenda Nevegal Tires, Peaty grips and Crank Brother Mallet 2 pedals
a Cross Country Rider
from Greenwich CT
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2010
Weight 27.43 with XTR pedals.
I am really surprised that the stock narrow tires survived NY and CT rock gardens and roots… do not replace them untill it is really needed based on your experience.
Weaknesses: For $2500 bike... nothing...
If you are paing 3k for it.... equipment... or your head.
I am convinced that it is the most universal bike for 70% of non-professional riders since it combines the perfect weight with some straight line speed (tires and strong legs help). Lefty just flows over the rock gardens and turns with no flex.
I started riding again after 4yrs brake…. I've extensively tested Santa cruses and specialized before….
Cannondale was a good choice and successfully surprised pro-bikers drooling when looking at turners etc…
Cannondale’s lost its mojo some time ago …. Now they are being ridden by people that do their research, and don’t prefer coolness over a great machine.
I am passing a lot of jerks on 6k bikes that are absolutely not ready for machines like that… they look ridiculous. Do not overpay for something you not good enough for.... yet. The time for $6-8k bikes will come.... or not, and in latter case this bike will last you for years.
Bike Setup: ,nevagals,bash gaurd and middle ring only
a Weekend Warrior
from Elkridge, MD, USA
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2009
Strengths: Lefty Shock with Push Button Lockout is great. Able to convert from FS to HT (close to one anyway) quickly.
Weaknesses: Pedals are cheap. Cranks are okay but after 6 months - I swapped them out because of outer ring mashed teeth. Getting the front der. dialed in right has taken some time.
Very smooth especially when compared to a hard tail. The suspension is unbelievable. The beauty behind this bike is the plushness of the lefty shock, the comfort of the frame geometry and the ability to morph from FS to HT really gives you the best of both worlds. Although dubbed all mountain with some slight mods I think it will be great for XC too.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale F600 - Hard Tail
Bike Setup: I have upgraded to the Easton MonkeyLite handle bars and EC70 seat post and that has made it a dream to ride. My shop upgraded the brakes from the Juicy to the Elixirs and also provided the Kendal Nevegals instead of the Maxxis.
Date Reviewed: July 4, 2009
Strengths: Light,nice set up, easy to control on difficult decents and climps
Weaknesses: DT Swiss XR430 Rims. First ride on single track and I bent the rear. Fixable, but not reading any good reviews on them.
Front Derailer can't go low enough, and chain rubs in mid gears.
I love my bike, I just sucks you spend 3 grand and get some low end components.
a Weekend Warrior
from Englewood, CO
Date Reviewed: June 8, 2009
Strengths: Great suspension with the Fox Float RP2 in the rear, and the Lefty PBR up front. Lefty Lock out works well and the pro rider in the Fox float is handy in the climbs. The Juicy 7 brakes work well from lightly pressing the brakes to jamming on them with use of one finger. AND THE BIKE IS MADE IN AMERICA!!
Weaknesses: Stock tires - Maxxis: They are good on light trails, but when you start getting into loose stuff or slick areas, the tires quickly loose traction. AND the bike comes with Juicy 7 brakes instead of the Elixir CR Brakes. False advertising?
I'm loving this bike. It climbs like a home sick angle. I have tackled mountain climbs that I couldn't touch on my old hardtail Trek Bike. My bike is pretty light weight for a full suspension mountain bike, so that helps in the climbs, but on real steep climbs I have to find a good balance to prevent the tail from slipping or the nose from rising. The suspension gobbles up the bumps easily, so I feel less fatigued after a ride. The Lefty fork also gets a lot of looks on the trail and seems to gather some questions of interest from the other riders. The frame appears to be built strong and I'm proud of the "Handmade in USA" logos on it.
I did contact Cannondale about the brakes being different than advertised, and they responded that "they have the right to make modifications on their product" and that the website was "not updated" yet. Oh well. The Juicy 7 brakes work great, they just squeak a bit when wet, but that's not Cannondale's fault. Honestly, when I'm bombing down hill, I don't care if the brakes scream, I just want to stop!
Bike Setup: stock, but I did swap out the pedals with shimano pedals that are half clipless half flat pedal.
a Weekend Warrior
from Olympia, WA
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2009
Strengths: Excellent Suspension, decent component spec..made in the USA
Weaknesses: Cannondale doesn't spec it per their website, LX Derailleur and stock Maxxis tires
This is my first longer travel full suspension mountain bike, it took a couple of rides to dial the suspension in, but once set up it works great. The Lefty is awesome, unlike anything I have ever ridden on. The push button lockout works great. The RP2 works just fine and does not leave me wanting for the graduated pro-pedal of the RP23. The only complaint I have, is that as a consumer I research the specs and look at the total package when making a decision. Since Cannondale published their 2009 bikes, the spec listed the Elixir CR brakeset with this bike. That is not what comes and through an e-mail exchange with Cannondale I was informed that they never sent a Rize 3 out with the Elixir CR, but the never updated their website. In my opinion this is quite misleading since it is really a minimal change to update their website, but instead they rely upon a disclaimer that pricing and specification is subject to change. Regardless, it is a great bike but as usual Cannondale customer service and response is typically lacking and a clear indication as to why the new Canadian owners are downsizing and moving overseas. This will be my first, last and only Cannondale.
