Strengths: This Cannondale is an excellent piece of standard engineering. The bike is so much fun to ride. What I like so much about this bike is that it climbs so well. You could come barreling down a slope in 4th, slow down and change into 3rd with the magnificent Shimano shifters and just keep climbing in all conditions. These shifters are one of the major reasons why I love this bike. They are placed in the exact correct position for high speed riding. I even think that they are better placed than in the higher up F7 and Specialized Hardrock. These shifters are key (in my opinion) to the easy shifting of this bike and the supreme climbing ability for basic bikes. Another thing with this bike is that it has 8 speeds, where all the competition (Trek 3 series, Specialized Hardrock) have only 7. This is one of the main reasons why the bike is so insanely fast down the straightaways. The other reason why this bike is so fast is that it has an all aluminum frame with aluminum rims, while the competitors have partially alloy frame with alloy rims.
Weaknesses: There are some weaknesses in this bike, though. The stock tires are Kenda small block 8, which are good everywhere except for slippery conditions (wet grass, mud, loose gravel). I have crashed my bike once because of the tires not giving enough traction on wet grass just after a rain storm. Since then I have changed the tires to grippier and more mud riding styles. Apart from the tires, there is not much else wrong with this bike that can really be blames as the manufacturers fault (those things started happening after my crash).
In review, the Cannondale Co2 F9 has a great transmission and shifters with great positioning of the triggers. The Co2 F9 also has a very light, but strong all-alloy frame, but lacks proper tires for slippery conditions.
Similar Products Used: My friend's Specialized Hardrock, Schwinn Sidewinder, Next Power Climber, My mom's Cannondale Co2 F7
Bike Setup: I changed the tires to more mud like, use middle gear in front and 3-4 gear in rear usually.
a Weekend Warrior
from Augusta, Georgia, USA
Date Reviewed: September 24, 2010
Strengths: I don't know if it is my size or the design of the bike but when I stand up I feel I am very much in control of the bike. I have a lot of room to move around and maneuver. The handle bars are not a mile off the ground which makes me feel more confident in certain situations and a little aerodynamic. Because of this I can punch out a reasonable amount of speed when needed and cruise a little faster (I'm comparing this to my neighbors bike that is competition to Cannondale). I cruise about 14-15 mph and can get up to 25. Being aerodynamic also has its weaknesses too. Another plus is the tires. The Kenda small block tires that came with seem to give wide traction with minimal contact to the ground. Their good for dirt and pavement (again, I'm comparing). The bike as a whole weighs 30 pounds and I suppose as an entry level bike thats not bad. It weighs the same as my neighbors but he also has a large frame. Another thing that I notice is that when me and my neighbor go riding, he seems to be pedaling continuously while coasting every now and then. I seem to coast every other revolution to stay in stride with him. Maybe it's the tires?
Weaknesses: Like I said earlier, I don't know if my frame is too small for me or the bike is made to be aerodynamic (I seem to lean more forward and my pedals are forward of my seating position as compared to my neighbors which feels directly under his sit.), but I am 5'9 @ 200 pounds with short legs and a long torso and this seating position feels like it causes a little stress in my hips and it forces me to use muscles I don't want to use (I guess thats a good thing). It allows for more control of the bike but I feel I might be able to last more then 5 or 6 hours (cruising) or cruising fast at about 18 mph. It also wears out my shoulders a little but it does allow me to actually use the handle bars for pulling on when I go fast instead of just resting my arms at a higher position. Another weakness was the crank. WIthin a day of getting it I noticed it would not go from the little ring to the middle ring with even the slightest amount of pressure like riding thru the grass in my front yard. All adjustments were done and at the lbs it was even implied that it was me and that I should go to a higher end bike. Eventually the crank set was changed from an acera to a shimano alivio with a shimano chain. That solved that but the chain was not resized so now I have that problem. With the chain being one or two links too long it skips the teeth on the cassette when I get down on it. The derailleur cant apply the proper tension with it being too long. The seat isn't uncomfortable but it isn't comfortable and cushy either. It is just there. The pedals are too narrow for my size 10 wide feet and gives no ankle support unlike my neighbors stock bike.
Bottom line is this, if you want a little aerodynamics and control then by all means get it but immediately replace the crankset, seat (maybe) and pedals (especially). Make sure you test drive two size versions and see which is more comfortable. Maybe a size up places the handle bars a little higher for more comfort in the hip area. I cant decide what causes the crank to be a little forward of the seat which is my main problem. It can slow you down a little on the hills. I'll have to see how my neighbor does on his when I take him on bigger hills. When I ride his I don't feel the slight hip exertion but then again I am sitting more upright with handle bars that are a mile off the ground.
I would give this bike a five but I have to replace parts and I feel a little hip exertion. However, it will go fast when I want it too and those kenda tires sing a pretty song begging me to go faster.
Strengths: Frame and front fork are very strong for price. Great looking and performing entry bike. Easily upgradeable. I like the shifters and brake lever set up.
Weaknesses: Components could be better, but heck its a Cannondale CAAD CO2 frame and that's what you're paying for. Upgade the front shifter and pedals when you get to it. The V brakes work well but the SRAM front shifter leaves a little to be desired but that's an easy upgrade.
Awesome entry level bike, son loves it. As his riding improves, so will the bike with some upgraded components. Beautiful frame (I know its not handmade in the US anymore - and I'm not made out of $$$$ either) I'll take it for some rides while he's at school!!!
Similar Products Used: Schwinn mom and pop stuff, looked at the TREK line but preferred the Cannondale
Bike Setup: Stock "small" frame set up with Shimano xtr 950 vbrakes on order and looking to upgrade the top pull xtr front shifter
a Weekend Warrior
from Robertsdale, AL
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2009
Strengths: Price, strong frame, awesome brakes, lightweight, great beginner bike.
Weaknesses: Chain sometimes slips in top gear when climbing.
I picked this bike up after having more than a few problems with my Walmart Mongoose.
This is my first true mountain bike, and I love it.
It was last year's model, so I got a discount on it, which was great. It rides smooth, it shifts smooth, and it brakes smooth.
I'm not an experienced rider, but I know this bike is head and shoulders above any bike you could buy at a department store. If you're looking for a first "real" XC bike at great price, head over to your LBS and pick one of these up.