Strengths: First off, let me start by saying, I'm reviewing the 2008 bike (you can't give a full review the day after buying it, right?) The bike is speced with race quality parts that aren't made of glass, meaning they can be abused. Bike is pretty light for the money.
Weaknesses: The plastic Quick Release Seat Collar is worthless. Even after tightening the heck out of the allen screw before pushing down the quick release, after ~ 10 miles of trails, my post will slip up to 2cm. This is the only reason I knocked a star off.
Another little beef I had about this bike is the fact they speced it with crank brother smartie pedals instead of the more race oriented Crank brother's Egg betters. This is a race bike after all.
I've ridden the bike now for about a year, and overall, its a great bike. Light enough for racing, but tough enough to be slightly abused. For the money, its a great product. Pick up a standard metal seat collar, and you can ride the heck out of this bike.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2008
Strengths: Quick steering, Lefty fork works taking bumps away.Shimano LX brakes and shifter
Weaknesses: Lefty can be heavy
Purchased on Ebay a 2007 closeout floor model. Paid $750. I got a great deal on this bike. Wanted Cannondale with a Lefty fork for a long time, but never worked with the F700. But this bike is worth the wait. Quick on the trail and the Lefty fork is awesome. It is capable of soaking up small bumps and large ones on the trail with equal ease. Shimano LX shifter and hydro brakes works fine. Wheels are performing ok, probably will be upgraded in the future. I am 5'6" tall with long torso and short legs. The frame is a small, stand over length is perfect but the cockpit felt a bit cramped. I swapped out the stock stem(100mm) to a 150mm one and inverted. The fit is much better. Seat post was at the manimum length and felt a bit short. Possibly I need to purchase a new seatpost with a longer length. Will follow up with an update in the weeks to come.
Bike Setup: So far I only change the Maxxis Ridgeline tire for Kenda Nevegal 2.1 Fr and 1.95 back and the seat for a Tioga Spyder.
a Weekend Warrior
from Monroe NJ
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2008
Strengths: Great Ride.
Lefty is awesome.
Stock components are good.
Yes, we're in the era where people would push you to buy a FS 26-incher. To buy a decent FS 26-incher you need to blow around 2K. Consider your biking habits: Do you really need an FS? I say buy a real nice HT than get a okay FS. CDale Caffeines are REALLY NICE HTs.
With the F2, the stock components are good enough not warranting an upgrade...except maybe for the pedals depending on what you're used to.
The handlebar IS wider than most bikes i tried...it's usually recommended to cut off at least half-an-inch from each end...but I would recommend to try first before cutting...and I am glad I did not cut right away because I prefer the handle bar the way it is; it is much more maneuverable in technical trails.
Bike Setup: Stock except for Shimano XT clipless pedals
a Cross Country Rider
from Maple Grove, MN USA
Date Reviewed: October 27, 2007
Strengths: Light, nimble, and climbs like a goat on crack. This is my first brand new bike and my first Lefty, and I think it's amazing. Plenty of travel, tracks perfectly. Can be a little rough on the big rock gardens, but I like the challenge. I can't recommend this bike enough.
Weaknesses: Handlebars were waaaay too wide, but it wasn't a problem to cut them down.
This was such a step up from my old bike, sometimes I don't even know how I got around on that thing. If you like hardtails, get this bike. If you don't like hardtails, get this bike and give it to someone who does.
Similar Products Used: 98 Cannondale F500, 92 Specialized Stumpjumper stiff bike.
Bike Setup: Stock.
a Weekend Warrior
from St Kilda, VIC, Australia
Date Reviewed: July 22, 2007
Strengths: The first time I rode this bike I was in love. Having only ridden full suss in the past, the Caffeine blew me away. It almost felt like it was pedalling for me. Light, super sharp handling on the single track, the Caffeine improved my skill and endurance by 25% (if that makes any sense). I am certainly no pro, but was now able to keep up with much better riders in the climbs. It really does make that much difference. I took my full suss (prophet 1000) out a while ago and it seriously felt like it had square wheels and flat tyres. The bike is still stock. I planned to upgrade parts, but honestly it all works so well that theres just no need. Finish on the frame is superb and the bike looks as sharp as it rides. My second lefty, but this ones got lockout which I find pretty handy on the really flat stuff.
Weaknesses: None. Make sure you get a feel for the hardtail before you ride flat stick down your favourite trails. I found out the hard way (within 100m) that they're nowhere near as forgiving as a full susser on the way down. That said, when your skills improves they are even more fun.
If you ride single track, there is no other option. Caffeine is for you. They may be pricey for what you get, but they just handle and pedal so sweet. Brings a permanent smile to my face just thinking about it. The best fun I've had riding....ever!
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Prophet (yes I'm a 'dale fan). Still love it but the Caffeine is the number one son.
Bike Setup: Stock. XT rear, LX front and LX brakes.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2007
Strengths: Great bike, this is my third cannondale (I think I have a Fleet now) and I am as happy with it as I could be. Very light and stiff with good braking and suspension. This is my first experience with a lefty fork, but its done surprisingly well and I have no complaints about it. Absolutely a great ride, expensive, but you get what you pay for. Its break in trial was a 150 mile charity bike ride, handled great and even outran a few roadies with it.
this bike is on the top of my list:) it gives me a stiffy no doubt:eek: what is the weight on a medium size bike? any motion control on that fork...concerned about it bobbing on out of saddle efforts, no remote lockout? dumb questions maybe but the cannondale sight is rather vague and the LBS does ... Read More »
I've been trying to decide betwen the Specialized Stumpjumper Comp and the Trek 8000. The hoopla over Cannondale deciding to build their bikes in Asia let me know that they currently build in USA. Made in USA is a serious point for me. So I am seriously considering the Caffeine F2. Even if it co ... Read More »
Looking at getting a hardtail for XC racing and considering the 2009 F2 (since the Taurine is a bit to pricey).
However, I am concerned with the weight of this bike (I need an XL) and the one weighed at the bike shop comes in at around 27 lbs. It comes stocked with a mavic 317 whee ... Read More »