Similar Products Used: Mongoose Otero Super, Kona Dawg Deluxe
Bike Setup: Cannondale Lefty, upgraded to X-9 Shifters, XT Front Der, Avid Juicy Seven, Fox RP2 rear shock, upgraded Easton EA70 Monkey Bar, upgraded to Kenda Nevegal DTC 2.35
a Weekend Warrior
from Charleston, SC
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2009
Strengths: The minute you get on this bike you feel absolute quality. It's solid! Rides like a cadillac on the roughest of trails instilling total confidence. You know you can just ride without worries.
Weaknesses: Out of the box the lefty wouldn't lock out but after a hard ride it broke loose and works great.
I bought this bike for many reasons but on top of the list was the fact that I have ridden my Super V for 12 years on every type of trail imaginable. Threw everything I had at it and she just kept going. To this day that Super V still rides like a new bike. no slop at the pivot, no creaks, no pops...just solid. I had no justification to replace it, it was just time to try something new. I am thrilled with ride on this bike. Wore mself out trying to find the flaws. So far it looks like another 12 good years of riding ahead. It's light, fast and plush not to mention it looks cool as hell!
Weaknesses: Tires, maybe Fox shock and Avid brakes
I love the styling of this bike, looks great in red. I am a heavy rider and needed the X frame (6'6"). The rear Fox Float RP2 shock may not be adequate, too much sag for me. For a lighter / average rider it may be fine. There is nothing in the paperwork about the max inflation for the Fox, I called and it can go up to 300psi. I had it at 250 and it was OK, so maybe it will be fine at or near the max pressure. This is my first experience with a single-strut in the front (Lefty). However, I can say it works great, including the lockout and rebound features. The bike steers very precisely and there is no weird left / right sensations. The frame seems very rigid, as there are no welds on it. I was surprised to find Juicy 7 brakes since the specs say Elixir CR's. These right now have nowhere near the stopping power of my old Giant with its Hayes mechanical discs. However, I guess there is a bedding in period; these brakes have good reviews so assuming they will improve over time. The DT Swiss rims seem decent, we'll see how they hold up to my size. I'm used to Shimano rapidfire style shifters, seems weird to push for both higher and lower gears, maybe not quite as comfortable? We'll see. And the tires, even though they were custom-made by Maxxis for the Rize 3+, not sure they're that great. They don't have a lot of grip, anyway. Still, I ride on pavement too so they're good for that. Overall, the bike is pretty lightweight, feels very responsive to pedaling torque, and even though the rear suspension is a little soft for me it sure is compliant. Made in the USA for $3k seems like a deal to me.
Similar Products Used: Giant Yukon, Schwinn Mesa GSX
Bike Setup: Stock except flat pedals
a Weekend Warrior
from Studio City, CA USA
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2009
Strengths: Value, stiffness, great all-mountain competency, component selection.
Weaknesses: Lefty fork can make transport a hassle. Lackluster grips and tires. Front brake cable routing needs redesign? - rubs tire when fork is heavily compressed. Probably not the bike for the weight-obsessed.
An ideal choice for this weekend xc rider who asks his bike to do a little of everything. Dramatically stiffer, more efficient going up, and faster going down than its predecessors. This is in comparison to my previous bike, a 2001 Jekyll 700 LTD - just for those pondering an upgrade. The Rize is a MUCH better fitting bike for me. At 5'10" and 184 lbs., I often felt inbetween sizes on the medium Jekyll, but not so on the Rize.
Happy to report Cannondale now does a much better job equipping their mid-level bikes. They've apparently abandoned making things they're not good at- entry level cranks, seatpost, and those WTF!?!? 4 bolt pattern disc hubs. They've also stopped skimping on critical components, I'm looking at you- Magura's plastic brake levers.
Bike Setup: Stock save for different grips, SPD pedals and tires.
a Weekend Warrior
from Mauritius Island
Date Reviewed: January 27, 2009
Strengths: Great handling, very light weight for an alu
Weaknesses: Lefty disengages when locked, sometimes, it locks when its unlocked
Some hiccups with dealer who did not initially put the original pedals and cleats but resolved. Bike is awesome, i feel that it was custom made, some drawbacks on steep climbs, geometry seems that i am sitting high pitched, so i had to come down and give a little push.
I am a little worried about the lefty who is leaking on top but just hope it will be ok soon, its one month old...and also is not stable when locked or even unlocked.
Because of this, i will rate with 4 chillis and not 5, well i am sad about that..
Great war bicycle, i just love the Cannondale Rize 3, i would recommend it to anyone ! FEEL IT !
