Strengths: Frame, Headstock and Bars, Brakes, and excellent design geometry.
Weaknesses: Drivetrain, Forks, Rims.
This is a great 29er design that is unfortunately hamstrung by low end, and some junk, drivetrain componants and not very good wheels. For the high price Cannondale could have at least keep everything within Shimano's prefered groupo classes. Low end Deore parts are throughout, except for a few spots where even Deore was forsaken for Shimano componants typically used on WALMART bikes. The Forks are ok, but seriously cheap and only good for not so serious riding.
Surprisingly, although cheap, the Shimano hydraulic brakes work very well, not that much below my other XT brakes.
Bottom line- excellent design with very cheap componants. Cannondale is looking greedier and greedier to me every year, which is disheartening as they have been my mainstay for a decade and a half.
Bike Setup: Replaced items- Fox Talas 32 Fork, Shimano 2013 XT complete drivetrain and cranks, except for an SLX Shadow-Plus rear mech.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 14, 2013
Strengths: Frame, groupset, price
Weaknesses: Fork, wheelset, tires
For the price you can't beat it. The CAAD frame is top of the line with great response and agility. Being 245 pounds I was shocked how quick and nimble this bike feels as compared to comparable trek and specialized models. The reacon silver fork is trash and the wheelset is very heavy. If you want to go tubeless you will need another set of tires- these can't cut it. Overall I still give a top notch rating, I have upgraded the fork, wheelset, crank, and rear derailleur and have a great bike.
Bike Setup: Shimano SLX crank, X7 groupset, hope evo II hubs with stans flowex rims, fox float 32 120mm fork, on-one mary handlebar.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: March 5, 2012
Strengths: I purchased this bike to replace an older GT Avalanche FS. It is a really great bike. The components that come with it are... But I bought it so cheap that I ended up swapping them out for a full xt group. What a world of difference. I am thinking about putting a lefty fork on it, because it has the 1.5" headtube and I can. This bike is responsive, and with the xt group it is probably a bike that I won't replace until after my back is killing me and I need to sell-out to another FS.
Weaknesses: Components are okay, seat is ehh, and handlebars were too wide for me.
This is a great bike, and if you are willing to upgrade the components, wheelset, and other parts over time, you will more than likely keep it forever.
Awesome bike... Use it for my daily commute and trails, it handles them all very nicely. On trails it like riding on rails. It's fun riding it on the street as well, passing people on their little 26"ers, hehehe... Very well built bike, and if your just looking for a 29er to try, these Cannondales are best for your buck.
a Weekend Warrior
from Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2011
Strengths: Light, nimble, smooth, and fast. Shimano Hydraulic disc brakes and Rockshox Recon Silver TK air 100mm fork with lockout and rebound adjustment.
Weaknesses: Cornering fast can get a bit sketchy with the Kenda Small Block tires, but that's an easy fix.
This bike is solid. I love the fork and the brakes. Deore drive train is great as well. I have only had it about a month, but have been out on the trails with it quite a bit and even use it a couple days a week to commute to work (10 miles one way). It feels light, nimble, and climbs like a champ. Components seem to be among the best on any bike in that price range. Great all mountain hard tail and with the lockout feature on the fork, it tears up the streets as well.