Bike Setup: As bought, now thinking of carbon handle
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 24, 2009
Strengths: Light-weight out of the box, good geometry, handles any terrain, feels fast, good stock parts (drivetrain/brakes/suspension)
Weaknesses: wheels - dtswiss rims are too soft, smartys not the best pedals
Awesome all around ride. It's light, fast, good for XC. It can also handle some light FR - good suspension feel for drops (3-5ft is the highest so far tested), but also really stiff when needed. Lefty is a cool experience.
My first FS and I couldn't be happier - the bike has some stock parts that are meh, the wheels got flat-spotted after some light drops, but overall it's an amazing bike - it feels fast, in control, and never felt like i was riding better than the bike could handle.
If you love cannondale, and you ride XC or AM, this is a great bike for you. Feels great to pedal, plush ride, good parts.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2009
Strengths: Frame! Lefty (lockout feature at your fingertips and light), simple yet incredibly plush suspension, made in the U.S, SRAM component group feels sweet, Brakes rock!
Weaknesses: Handlebars, stock tires not the greatest, probably the pedals. Will see how the DT Swiss Wheels hold up.
This is only the 100 mile review, Maybe I'll do a follow-up in a year or so. If there are durability or support issues, will report.
I have had the chance to ride all sorts of terrain thus far, and I'm really becoming comfortable on it now. I'm actually pretty passionate about this bike, it has made me a better rider. I'm coming from a nicely upgraded Santa Cruz Heckler, and the Rize just frankly crushes it.
Wow did I research this purchase! I looked at several bikes in the 5" class and this one just shined and offered what I thought was the best value. (The best bike might have been the Ellsworth Epiphany, but that was a few grand more :))
IMO, you can do all sorts of research online but it really just comes down to how it feels. I demo'd a Rize 2 carbon which introduced me to the Rize. Glad I did. While I'd like to be on a carbon frame, I feel almost as fast on the Rize 3 so far-don't feel like I had to give up too much.
Now for the ride: Simply put this bike does it all. I am faster and more confident in well, just about everything. For 5" of travel it is just superb in the climbs. The pro pedal setting and Lefty lockout are so EASY to deal with. You will only need to lock out on the longest of climbs, because there is very little bob induced while pedling. Flats and moderate downhills are now scorched earth-the power transfer from the pedals to this frame helps you to just, explode. The steeps and jumps are also more fun than ever. I splurged on a CB Joplin seatpost! Drop the seat, point the bike and prepare to be amazed on the new things that you can handle that you couldn't before. So much new confidence that it is frankly dangerous.
The Lefty Fork, awesome set of Avid brakes, SRAM components, and beautiful 130mm travel frame are the highlights. Also, like a good guitar-this bike is made in the US!! It will make you smile on the trail.
I'm going to start exploring endurance racing with it.
There are a few minor details on the bike that I'm changing-I didn't much care for either the seatpost (changed to Joplin) or Handlebars (need to change to carbon.) Stock tires are just OK (couldn't stand them at first, but thankfully they weren't as bad as I thought. Still getting ready to change them to some WTBs.) Low end crank bros pedals will probably end up breaking-but: I now really like Crank Bros pedals and will likely upgrade with some of their nicer models. We'll see how the wheels hold up on the crazier days.
Bottom line: Value. I feel like this outclassed everything in it's class. My first Lefty-and I love it. Like I said, it comes down to feel, and I just felt quality here where some of the foreign made bikes above felt a little "thrown together" to me.
Hopefully durability isn't an issue with anything...to this point it isn't (granted it's early in my ownership. If issues arise, I'll be happy to report back on what broke and what support is offered etc.)
So for now, I feel very good about giving this bike a resounding 5 chilis!
Looking for a light weight, aggressive all mountain bike. I have ridden all of the above and the Cannondale is hands down the best bike out there. I will go with the Carbon 2 model with some upgrades but essentially the two bikes are very similar. I flogged this bike over 4 days and 60+ miles of single track in the Utah mountains. At first I thought I wouldn't be very happy with how the bike rode with the propedal off (it is two completely different bikes with the propedal on/off) but I very rarely had to switch it on, only on long climbs. Even then I didn't really need it. The bike climbs like a mountain goat, especially when you stand up. I had several instances where I'd come around a tight corner, not expecting a quick transition to uphill and I'd have to come out of the saddle to make it up. The bike jumped ahead each time and felt very smooth under power. The suspension was easy to adjust and it only took one ride to get it balanced. I am a big guy (6'2 and 200lbs) and the bike rode like it was designed for me. I may adjust my own bike for a longer cockpit but the front end very rarely got light on long climbs. It was easy to move around and took downhills and rock gardens like an all mountain bike should. However, that brings me to the one downfall of this bike. The tires are horrible. No real side knobs for cornering and they break loose on corners too quickly. They could also use better center knobs to help breaking. I am good with the size of the rotors, even for a big guy like me. My hands did get tired on real long downhill single tracks but it wasnt' bad and I'm not sure I'd go with a bigger rotor. A larger tire choice would help with breaking more and also solve the cornering problem. I'd try that first. All in all a top quality bike with a solid component spec that worked flawlessly.